I decided to check in on the Slam again, even signed up to compete. The new rules allow poets to read at the open mic & also do the Slam, but for myself I prefer one or the other. As most often happens, most of the real poems were read in the open mic, which was MC’d by Mojavi.

Chad Lowther reading, with Thom Francis

Avery started off with some white-boy hip-hop, preaching on complacency. Chad Lowther followed with a poem from his laptop “Morning Dream Child,” then a narrative piece, “Juda.” Brett Peterson played poetry roulette with a serial poem in many numbered parts, asking the audience to call out numbers that he read the corresponding poem. Brian Dorn promoted his up-coming poetry/theater piece, “We All,” with the a performance of the title poem.  The first of the night’s (poetry) virgins, Nayram Gase, read “Seasonal Girl” from her phone.

Shauntay read a piece playing on clichés of the lightness/blackness of her skin. Poetyc Visionz read from his favorite hits, his “what’s up is down” poem. Mojavi surprised us with a short piece, on a smile. Kevin Peterson also had a short piece, this a portrait of “the dart guy” in a bar. The night’s other virgin was “Diva” whose poem declared “I Love Big Dudes” (thick with responsibilities). Bless ended the open mic with his gritty poem on jazz, booze & cigars.

Sarah McCormick

il papa Thom Francis stepped up as the night’s Slam-Bastard, reading us the riot act, otherwise known as “the official spiel” (i.e., da rules). It was a traditional 8-4-2 Slam, with Avery as the poetry sacrificial lamb, followed by a mix of experienced Slam poets & others, including me. Actually, I didn’t do too bad, coming in my usual 5th place. The others included Slam pros K.P., ILLiptical, Bless, Mojavi & P.V., with Brett Peterson attempting something way too short for a Slam (good for him), & Sarah McCormick with a real poem, “I Never Rest” — & she actually made it into the second round.

P.V., Mojavi, Bless, & Thom Francis

But with a tie there was an extra round between Bless, Mojavi & P.V., with a further tie for the final round of P.V. & Mojavi, such is the nature of arithmetic in bars. But it is too early in the (Slam) season for any of that to matter. Hell, I may just be back with my best poems —

to Valentines, on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday — Albany’s Official Slam.