At the Social Justice Center in Albany, NY. A nice turnout of poets & audience for featured poet Mike Jurkovic, who was last featured in this series in the early years at Cafe Web. Tonight’s Muse, because it was his birthday month, was Tom Nattell in a performance via the 3 Guys from Albany CD. Tom was probably in the audience when Mike was last the feature.

But first, some of the open mic, beginning with the Kingston poetry diva, Cheryl A. Rice, who drove up with our feature; her poem was “Ranch at 70” inspired by her father’s notion. Guy Reed was in that car too, & read his Ars Poetica written at 49 years old, a contemplative Nature poem. Alan Catlin can be just as contemplative, but darker, with “If Death is the Answer What is the Question?”, another urban moment. Don Levy is no less urban with his hilarious tale of being “just” 10 minutes late for his doctor’s appointment (while fasting). W.D. Clarke was back with another ballad, this one about his friend “Jim’s Fur Hat.”

With all his fine, provocative poetry D. Alexander Holiday chose to perform a gentle poem by Naton Leslie (from his book Emma Saves Her Life (Turning Point Books),  “Emma Mails Off her Pickle Recipe Letter on Back” with Joe Krausman as the second voice.

The featured poet was Mike Jurkovic, director of the Calling All Poets series at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY, & a fine performer who I’ve had in this series all too many years ago. He read from his book Purgatory Road (Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2010) as well as other stuff for a free-wheeling, complex set of poems, wandering among the audience, his posture angled like a razor to scrape away the assumptions of daily life. Poems from memory like “Hand Job,” to meditation practice (“The Great Movie Begins”), to being at a party with musicians & poets, to doctors, to the Blues, to bad days & half-shitty days, even his “inner-Mexican” & the remake of “The Hairy Ape”. Always a good show — thanks Mike.

After the break, I re-started the open mic with a new piece inspired by the Occupy Movement & my visit to DC & the “Stop the Machine/Occupy DC” events there & in Philadelphia (I haven’t made it to Wall St. yet), “One Day Longer.” Alan (Bird) Casline came up to read “Afternoon at Smitty’s Tavern” a compilation of things said at the bar, especially about cheesecake. Another hill-country poet, Obeeduid (Mark O’Brien), read from his iPad “Holding On to Two Beliefs With Equal Strengths of Faith.” Bob Sharkey‘s poem about Portland, OR, “Taming the Rogue” were thoughts on a plane. Sylvia Barnard read about the 2 local women who were caught up in the floods of Hurricane Irene. Joe Krausman‘s poem “All for Love” was a meditation on college boxer shorts. And Poetic Visionz, here for the 1st time, recited his motivational meditation “Dreams are Unrealistic.”

We’re here at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany NY every third Thursday of the month, at 7:30 PM, an open mic & a featured poet, all for a $3.00 donation which helps to pay the poet & the Social Justice Center. See you next time.