Celebrating National Poetry Month (April 5th – April 10th)

My next National Poetry Month adventure took me down to Grand Central Station in Manhattan for “Poetry in Motion” hosted by the Poetry Society of America (PSA) and MTA Arts & Design.

The event took place on Friday, April 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 7p.m. It was a daunting task for me to make it to this venue before all festivities were done. Not only did I have to work in my White Plains office that day but I also had a high priority 4 p.m. conference call that I could not skip.

The plan was to go in early so i could leave early, however, the 4 p.m. conference call was like a speed bump in my path. I decided to press the Start | Shutdown button on my computer at 2 p.m., take the Westchester Avenue loop bus to the train station in White Plains and jump on an express to Grand Central. I would take the conference call at Grand Central.

All went according to plan. I arrived at Grand Central at 3:40 p.m. I needed to find a quiet spot to take the call. I took the escalators up to the Hyatt hotel and took the call in a large open foyer that led to the outside. It was perfect. I finished the call, left the foyer and headed back down the escalator to the main concourse. I walked across the concourse to Vanderbilt Hall and there it was, “Poetry in Motion”. Signs bearing the motto “The Poet is iN” adorned both the left and right side of Vanderbilt Hall’s huge chamber. I always thought one could easily fit a small two bedroom house into the space of the hall and still have plenty room for two or three cars and a truck.

Underneath each “The Poet is iN” sign was a poet sitting at a table typing on a typewriter. Sitting in front of the poets were people. Young men, older men, young women, older women, children, a diversity of race, a variety of nationalities, tourists, locals, commuters from many counties outside of the big city and much, much more. One poet had nearly an entire family sitting in front of her. The moment of my approach into the hall was stunning. Everyday people like you and me standing in line having a poem written, customized and tailored just for them. The line for a sit down with a poet ran in the middle of the hall. I immediately joined in. Someone who knew that I was a poet stopped by and asked, “shouldn’t you be at a typewriter?” I said, “No.  Not Today.  Today I just want to have a poem written, customized and tailored…just for me.”

The journey continues. Stay tuned for my next post, Saturday night with InspiredWordNYC and back to the Blue Note!

Celebrating National Poetry Month (April 1st-April 4th)

Since I’ve been on a”writing” break, I decided not to do a one-poem-a-day project during National Poetry Month but I have been celebrating poetry and the arts!  The month kicked off with me going to hear a great poetry reading hosted by CSM at Otto’s Shrunken Head, a little tiki bar on the lower east side next to the corner of east 14th street and Avenue A.  It was a great reading.  The features were amazing and so were the open mic’ers.  I participated as well.  I read a piece named “A Poem for the Road”.  It has been a favorite in many venues.  

Later that night I went to hear 2 jazz legends at the Blue Note:  Stanley Clarke and Ron Carter.  Another great jazz artist, Russell Malone played with them also.  The concert was great and I enjoyed it immensely!  I visited the dressing room and met the artists.  I told Stanley Clarke about the time that we met in Warsaw, Poland.  I got his autograph and Ron Carters.  They signed the back of a note page that I had used to record notes about significant news headlines from the years 1962-1965 when I was a child growing up Greenville, South Carolina.  When I began to tell them what the jots were about, Ron Carter asked me what type of project was it?  That’s when I told them that I was a poet/writer and they began to inquire more about my work.  Of course, I was not prepared.  To all my writer friends, especially those who are new to this world like me, think about keeping a card that summarizes your art work.  You never know who you will run into.  My meeting these legends of jazz was not planned. I was actually persuaded to go and get in line to meet them by someone that I had just met at the concert!

Enough for now… My next post will cover my visit to “Poetry in Motion” at Grand Central Station, my visit to InspiredWordNYC’s 7 year Anniversary, my return to the Blue Note for the 10:30pm show and the late show afterwards.  Right now I’m going to “great weather for Media’s” Sunday afternoon poetry event.  If you are in the area and would like to join me, click the link below for details.


Hanging out at the late late late show

tonite I hung out
at the late late late show
a Brooklyn lager in hand
seated hat off stilled
eyes gripped on stage

listening to virtuosos
reminding me of my
commitment to mastery
as I listen to a young
bassist who reminded
me so of Pastorious
sultry, silky, dark
brooding in mood
striking tune
with attitude

Hemingway never
had it like this
down on Duval street

hanging out at the
late late late show

Jerry Johnson at the Blue Note,
April 2017