The last Monday in July & here we were back in the back room again for the open mic, & tonight’s featured poet, Josh Bauscher. Our host, as always, was Mary Panza.
Sylvia Barnard was first to the mic with a revised, expanded version of her recent poem “Tribute to Jo Cox” (the member of the British Parliament who was assassinated recently), then a poem from her book, Trees, about another activist, “To Harry Patch.” I followed with 2 recent poems on, strangely, related themes, “Sweet Jane” (a letter to my newest granddaughter), & the satirical (?) “When Donald Trump Farts.” After a somewhat rambling intro, Julie Lomoe read her memoir piece “My Mother & Senator Joe” (McCarthy, that is). Carol Jewell read a pantoum (surprise!) “The Beacon” that won the June 2016 Poetry Challenge on Wilda Morris’s Blog. Anthony Bernini showed up with 2 Florida poems, “Disney” & one about old folks “Sundown,” both richly descriptive in Anthony’s signature poetic way.
Josh Bauscher is a poet of both the page & the stage. I have seen him do Slam-style & free-form pieces at The Low Beat & at Poetic Vibe in Troy. He began with a couple of Slam pieces from memory that gradually accelerated. He switched over to a couple poems from his self-published 2016 book, Lights Left On, a collection of love poems, then poems from an earlier book, & a love poem from memory on closure & writing. He ended with some show-off free-forms based on words suggested from the audience (“penis,” “dairy,” “Xanax”), proof of the appeal of performance over poetry.
Karen Fabiane’s first poem was written 30 years ago when she was on the Lower East Side of NYC, “Outdoor Cafe” then read the much more recent “The Best Thing You Said is I’m Really Tired of it Now” based on an email exchange. Ian Macks began with a bitter lost-love poem titled “I Wonder if She is Still Hearing Voices,” then to a sweeter piece about falling in love. Adam Tedesco read a poem for poet Ben Lerner with violent images about hating poetry, then some “discreet charm” along with violence again for the poem “Luis Buñuel.”
Carrie Czwakiel is so sweet looking that it is hard to believe she could write such a gruesome, bloody, creepy piece as the long segment she read from her vampire (!) novel — yipes! Robb Smith also read a prose piece, this about kids spray painting a witch’s barn, from his memoir (?) “The Too-Long Dream Time.”
There was a good crowd of poets & poet-listeners tonight, even a large table of startled dinner patrons who stayed (almost) to the end. One never knows (do one?) what is going to happen when
Poets Speak Loud! at McGeary’s on Clinton Square on the last Monday of the month — show up & find out.
This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on July 31, 2016.