First reading in Twenty Years

microphone on a stage

Suffern Poetry hosts an Open Mic in the community room, on the top floor of Suffern’s Village Hall. Rows of chairs, separated by one aisle, lead to the “stage”—an open space at the front of the room, facing the audience. A counter separates the main room from a small kitchenette. Florescent lights in a soft ceiling drown the room in light—unlike the performance lighting at Casa Del Sol, where the group hosts its monthly Poetry Slam.


poets’ hard breathing    the drone of air conditioners


Bryan, the founder and MC, calls my name. I follow a Binghamton slam poet that performed a brilliant, comic poem. Making eye contact with the back row, I breathe, then begin.


Three poems. Their stories arise with a life of their own. I deliver them all—to genuine, enthusiastic applause.


flushed face    Mira’s hands shaping a heart


Photo by Ilyass SEDDOUG

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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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