This is always a “don’t miss” open mic for me, not just for the poetry, or Ms. Mary Panza‘s acerbic tongue, but also the fine bar-food & drink & enchanting wait-staff here at McGeary’s. There was quite a crowd tonight of regulars, some from as far away as Kingston (NY, that is), even a 1st timer.

First up was Sylvia Barnard with a new poem about turbines in Sicily, “Wind,” then a poem about the Temple at Delphi, Greece. I read yet again my new poem “The Leprechaun’s Cottage” then a non-Valentine’s Day poem “The Meaning of Roses.” Carolee Sherwood‘s 2 poems were new, the 1st a pantoum based on a Frida Kahlo painting, “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace & Hummingbird” then “Mother Downtown with Bows & Arrows.” Tess Lecuyer tried to jump-start Spring with “April Understanding” & a bouquet of Spring haiku. Cheryl Rice was up from Kingston & read one of her Albany poems, “Community,” from Moses Parts the Tulips (A.P.D., 2013), then a poem based on an old photo, “On Horseback.” Mike Jurkovic was Cheryl’s driver & read a poem about being on a train with a car full of coughing & hacking passengers, “Bio-hazard,” then a Jain-like meditation about killing a bug that might change the universe.

Tonight’s featured poet, Bryan Roessel, drove a long way to get here up from southern New York. He read a variety of poems, many if not Slam poems, at least leaning that way, sprinkled with a few “fake haiku” (as he termed them).   Many of his pieces were tinged with cynical humor, such as the love poem, “This is For My Girl” & “Breakup,” using images from geology, the “nerdiest poem” he has written, he said. “Microsoft Word is a Prison” was in praise of writing with a pen in a notebook. While many of his poems used Slam cadences (& tended not to end at the end), he often broke with the tradition & read. One of the pieces he did recite was “Paradise Lost,” good images & clever phrases, marred by Slam preachy-ness, as was his last piece, what he described as “a morality poem” about a resolve to make more time poetry — good advice for all of us.

Boys hanging out: Avery & Kevin

Back to the open mic, Julie Lomoe read some of dog-walking haiku. This was Brian Dorn‘s 1st time here as he makes the rounds, trying out the local open mic venues; his first poem was on economics, “Humans United,” then a poem on evolution, “Monkey Bars.” Michael Purcell likes to begin each of his poems with a quote; he introduced his political manifesto “I Am a Patriot” with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, then a quote from Socrates for “The Thinker.” A.C. Everson read her new poem “Skaters Observed from a Distance.” Avery read a couple poems from his big, fat notebook, one on fire & growth, the 2nd a bit of preachy life advice. Kevin Peterson read a new piece, “Civil Integrated Management Workshop Open Remarks” which was exactly what it sounded like, only short; as he left the mic, Mary P. ordered him back (“That’s it? That’s all you got?”) so Kevin came back & free-styled a piece about a bartender. R.M. Engelhardt ended the night with some Lark St. haikus & a revised “The Song Which Never Ends” erupting into a sing-a-long of sorts.

This happens, in one form or another, each last Monday of the month at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, NY, near where Herman Melville lived as a young boy, check albanypoets.com for details.