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

Friday, September 28, 2007

Der Fuehrer's Post

Sans Barbara, Sans Gavel, Sans Women ... Almost!!!

Without Beverly, it would have been Guys Night Out! No telling where it would have ended. Certainly not Smitty’s! The bowels of Watervliet? Who knows! So where were the women? And who’s Beverly? The women didn’t show! Mayhaps because Barb, out on big time bronchitis-leave (Be well, Barb!), had warned them that Der Fuehrer (moi) would be in change. And Beverly? None other than our newest member; hailing from Albany by way of Tribes Hill. She’d browsed this blog, and, voila, appeared! Introductions, a quick look at the RULES, and we were off and reading! Beverly’s Right of Passage, which some felt was actually two poems, spoke of her chubby five-year-old self and her brother and sister. Oddly enough, no one asked Beverly why Right was right, and not Rite. Dennis, however, did have a problem with underwear, not his, or Beverly’s, but Gram’s and Grampa’s, insisting that old people’s undergarments are best disclosed as drawers. Welcome, Beverly! Alan presented an alangory titled The Three Sisters, a riff on three sisters, three golden apples, the threes of life. Short lines, innovative rhyme schemes. Bravo! Obeedude took issue with issue, departing from his colloquial tongue of late, and laying out a tender snapshot of baptizing his baby girl! Presumptive perhaps - a la Dennis - but very well done! Tim, champing at the bit to head off to P-town for an extended weekend, did justice to a War Rant, and the cruel, despicable irony of war, however cloaked. There’s always been war. Top-notch performance peace! Dan conjured the mood of Edgar Poe’s Lenore (at least for me) with his well-wrought Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb. Captivating musicality. He really nailed it! Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Paul’s contribution, replayed a newsreel of a faded, peeling park, and a memory of a steeplechase ride which kept its strength hidden / until it knew it was all / that was left. Superb! Paul also stepped in to rescue my Flash Fiction, a brief journey into one my sanctums, from the land of bicycles by transforming pedals into petals! Thanks, Paul! Readers shouldn’t be given multiple choices was a point well-paraphrased by Dennis-the-Red-Menace’s invocation of Shelly’s 1819 Defense of Poetry, before launching into his Fifteen Rules For Living Sanely, a reworking of a piece he had open-mic’d in July at Albany’s Social Justice Center. A cool, erudite, edgy, entertaining list of rules written for (I believe) a 13-year-old friend of his, it displayed his usual panorama of juxtaposing images and education, reminding me, at least, of the list, which, mis-attributed to the late, great Kurt Vonnegut, toured the commencement address circuit a few years ago. All good stuff! And with time to spare before the library’s 9 PM closing! Then it was off to Smit’s where, amid Bloody Mary’s avec sidecars, Black and Tans, some weird concoction that Alan found a recipe for in an old copy of Pilgrim’s Progress, tried and true chilled mugs of Bud Lite, medium wings, burgers, Deutchedogs, Kraut, and American wannabes, the discussion got sidetracked - thanks to Kathy-of-wait-staff-fame - into ghosts and witches and Dennis who goes bump in the night. The tab for $100 muted the raucousness. We became the Society of Dead Poets! We reached into our threadbare pockets. Obeedude jumped up on a chair; Dennis upped his pontifications; Beverly sat wide-eyed (She won’t be back!); Alan ended up putting in $35 (Hey, we’re poets not mathematicians!); I grabbed a Metroland, and ran to Pheasant Run, just as the Sheriff of Nottingham arrived on the scene! Yes, it was poetic!

Respectfully submitted,


Addendum from the Blog Goddess:

Good work, Commandant. I am glad to hear that Beverly showed up (she emailed me several weeks ago) and I hope you rowdy boys didn't frighten her. I am feeling better. I have one of those breath-y machines which seems to working on my cough and I will be back at work on Monday. I am sorry to have missed the festivities.

Aside to tHom - I couldn't open the attachment because I can't access anything in MS Word, but was able to copy and paste. Thanks for taking over. Did you have to gavel anyone, or did everything just go to pieces?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Summer Shower by Mike Burke

When the rain begins to fall
I move from the lakeside rocks
warmed by the afternoon sun
to the picnic table beneath the large oak
Susie my summertime dog
moves with me to stay at my side

I love to watch the rain drop on the lake
make endless repeating ripples
crash and join into each other
hear it drop on the leaves above
while I stay dry.

Watching the dark clouds
move toward me as the fog rolls in
I think of girls I have known
who were once in my life
but never wanted to come back
after they left.

I sometimes wish Susie was a hot babe
spilling out of her halter top
short-shorts legs crossed all thigh
arms around me snuggling
laughing at my jokes.

But now it's just me
and my summertime dog
we'll stay here
under the oak
till I get wet
or run out of beer.

Shades of September!

The late Gary Yeager, who I was beginning to believe might be the actual late Mr. Yeager, appeared just as rumors of his demise were going to start circulating. Also greeted Philomena whose beautiful hair appears to have grown a couple of inches since our last sighting. Burke is back from the track- sounds like a tv show, doesn't it? - and brought a great poem (hey, it had a dog in it) which I am going to post here.

NEWS: I am the feature poet at Tess' Lark Tavern on
September 24. Don't ask me why I said yes, as I am not much into these readings anymore. I guess it was because I like Mary Panza, who was the one who asked me. Signup starts at 7, readings at 7:30 or so. Some of us will probably meet earlier for food and libations. They serve good burgers. Anyone who wants to come, let me know if you want to carpool. Dennis is the feature there in October. Always the last Monday of the month, I guess. Tim will be at Cafe Lena in November. Mary P. and other familiar faces will on stage at the Larkfest tomorrow. I think I might go.

Alan, who was a little clumsy with his lemonade, brought a broadside and accepted compliments on his Normanskill book last night. He is expending a lot of time as Benevolent Bird and doing a great job with publications. He is currently at work on a little book for me.

Lifelines is starting up again on September 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the director's office. I am planning to be there, at least for the first one. Also having the Elizabeth Brundage writing workshop here on October 6, signup required. I will be here.

READ THIS AND ACT: The library is conducting an online survey as part of our expansion planning. It is accessed through our website and asks questions regarding how and why you use VPL and what you think our future holds. Please take the time to take the survey and register your opinions, as you are regular and influential users of this library.

POEMS: Alan's poem was a tribute to Dan Lawlor (who missed it as he is in Denver), described his start as a singer, the triumph of being a tenor. Dan's influence showed up in a couple of poems as Cathy rhymed about Summer's End. We particularly liked the line that read "cones march up the arms of the pine". Distracted Mark, who just came by to pick up the cell phone he left here last night, expanded on his "this is not what I signed on for" rhyme, which is terrific and makes me laugh.

Seasonal poems abounded. I railed about the idiots who proclaim to love autumn, when to me it is a sad season, a precursor to death and dying. Okay, I may have been reacting to a serious downturn in my father's health. Paul was into trees with a description of an Old Maple and its changing fortunes. Philomena encountered an English bulldog on a walk (not a drive!) to a lake and a dangling caterpillar in a tree. Mike sat under a tree in a Summer Shower with his "summertime dog". We all loved it, I think.

Dennis, of course, was more erudite, but accessible, with an expression of the thin line between hope and despair. poor passing facts. How true. Tom had a good one, too, with what may become an annual tradition of end-of-the-track-season horse poems appropriately titled Thoroughbreds. I loved the Spanish leather line, as it reminds me of a favorite Joan Baez song. As usual, very little criticism of either work.

On to the controversy of the night - Tim's very excellent, scathing portrayal of two particular individuals in a restaurant. Descriptions were right on target, but general consensus was that it was could have been done with fewer words. A couple of people mentioned that he was being unduly mean-spirited in his description. Tim felt that the group was missing the point in the poem. I think we all understood the message - which was a good one, btw - but I feel that the effectiveness was obscured rather than highlighted by the repetitiveness.

Gary, if you could find me a sonnet-writing poet (still breathing) I am available for marriage or the remainder of my life. Arthur Davidson Ficke: good stuff.

MISC: I needed my gavel several times during the course of the evening, but had left it in my office and resorted to pounding the table. We did however manage to get everyone to read before closing. Tim and Cathy got lost somewhere between VPL and Smitty's. The rest of us ate a pile of wings and nachos with a variety of drinks. I am waiting for Mike's analysis of GW's speech. Alright, I will now post Mike's poem and wait for responses from you all. Can anyone think of a new poll? Don't forget the V'ville Peace Rally on Tuesday nights. Good turnout of writers. We are big advocates for peace.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Construction Going On

Okay, I am doing a little work on the layout, at the prompting of the critical Mr. Corrado. I have not figured out how to resize photos, obviously. Maybe the kindhearted Mr. O'Brien will come to my rescue. I am trying to link to the pdf of our book so it may be read through the blog site.

Also, a NEW feature enables us to have fun and games like the poll now appearing. This one is rather simpleminded as I was in a hurry to practice the polling gizmo, but it also serves as a promotion for Alan's newest publication of Normanskill. It is a really nice work. He is a talented guy.

Speaking of talent, did you all get Tom's mail about his latest work on display at the Upstate Artists Guild? The opening reception is tonight. He is getting well-deserved acclaim for his "orbs" and "orbits" which I love (altho I am still distraught that he destroyed a green and purple one that was my favorite).

Dan Lawlor will be in Denver for the next meeting and Mimi will also be away, but I think Burke is Back and am expecting to see some faces who have been missing over the summer. I saw Cathy and Dennis and Joyce at the peace rally in the village on Tuesday. We were taking off our clothes and throwing ourselves under the wheels of motorcycles to protest the war.

BTW, Lifelines will begin meeting again on September 20 also with some new faces to give the group a little of infusion of life (sorry, couldn't help it). I am going to try again to attend, as I have been writing prose on my blog at home. I find it very difficult to get back to the library at night however after having been here all day. I love the library, but I don't want it to consume my life.

Take the poll so I see how it works.