R.M. Engelhardt at the 2015 WordFest, Metroland's Best Poets Reading, the Women's Building, Albany, NY

The Half-Dead Poet Review: Life is Inevitable and So Are New Events

The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

~ Tupac Shakur


As a writer, it seems I’ve always thought of change as a sometimes momentous and beautiful thing. Moving forward. The change of seasons, Summer to Fall, holidays, and just the natural momentum of things. And without change of course our lives would be boring and monotonous. But in the last year and a half though my life has been made up of both the need to move forward and the grasping and holding onto those things, loved & cherished that I cannot change at all. It’s been a tragic year, a spectacle of death, loss & suffering but also filled with moments of creativity along with all the sorrow. Covid has hopefully now left, passed and is now gone forever but the truth is we are all unsure. We hope for the best but prepare for the worst without a real compass to guide us except our own judgment. Free will. So? Such is life. We hold onto and love these things, people in our lives, and simply move on from there. Holding them closely and far more sacred than we ever have before. My wife and I have gone through quite a bit this year and have lost our cat and have battled the challenges that 2021 has given us but we are still here standing. And unfortunately, some of our friends and loved ones have had to fight even worse wars themselves.

But there are still things to look forward to. And there always will be. And I’d say to anyone out there reading this right now is that’s what you truly need to focus on because that’s what gets you through it all no matter what the end might be. Create your own hope. Whether that’s through writing, poetry or art or just setting a goal for yourself. And put these ideas, thoughts in action. Because what I’ve realized over this last year & a half is that life isn’t truly worth living or appreciated if you don’t follow your dreams. And honestly? It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes. Windows of opportunity open & close. And your time is limited. Everyone has to do time whether it’s during a pandemic or just working from 9 to 5. Live a life with meaning despite all the waves of destruction or threats of hardship. Why? Because of all the rest? In the end, it’s just bullshit.

Plain and simple.

There is always the possibility of our lives being put on hold again. There’s always the possibility that you might fail. But seriously what’s the sense of living a “half-ass life”? So from out of the wreckage comes creation.

And it always will.

R.M. Engelhardt - Poetry Lives in AlbanySo just over these past few months, I’ve put out a new book of poetry, We Rise Like Smoke: Poems Psalms & Incantations, opened up for an amazing band, The Dust Bowl Faeries with a reading at The Linda here in Albany, and have with the help of my other longtime friend Hex’ M Jai made an old idea a working successful reality. A small noir indie press for new & experimental poetry that we created back in 1998 called ” DeadMansPressInk” out of which we have now already published the work of eight amazing authors whose books are selling quite well on Amazon and that are getting great reviews as well as our own self-produced poetry books & short stories. We also now have a group on Facebook, THE CENTRAL MUSE DIVISION (formerly Poets Who Hate Poets) in which members can share their work with others that seems to be growing every day and that as a necessary component includes a lot of humor because as everybody knows? Life ain’t easy.

And now? With the reopening of the legendary punk rock/goth club ( The old QE2) The Fuze Box here in downtown Albany recently bought by Trag Yager we are taking it all even one step further by creating a brand new live open mic for Poets & The Spoken Word called “INVOCATION OF THE MUSE” starting on Monday, November 1st and to be held on the first Monday evening of each month. The open mics name being inspired by the many area poets of the past who have inspired me both locally and in such ancient books as The Odessey & Beowulf. An INVOCATION is a PRAYER. An INVOCATION is a SPELL. All of which summons what writers and poets need most of all: The words, the muse (and even a little bit of soul).


As always yes, but the truth is if you don’t do what you love then what’s the point of living? In the past some thirty years already I’ve been lucky enough to have been blessed with many good friends, great poets, musicians, and others who have been an essential part of my life leading up to this very moment now. So it’s time to get the show back on the road again, start new friendships, and give new voices the opportunity to read and share their own work on stage in the place where my own journey began so many years ago. So I hope that all poets old & new alike will join us. We have plans for you. Yes YOU. There are benefits to be made and featured poets to be named not just from here, but from everywhere.

So Remember.

Life is short. ( Drink Whiskey)
Tomorrow is unknown. (Don’t Worry)

What matters is doing what you love while you’re still here to actually do it. Poetry has always lived in Albany NY. And Poetry lives everywhere in all forms and all styles. The important thing is to keep writing. But if you don’t share it with others? What’s the point?

So I’ll see you downtown.
Once more and again.

The SignUp is at 7:30pm.
Sharp. Don’t be late.