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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

near Washington 23 July 1861

A sketch of the battle of Bulls Run when we met the enimy and they oferd fire on us:
(by special correspondence to the Sunday Mercury from the battlefield.)


While the Artillery seemed
to be assembling for conference

amid the sun-dried bowlders,
fishwives scolded and nagged

railing excitedly into
an unspeakable jumble
a rising of din over battle.


An Officer waved his
gauntleted hand sweeping

wildly at the air
of unwilling curses

despite being dragged at heals
by a besplashed charger
the western sky along.

Partly smothered in red
as a blue haze of evening

settled upon the field
he was loosed to the ground

rising to the level of his feet
twisting with the movement
plunged he deep into earth.

Pressing his hands
through the wound

a single afflicted groan
wrenched from him

causing him to expire
his face, then painted
stupefied with a smile.


Note: This poem is an impression and a fiction of my imagination. It is based on the letters I have read ,as well as the recent novels that I have consumed such as the Red Badge of Courage. I tookArt's suggestion and added what seemed like period language that I created. It is dated after the actual battle, as if it were a letter written from Washington, when the New York State Militia would have been straggling back to their camps, and writing home to describe what had transpired in thisdisastrous battle and its aftermath. The actual event described here-in may well have taken place at any battle during the civil war. I chose Bull Run (or Bulls Run as many of the participants called it)because it was a battle of confusion and tragic blunders on both sides. The Confederates won but muchto their surprise, the Union lost miserably and to their surprise were so devastated that many injuries and losses took place in the stampede from the battlefield. As I said, there were D├ębutantes and Senators out for a picnic to watch on a lark. Before they knew it, they went from picnic to panic.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ricochets and Echoes (borrowed from Tim)

Wow, last night was quite a circus with 16 poets, including a guest appearance by Willow, an longtime member who moved to Cambridge a while ago. We had a visitor named Yvette who came all the way from Saratoga. She and the late Mr. Casline did not get to read because we ran out of time.

I was limiting everyone to ten minutes instead of the usual 15, but still was not enough. I need to remind you that we cannot digress into personal viewpoints on the issues presented in the poems whether it is religious, political or other. We simply 1) do not have the time and 2) are there to critique the structure and efficacy of the poems not debate the contents.

The meeting was very rowdy . We have a lot to talk about and enjoy each other's company, but unless we want to consider splitting up into smaller groups (which no one does), we have to concentrate on the matters at hand. The discussion group, as such, convenes at Smitty's after the meeting and everyone is welcome. Those who came last night were very hungry and we all consumed cheeseburgers and fries and other goodies with our beer and iced tea.

Art's poem, btw, was the shortest and sweetest. Two good performance pieces by Willow and Tim.

God, I hate sounding like God.
Cathy fell asleep and was too groggy to make the meeting.
Tim is going to Montreal for a wild weekend.
Mike is heading off to the lake for the summer and leaving us.
There was a lot of conversation that I missed.
My real birthday was last Sunday. The party is no longer a surprise, as I caught on. Remember to RSVP to my daughter.
Thank you, Larry, for the present.

I will be back at work next Tuesday and will post the comments that are waiting and Mark's poem from the last meeting.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm back

and I have summarized my trip in A Crowd of Cows below.
The Yellow Brick Road

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Crowd of Cows

Under a tree in a Florida pasture, they are jostling for space in the shade. They are brown suede and black velvet, sleek and soft-skinned. We glide by in our red Mustang. My cheeks are getting sunburned. The wind makes a snarl of my hair. I am holding a straw visor on my head with one hand.

The cows have a tree and they all want it. I want the sun and the wind and to go so fast I leave my life behind. I can almost hear the cows politely asking one another to move over a little. No one says anything to me.

How long do they let cows live before they eat them?
Not longer than 60 years I'm thinking.

My birthday 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm leaving, really

Some very strange emails have been flying around the last couple of days. I don't know as I really understood all of them, but no matter. My thoughts are elsewhere. This time tomorrow I should be winging my way over Georgia (or Guantanamo - they always stop me at the check in for having metal knees.) I really, really, REALLY need this trip. It has been an awful year.

Okay, only ten in attendance last night with the name O'Sullivan on the sign in sheet with no accompanying personnel and a very poor showing from the females.

Art's Blanche was a portrait of his maiden "white" aunt who died young during the war (the BIG ONE) , played the piano and smelled of forest mold. Paul followed up with another boyhood tale about catching a gallon that fell off the ice cream truck It reminded me of my trips to see Mr. Mudge at our ice cream store when I was a tot. Mike was counting urination among his the things his day had taught him. Alan also mention fathers in recounting a Key Bank anecdote. My poem sucked (thanks again for that, Tim) about the fire gods and snakes coming out the flames. Tom and I both mentioned hemlock boughs, he more successfully than I, and he managed to work in gargoyles and flowered codpieces besides. Ally made a good point about the media pursuing the Anna Nicole and Imus stories instead of the coffins. Tim did a nice job telling his trip to Montreal and Mark brought us to the finish with a good Bull Run. (I will post). Gary was there for the first time in a while, but passed on reciting.

I did not join the troops at Smit's, so i don't know how the recitation contest went, but hope to hear about it. I went home to pay bills and pack the dog stuff, etc. before leaving. Managed to fall on my butt (don't ask) and twisted a knee, neither of which are very good to begin with, so I will be limping to the beach. By hook or by crook, I WILL be at the beach, however.

Morgan, thanks for stopping to say goodbye.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Another oops...

Gosh, this blog stuff is strange. Beneath is a poem I worked on last night and thought I posted to my personal blog at home. I have no idea how it turned up here. I am Grandma Charley (GC).

Nevermind, I removed it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I'm leaving

...for Florida right after the next meeting which is on May 10. I will try to blog before I go.

I have posted Art's wonderful poem about his father which I like even better after another reading. Thanks, Art.

Several people have expressed their frustration about not being able to post comments so I am adding an instruction element on the righthand side of the page. I love to read comments and want you all to do it, so pay attention!

For those of you who remember him, I have gotten a "Hey there" from Charlie Rossiter in Chicago. Charlie is a good friend and a member of the Three Guys from Albany, along with Dan Wilcox who you met at the brunch, and the late Tom Nattell. In fact, I think the last time I spoke to Charlie was at Tom's memorial last year. Charlie and I worked on a poetry grant program together many years ago and he is a happening kind of guy, currently learning to sing the blues (I already know how). There is a link to one of his pages already on this blog. He was asking about you, Tom, in particular.

So, everybody read the directions and send me a comment.

What I cannot grasp
is why you held your thumbs
in your hands toward the end. . .

You who fought as a golden gloves boxer
and wore a 38 at the hip
as a surveyor for the Rock Island Line,

Who commandered jail cells
during the Great Depression
so that families might eat squares a day,

Who took 12 boats into Normandy and lost 8 off shore
including the one your were on
and survived a heart attack as well:
Why would you hold your thumbs
in your hands toward the end?

You who had the collaborators at Salzburg
shot for assassinating G.I.'s
during the early occupation,

Who supervised the resettlement of survivors
from Dachau and the transcendent
evil of the holocaust,

Who flew a C-47 to Kiev in a blizzard
when the main door blew off -
to see if Freemasons met at the Lavra in 1947:
Why would you hold your thumbs
in your hands toward the end?

You who faced off against Clare Booth Luce,
Bedell Smith and George Kennan
in a losing case for exchange,

Who quoted from memory much of Shakespeare
throughout a sample week
as you paced like Banquo's ghost,

Who was adored by your graduate students
as you put before them the presumptions of the day:
Why would you hold your thumbs
in your hands toward the end?

Was it the cold?

Art Willis 3/14/07