at McGeary’s Tavern on Clinton Square, especially when we are roasting el presidente of AlbanyPoets.com, Thom Francis, we are not only LOUD but out-fucking-rageous. Of course, led on by our host Mary Panza. But first she had to clear out the room of the open mic poets.

Thom Francis works his own roast, photographing
open mic poet Julie Lomoe

First up was Julie Lomoe with the wonderfully cranky “A Meditation on Meditation,” in which she confronts the twin demons of pain & boredom. Don Levy explored the urban mystery of “Sneakers on Telephone Lines” & taxi drivers (“Cabbie”). The changing of the seasons is a favorite topic for the poems of Tess Lecuyer & she read “Autumn Equinox 2010,” experiencing the sounds & feel of the woods, & “Fall Equinox 1997.” Ed Rinaldi, dressed for the “hunt,” read us a long piece about talking to his daughter in a dream, ”Dreaming a Hallowed Ween,” once again proving that nobody’s dreams are as interesting as our own.

The newly appointed Secretary of AlbanyPoets.com, Avery, was up next with “Pondering the Silence of a Sunday Morning,” then “Confused,” mixing up the emotions with the reactions he is describing, like a Mime with words. RM Engelhardt has started a new project, The Literary Rogue, now a website, soon to be a journal.  His first poem tonight was a modern re-write of “Hamlet” as a satire on “poor rich kids” while his second piece, “Hipster,” takes on the same dead horse (I guess he’s not a fan of Mitt Romney either), both pieces with negative references to Starbucks as hangout for the well-to-do. Mojavi finished off the open mic with a religious piece, written yesterday, for his son, then tried out a portion of a mix-tape, a love poem, with music played off his phone, the poem better off without the barely heard sounds.

Then on to the Roast of Thom Francis. Of course, “Vodka Mary” had already gotten in the swing of things with her introductions, the Roast simply the institionalisation of her usual style, which means if you interrupt her with something witty (or not) to say you’ll be cut down with a “Shut the Fuck up!” & if your comment is something she wished she had thought of first, it will be, “Ooh, that’s cruel.” Anyhow, she let the old guy go first & I pondered just who is this “Thom Gendron/Thom Francis/Thom Job” who has been popping up in the poetry scene for years & whose pictures are in my files — I brought copies for show & tell. Kevin Peterson observed (correctly) that everyone in the room who had been married has also been divorced & proceeds to roast everyone. His next best comment was that Thom’s pancreas is more useless than Dale (who was not here). Mojavi’s tribute, “I Thought You Were Taller,” was tender & funny, filled with references to their recent car trip to North Carolina to the Slam Nationals, check it out on FaceBook.

All night long there had been references to Thom’s partner in the poetry/music group Murrow, Keith Spencer, as a serial killer/rapist (or worse, a Republican), & his flowing beard as everything from …, well you can guess. So Keith had his chance to also take on everyone in true roast style. Ed Rinaldi was back up, briefly this time, with his 2 cents (as my Grandmother would say), then el presidente hisself had his chance to bring the night to a close, graciously recognizing our acknowledgments of what he, Thom, has brought to our community with his poetry, his organizing skills, computer savvy, energy, humor, & killer good looks.

It’s not always a Roast (about once a year) but always fun & usually on the last Monday of the month (we were here first) at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, NY — check the AlbanyPoets.comwebsite/calendar for info. You too can be the subject of Vodka Mary’s withering attacks.