So, this was my horoscope for January 7: Today you might attend at least one festive social occasion, Aquarius, and therefore you may meet some very interesting people … Expect to hear some bizarre stories, some of them true, others that are clearly exaggerated.

Hmm, seems like an apt description of tonight’s Slam/Open Mic — glad I went. The first controversy was that since NG Slam #60 was cancelled due to weather, is this #61 as planned or should it be re-numbered 60? I guess it will forever be “astericked,” like baseball stats from the Strike.

Kevin Peterson was the host for the open mic & first on the list was L-Majestyoops, he wasn’t ready so Marie Frankson was the first reader, with a tender piece about patient love.

Sally Rhoades

Meanwhile, el presidente Thom Francis & his staff had to deal with a mic stand that refused to stand up, so Sally Rhoades performed (ably) her poems without a mic “Because I Am a Poet” & “The Cardinal” (about Truth in a red dress). Jacky Kirkpatrick followed with a piece written today, a sad poem about her mother being “alive but not feeling it.” By this time L-Majesty was ready to read his “Male Monologue” about his father & why he likes dick. Adam Tedesco‘s poem “Bathysphere” was a deep metaphor. Samson Dikeman‘s first poem, “Humane Society,” was brief fly-by, then he read “Sestina for Sarah” which was set in a bar. Pat Irish, a new face here, read “On this Night” then a poem by mid-Hudson poet Mike Jurkovic. Brian Dorn read his rhymed apology, “My Impropriety.” Avery read 2 poems from notebook, “Becoming a Home” & another with an interesting line about how it’s hard to see the flowers for the sand. Tenesha‘s poem “Black Noise” was about the sounds in her neighborhood when she was growing up. Thom Francis himself read 2 poems, the crowd-pleaser “Paper Messiah” & a poem to an ex, “Walk Away.” Poetyc Visionz was his preacherly self with a piece on responsibility in which Stevie Wonder makes an appearance.

Scott Knox

Interestingly enough although there were 8 slots for the Slam, 9 poets had signed up — hey, what’s another 3 minutes among Slammers, right? Thom Francis was the host so he moved us right along. Competing were Poetyc Visionz, Kevin Peterson, Scott Knox, Samson Dikeman, Algorhythm, Me, L-Majesty, Marie Frankson, & Daniel Summerhill. Kevin did a grievance poem he would’ve done if NG Slam #60 had been held; Scott Knox, a poet from the old QE2 days, made a rare appearance & left; I managed a respectable 24.4 with “The bass players thoughts…” & Daniel Summerhill made a big splash with a piece about growing up in Oakland, CA.

Lo & behold I made it into the 2nd round, but another jazz poem was not enough to get me beyond that. I’ll take 4th place anytime. The top 3 were Kevin Peterson, Algorhythm and Daniel Summerhill, with K.P. & Algorhythm duking it out in the final round, with Algorhythm taking it with his grim poem in the voice of his father.

So, check out the Nitty Gritty Slam on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month. Better yet, bring poems for the open mic &/or the Slam, bring your friends, your mother, your cousins to be judges & vote for you (5 judges needed each time, no experience preferred). But check AlbanyPoets.com to see where Valentines will be in the coming weeks. & check out my photos at my Flickr! site.