Our customary intimate gathering for poetry in the living room of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, tonight not only poets to read in the open mic but some “ordinary citizens” to sit & listen. Our host, the ever straight-friendly Don Levy.

Tonight’s featured poet was Emily Gonzalez in her first featured reading since returning to the Capital Region earlier this year. In a sort of retrospective she began with a bunch of early poems, many of them about her mother, such as “Apron Strings” (in 10 stanzas), or about being a mother herself as in “Parenting 101” or a marvelous untitled piece celebrating being her kids, her mother, being Puerto Rican. She brought back her early days as a poet here with “Dreaming of Bukowski,” or the sexy work & beach fantasy of “Office Space.” I am particularly pleased that she included the every changing “Mami” with its images of cooking in Spanish, English, & Spanglish. Her new poems were about her grandson (“Grandson,” “Seeds”) & love (“Driving Me Back Home at 7AM”), death (“For Laura…”) & being back in Albany (“Free Falling,” dedicated to another fine Albany poet, Carolee). So glad to have Emily & her fine words back in this City.

I started off the open mic segment with 2 poems written in the last few days, the ghostly elegaic “Jim Morrison” & the break-up letter inspired “Trailer Park” (3rd in a series). Shannon Shoemaker read an untitled sex-in-the-summer piece, then discovered that the poems she wanted to read were in another notebook, not the one she brought.  The aforementioned  Carolee Sherwood also read recent poems, both available on her Blog, “December Puddles” & the wonderfully moon-struck “Learning to Love Again.”

A shy, new voice, Edward read the philosophical journal musings of “Whatever,” then a little later returned with “Life & Death.” In between Avery effusively described baking a failed cake as a way to talk about marriage — metaphor or recipe? Our genial host, Don Levy, began with an ancient Terence Winch poem about a draft physical, “The Psychiatrist’s Office was Filled with Crazy People” then his own poem written today (!), “A Conversation in an Elevator,” which you can find on Don’s FaceBook page (& if you are not a FB friend of Don’s, why not?).

Live from the Living Room happens on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Pride Center, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, 7:30PM, for a donation that pays the featured poet — & bring your own poems for the open mic.