06/28/14 12:00pm
06/28/2014 12:00 PM
LeRoy Heyliger, grandfather of Mattituck Junior High student Justin McKinney, reads his grandson's poem "I am" as the event's organizer, Susan Dingle, holds Justin's artwork.

LeRoy Heyliger, grandfather of Mattituck eight-grader Justin McKinney, reads his grandson’s poem “I am” as Poetry Street organizer, Susan Dingle, holds Justin’s artwork. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

When Joseph Milbauer saw an opportunity to snag the top spot to perform at Poetry Street, an open mic session held last Sunday at Blue Duck Bakery and Cafe in Riverhead, he quickly jotted his name down.

This would be the first time Mr. Milbauer, 24, would read his poetry in public.

“I signed up on the list first because I didn’t think I would have to follow anyone,” the Riverhead resident said before reading his poem, “Round One,” a personal tale about his dark past and how he overcame a “year of screw-ups.”

But Mr. Milbauer was actually the second person to read. Not only that, he ended up having to follow poet and community advocate Robert “Bubbie” Brown of Riverside, who kicked off the event and then gave two encores.