Nancy Klepsch was back as co-host with me, DWx, & a full list of open mic readers, some for the first time, some regulars. George Guarino started us off with a hypnotic reading of his piece “What If,” setting the tone for the afternoon.
Brian Dorn has been trying out the different open mic venues with his rhymes; he read 3 poems, a couple with subtle (or not so) political messages, such as the nostalgic “Back in the Day” & a poem about his alter ego, “Darker Me.” David Wolcott read another segment from his memoir, this about working for NYSERTA developing alternative energy sources. Howard Kogan‘s first poem, “Chaperone,” was about walking the turkeys as a way to stave off wild beasts, then a poem that pondered the nature of Time, as did his last poem, “Tanta Chava,” about an aunt of his, that he is perhaps the only one alive with a memory of her (one of Howard’s poems that’s a particular favorite of mine).
Don Levy was back in Troy again & began with a wonderful list poem, “Growing up Queer,” then on to a funny true story about Super Bowl Sunday, “All I Wanted Was Eggs.” Sally Rhoades began with an elegy, “Mourning Mother,” then on to an old poem, the self-affirming “Steadying the Street Music,” & ended with a “harvest” of words after 3 hours dancing, “The Dance Underscore.” Mimi Moriarty had a cluster of short, seasonal poems: a Mardi Gras poem, then “Valentine for Ex-Patriots, the “anti-Valentine” “Love Knots,” & “5 Dangerous Fantasies.” Inna Erlikh does translations of contemporary Russian writers & asked me to read for her 2, “I Heart New York,” a short prose piece on learning to like New York by Inna Goukhman, then the short lyric poem, “Do Not Abandon Me,” by G. Polonsky.
Sean Heather McGraw‘s first poem was an extended metaphor (“all the stars go out”) of friendship & relationships, then a commentary on the mis-use of the term “gay” by students, “The Kids Always Say.” Ron Drummond began with a piece from a letter to a friend that read like a tender poem, then an excerpt from a collection of pieces for the Sci-fi writer Samuel R. Delaney. I followed with just one piece, “Birthday Poem, 2013.” My co-host Nancy Klepsch followed with a short piece finding similarities to her father, who died recently, then a poem written just this morning, a celebration of the everyday, of life & love.
Frank Robinson made a rare appearance & read from his book, The Case for Rational Optimism, on the gains of the 20th Century & how we have not done badly. He was followed by Therese Broderick reading from a chapbook she is writing about her grandfather, this piece about how he worked at the Watervliet Arsenal. Tim Verhaegan noted the deaths in his family that have occurred in February & read from his ongoing family memoir, “Our Revelations,” in which he notes that his memories of his older brother Michael are different from Tim’s twin brother’s memories (linking us back to Howard’s poem). Joe Krausman ended the afternoon with 2 “parables,” first “The Collector,” a short absurdist prose piece about a pancake collector, the a short anecdote, “Waiting in the Waiting Room of the Doctor’s Office.”
This afternoon was just what it was supposed to be — a diverse mix of prose & poetry. And it happens on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2PM at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, on River St. in Troy — & it’s Free!