The other featured reader -- previous to me -- was a 12 (13?)-year-old boy (I only remember his last name being Jacobs -- maybe someday he'll famous), a prodigy of sorts, who had actually published two chapbooks of quite passable haikus. His performance was remarkably self-assured, well-orchestrated and within the time limit. He deserved his warm applause.
The open set was more or less typical. One very striking sound-poetry-ish performance, a lot of well-meant but hackneyed phrases and triteness.
What to do with triteness? (It's gotta be the worst -- that's why so many better poets take quick leave...)
Maybe transcribe the phrases and turn them into a poem. A poem consisting entirely of cliches that nevertheless manages to be refreshing. (There's a challenge.) Or tap, really tap, with all the sympathy you can muster, into the underlying impulse -- there's nearly always some worthwhile impulse down there trying to get out -- and make a poem that fulfills that impulse.
It's the creative thob of all those unfulfilled, underlying impulses that makes listening to an open mike an affirmative experience. (Not to mention, of course, the rare striking performance...)
In my previous post about the Francisco Santos publication, first two of my three links on Norberto Salinas now don't work, although they did when I put them up. Maybe they will again. Intriguing.