The most homey and friendliest open mic/reading around is Tebot Bach's monthly gathering at Golden West College. This is a group of honest to God poetry enthusiasts, publishers and philanthropists who take poetry to the underprivileged, prisoners, the homeless all around Southern California and publish a lovely assortment of poetry collections, staging these monthly readings.
They meet in a run-down, dark, and chilly community hall at Golden West, in Huntington Beach. One can barely see the poems she is reading, but the spirit is strong, if the light isn't.
Last night, two readers, Tony Barnstone, who I had heard read previously at Casa Romantica, a venue of a completely different sort, and Brian Michael Tracy, a poet who said he had stopped writing poems, much as I had, for a long period, and was brought back into it by a spiritual awakening involving yoga.
The two were completely different in mood--Tracy dark and intense, Barnstone, though he read some very graphically violent, even gross works, essentially light and full of showmanship. His showstoppers, some of which I have heard before, were a series of double sonnets based on Tarot Cards. I can't wait till the illustrations are done (and the poems too) and he publishes them, as a pack of Tarot cards, he says. I will certainly want to own a copy. He is also a noted translator of Chinese poetry, erotic and otherwise, an extremely intelligent and gifted writer.
I read two yoga poems. Usually, the regulars in Tebot Bach praise my writing and invite me to have tea after the reading, but this time, they seemed restrained, puzzled. Clearly, these yoga poems, though they are the best things I have done and I chose what I saw as the best of the best, are divisive. I won't let that stop me in my effort to get them out there.