Here we are...

...a group of Baby Boomers of sundry religious,
political and cultural orientations, who have been
meeting at the Voorheesville Public Library since 1991
to read and discuss each other's poems.

We include old fathers and young grandmothers,
artists and musicians, and run-of-the-mill eccentrics.
Writers are welcome to stop in and stay if they like us.

Some of Us

Some of Us
Dennis Sullivan, Beverly Osborne, Tom Corrado, Edie Abrams, Art Willis, Alan Casline (all seated); Paul Amidon, Mike Burke, Tim Verhaegen, Mark O'Brien, Barbara Vink, Philomena Moriarty

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just too funny

Paul, you are a trip. You guys are just too funny sometimes. Keep reading and posting comments.
Lily Alys

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Bad Boys Blog

Can't get that song out of my head now.

Okay, tt seemed to work having the person to the left of the writer automatically be the person to do the second reading. Let's keep doing that.

Paul proposed that instead of taking the three-week hiatus when it occurs, we use that 5th Thursday for an extra meeting. This would, incidentally, take care of our holiday conflicts when we miss meetings on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is up for a vote - opinions, anyone?

I am updating the "class list" - I have Dan's information and a couple of email changes. Anyone else have anything?

I have not yet talked to Mimi as I believe she is still at Pyramid Lake. There are a couple of people absent for the next meeting (The Red Menace is one), so I will ask her about another date to go her house. Nobody wanted to miss it.

Philomena was back after an absence and Ally can't seem to stay away even though she keeps threatening to do so. (She and Edie were both lovely in pink.) Philomena got in a nice dig at you-know-who (the "leaderofthe freeworld") with Pigeon Droppings. Ally presented her hero husband as a 19-year-old WWII pilot in the Pacific. We agreed that "kill" is a good word. I brought a show'n'tell photo of a child I met over the weekend and a commentary on seeing beneath the skin. Dennis had the best title of the night with When You Bow Your Head To Die. I want to write one with the same title.

Oh, gosh, Dennis, I just stopped to look at your other poems from last night and found the best one you have EVER WRITTEN! I command everyone to read The Presence of God (on his third page). We must workshop this. Dennis, why didn't you choose it for last night? Was this a test to see if we really read what you bring?

Tom and Obee and Paul got gaveled for chatting when someone else was commenting. I thought it was just Paul and Obee, but they insisted it was Tom's fault. Paul received a few suggestions for increasing the impact of his Highway Incident - a dramatic occurance that might have been made more so with a few changes. Mark had an unusual format to his ...Lament of a Simple Minded Christian and it was amusing and sad and autobiographical. I liked it a lot. It is curious that Dan has inspired some rhyming verse from the rest of us.

Bad Boy Tom (or should I say Deaf Boy Tom) wrote On His Partial Deafness (my favorite of the evening). He read it last week at Social Justice, so some of us had a preview. It is a performance piece and he performs it perfectly. Also a good second read by Mark.

Tim did a hilarious update of his mother rampaging through the house and neighborhood. Tom suggested trying it as a prose poem, no paragraphs. I was busy paring it down. Great material either way.

Alan offered A Design on Your Attention, a reflection on linoleum slicing. Make your own metaphor. Alan, I liked it and the poem which begins on your opposite page, too. Lastly, Mr. Lawlor, who says his life is music, had a perfect verse to start off What is Music? "...the melody of dreams that lovers keep..." Sweet and well written.

Lively conversation followed at Smitty's, all ten of us engaged with our seating companions. General question posed by Dennis regarding my experience with Moses about my white Bible. I think I "won" in the opinion poll. Lots of wings consumed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Between blogs

By popular request I am adding this blog between meeting blogs. There is a new comment on the post called A Little Love Story. It is from Jeanne Rankin, our John's elder daughter who lives in Texas. It, of course, brought a tear to my eye.

A brief report on our night last Thursday at the Social Justice Center with Tim as the feature - he did a great job. His poems sound wonderful in a performance setting. Dan Wilcox is the host and holds everyone to the one-poem rule. Tom and Dennis and Obee and Mimi were all there and read. Prior, we had dinner together at Carmine's, where the food was outstanding.

There was a respectable crowd - more than 20. I read my getting married in Vegas poem and had a slight altercation with someone over the content. Weird. I am back from an excellent weekend in the Bronx and will see you all this Thursday.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A little love story

I just got off the phone with Mildred Kerr and have a fresh appreciation for what a special person she is. She sounded very feeble and weak when she answered the call and my heart sank. It didn't take long however for her to begin talking, telling me stories about her and Donald. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in Ogonquit, ME, where Mildred loved to go and sketch, (while Donald waited, infinitely patient). That day they made a heart in the sand with their initals inside and they planned to do it again this year for their 61st in June. Donald died three weeks before the anniversary so Mildred asked her son to take her and he did. Donald's last words were "I love you, so long". How I wish that I could have had a relationship like that in my life.

She spoke fondly of EOTNP and asked to be remembered to you. She needs more time before we plan a visit.


Civil Seer by Dennis Sullivan

Civil Seer

Father told me
be a civil servant

New York City cop
or fireman, sanitation

has the benefits
glasses and teeth

out in twenty
upstate at forty

a chicken farm
a horse or two to ride on.

His counsel I followed, save
a servant of servility I became

a cop of words and sentiments
a fireman of unconsciousness

a garbage man of despair
strewing poems everywhere

a proud civil seer, poet,
serving with flair the city

of kindness and peace
astride beauty’s elegant mane

no glasses no teeth
just gratitude, what Blake says

is grace, before which death daily
bows in ignominy.

Thanks, Dennis!

Friday, July 13, 2007


Edie's late arrival narrowly saved me from being the token female last night. She had spent a great deal of effort on her poem about a woods' walk with her dog Caesar, which was not only entertaining, but nearly perfectly rhyming - inspired by Dan Lawlor. Dan made a major stride with his work as evidenced by his poem entitled "War". The meter was his best yet. Edie made a strong case for the difficulty of writing rhyming poetry and we all agreed.

The Professor had invited one of his former poetry students to visit us. Tom Vecchio used to be a Voorheesville kid who is en route to Oregon. He is still writing poetry and brought a good one about NYC life - coffee, the F-train, newspapers caught in an iron fence. Dr. Willis himself was a little more obscure and several of us admitted we didn't know what he was talking about. His explanation was that it was a blast against "dualism", which I am still going to have to look up. Sorry, Art.

Dr. Sullivan was a hit with all of us. Short and simple about his work as a "civil seer", "strewing poems everywhere". Obeedude had us all laughing - at the content of his poem and the fact that we could practically understand it. To clue you in, he got a Lolli if he were "guid" getting his "hairscoot" and "ona Connan cood play".

Alan served us up a fish platter, Grandfather Carp's tale to be exact. It was a great description of a river journey, leaping through white foam, tumbling rapids, shadows and shallows. Final section introduced a dragon element which I wanted to see earlier. Paul, who, I was interested to note, had left a comment on our blog last week, offered up a piece on landfills and politicians which the guys seemed to like but I was unmoved by.

I did a breakout poem about taking a cheap flight to Vegas and getting married in the Elvis Chapel which everyone laughed at, perhaps not realizing that I was deadly serious. If I post it, the women may understand.

News and Gossip:
  • Timmy is featured at the Gay and Lesbian Center next Thursday. Please go.
  • Mary Panza, the Albany Poetry Goddess, is urging us to submit poems to Chronograph, a pretty sharp looking local magazine of which she is the poetry editor. I can get you info if you want it.
  • I tentatively told her I would featured at the Lark Tavern in September. They have good burgers.
  • Alan brought the info for poetry reading at the Altamont Fair this year. For those of you who didn't know me then, I was discreetly discouraged from attending again after my first performance there years ago. For some inexplicable reason, the little ladies with the apple baskets didn't like me. I will probably spare their sensibilities and not go back. Bob Foltine is making the arrangements for August 15 at 10:30 a.m. in the Old School House. Call Bob at 785-1252 to sign up.
  • We agreed that some of us would like to visit Mildred and I am charged with inquiring about doing a poetry reading at Beverwyck in the fall.
  • I am going away next weekend. My Josh and Amy are finally having their wedding celebration and I get to meet the new in-laws. I guess that means more good behavior from me. Amy's father is a minister.
  • Cathy's family (son and wife, two kids 4 and 7) is here to stay with her so she has been too busy to answer her email.
  • Tom was not at the meeting but I will see him tomorrow at pottery class.

Hilarity at Smitty's included lots of good Scots jokes, as well as other ethnic and cultural indiscretions, such as offering Edie pizza with pepperoni. Tom Vecchio joined us, which led to a discussion of communes on which, to no one's surprise, a couple of us have lived.

Omigosh, i almost forgot to mention Timmy's poem, as I was saving it for last. It was a spot-on description of a faceoff between two macho hunks at a gay swimming hole. It was a little sad, very touching, and pretty darn funny. Great job.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Queen Mother

Mildred Kerr is the oldest member of our group. She attended our meetings faithfully and participated avidly for many years until circumstances prevented it. She remains active in her retirement home. Her poetry is published in their newsletter, she entertains with her organ playing, and her sketches are frequently displayed in their art spaces.

Mildred was married for over 60 years to her childhood sweetheart, Donald, who died this May, and I wondered how Mildred would survive without him. Well, I received mail from her this morning, thanking me (us) for the card I sent and including a couple of poems. What amazed me was a notation in the program from Donald's service that she had crafted a sand/cement sculpture which she donated to her church in memory of her husband. She is quite a character. She tells me that, God willing, she will be 90 in October.

I wish you all could have known her.