There has been a recent change in the rules here, allowing poets to read in both the open mic & the Slam, of which no one took advantage tonight. Avery began the open mic with his piece in praise of dance then sat down; open mic host Mojavi brought him back up to do a second piece, an effusive ad for a weekend retreat chanting. I followed with the more mundane “Transit of Venus” & just for a little spice, “Ordering Lunch.” Shannon Shoemaker did her classic “Dyke on a Bike,” & the introduction since she wasn’t doing the Slam.

Emily leaving the stage.

Emily Gonzalez read 2 moving poems, “Scattering Ashes” & “Hey Girl” (about a girl in rehab). In between poets Mojavi ragged on DJ Dan Nester for his selection of music, said “it’s dangerous how much he knows about black music.” Nester countered with threats of playing Barry Manilow. Barefoot Elizag (“because the stage is holy”) did her explosive “Motherfucker” (because it always goes over time in the Slam). Mojavi joined in with the urban sights & sounds “around my block.” Daniel Nester read a couple more sections from his memoir of his youth, these about working in a carwash (wonder how come that tune didn’t make it into the mix?). Kevin Peterson performed “Alternate Side Street Parking,” working on it for the Slam team.

The Slam tonight was “a blood sport” to select the 4th Slam member, & there were 6 folk signed up, so the night boiled down to 6-6-4, with the combined scores of the 1st 2 rounds used to select the last round. The new Slam Master was el presidente of AlbanyPoets.com his self, Thom Francis, taking firm control.  & I was the “sacrificial lamb,” reading “Peace Marchers at the Viet Nam Memorial”to a good reaction, but the 25.0 score still would have been a low one for tonight.

The Slam Team & Alternates:
Elizag, Kevin, D. Colin, Prolific Wisdom,  ILLiptical & Shannon

It was a good mix of contenders, starting with a new voice, Billy, who did love & longing poems in both rounds. Victorio was back with some of his signature political rants, & made it into the last round. Prolific Wisdom also made it into the final round with pieces that ran from the political, to a love poem to poetry, to preachy advice. Carlos Garcia began with a love poem/wedding proposal, but faltered in the second round on his autobiographical piece. D. Colin began with a wonderful piece I’ve heard before about a homeless woman on a bus, but her piece about Haiti in the final round, “We are Beyond It,” was definitely over the top. ILLiptical the Wizard of Mars was certainly the loudest, even in his happiness-in-marriage poem, & in the final round was off the stage, off the mic & still rattled the windows. When the dust settled, it was D. Colin in first place, earning her a berth on the Slam Team, with Prolific Wisdom & ILLiptical earning spots as Slam Team alternates.

Nitty Gritty Slamis at Valentines, in Albany, NY every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7:30PM, $5.00 ($3.00 with student ID).