"A Welcome Break from Eternity" - Alx Johns



"A Welcome Break from Eternity" - Alx Johns


The monastery dared gravity leaning off the cliff. 
The building itself 
was an act of faith, 
tree-limb triangles 
supporting floors and walls
floor pallets, pots and pans,
manuscripts, relics, and 
some men,accessible only 
by a miserable, many-mile 
trek up a never-ending incline
in the never-blind blazing sun;
or god forbid the ropes
hanging like petrified tears
down the crags to the rocky 
coast a mile below.  Having
opted for the former, I stood 
breathless and sweating
in the entry way for 
what seemed like 
forever before a figure finally 
descended the stairs,
seemed to float
with ghost grace,
a black robe broken
only by gauzy whisps 
of beard. He smiled 
for too long, then observed, 
“You are American. I lived in America many, many 
years in the past. How did things work out for that Richard Nixon guy?”

(photo by David Noah, 2013)

Four poems - David Oates






so quickly 
black beard with gray 
now gray with black 

-----

back pain
doctor says
you've got O.L.D.

-----

hockey game
the zamboni has a driver
and a waver

-----

his ab exercises
every time a young girl
comes near


David Oates is the host of "Wordland" every Sunday at 8 pm on WUGA-FM. He also hosts Wordmusic, a spoken word and music open mic monthly, at Hendershot's, 7:30 pm tonight and every third Wednesday.(photo by David Noah, 2013)

"Sydney Johnson: Epitaph" / "Pigs Feet" - Sam Lane





These two poems recall the "lynching rampage of 1918" in which Mary Turner, 20, and Sydney Johnson were two of 13 victims killed in Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia. Mary Turner, pregnant, was burned and hanged on May 19. There is a commemoration on the site of her murder held yearly in Hahira, where the state marker above was erected in 2010. More can be read at the Remembering Mary Turner page, which contains graphic information, violent images, and adult language.  






"Sydney Johnson: Epitaph" - Sam Lane

The south Georgia heat is dizzy clouds of flies
And drunk wasps banqueting on overripe
rows of unpicked rot sweating alcohol.

Desperate landowners use the law to relieve 
labor shortages. Black men plucked off the streets
to pick blueberries, watched by cruel men.

Hamilton Smith bonded a nineteen year old 
dice man for thirty dollars. Sydney Johnson, 
with abuse too much to bear

a fever that wouldn't break. Sydney slept
crumpled like an empty burlap
while the fields turned to swill.  

"Nigger's get beat on Hamilton Smith's land,
for sleeping" the whip handler named himself.
A whip's snap. A gun's crack, an instant ran

through Sydney like a knife. Suddenly he felt hot
and unsafer than before. He broke berries
running, his tender lungs drowned on humid air.

The law found Hamilton cold, empty holstered 
and Sydney 12 days later on Troup Street. 
He died after Hamilton’s gun had emptied;

Butchers wanted to treat his corpse like gristle
but no one could touch him. His skin froze theirs,
Threatened to brittle the houses, and the rope

around his neck while they drug his body bare
for twenty miles on foot. Sydney softened. Skin rubbed
off until he polished and shone glorious.

The mob trudged on with the rope taught:
like Elijah's flaming horses
they had no idea they pulled a comet. 



"Pigs Feet"

The familiar moon looks pale, like a cornbread
taken out too soon. Pig bones slip and squeak 
Against the dog’s teeth, While white Vinegar is exhaled
and inhaled, The two fall asleep.

They fell asleep, facing away from each other 
—filling each other chests, rubbing feet— 
not knowing that it was to keep each other
Awake, to keep the day from seeping 
into the night like the beans in the kitchen
soaking for tomorrows dinner.

So instant was the morning that the sun punched
a hole into the sky, so fast that the they could hear
the blue disk hit the ground, and wobble like a coin
before settling in the the tingling red dust.

In echo they woke up, sweating. He breathed her neck,
She his elbow. Mary had kicked the blanket
off so she could wrap herself in him until
it was time to rise to go to work.

They peeled apart with the small sound skin
separating when it doesn’t want to. 

"S'Ain't" For Carl Lindberg - Michelle Castleberry





"S'Ain't" - Michelle Castleberry
For Carl Lindberg

Pedestal’s too high.
One gets dizzy 
and winded,
head-achy from squinting
to make out the faces below.

A saint, I ain’t.
I like to know
and be known
but let’s 
go
slow.
Some knowledge
is better adagio.

I am a fallen ladder
made of mud and music.
I need a lift
and a downbeat.

Oh brothers and sisters,
my dark side shows
and the light part glows.
Here we all are
part devil, part star.
Can we say
we’ll see
with gentle eyes?

Namaste, y’all.

Take me down 
from your shoulders.
Even that height’s too high.
Besides, it makes it hard
to reach my bass.
Makes it hard to look 
into your face.
And I need to see your eyes
to get a lift
and a downbeat.

Ah-one, two, 
ah-one-two-three-and……….

Video: "To Go To Patagonia - poems from the far lands" - Bob Ambrose


Thanks to Matt DeGennaro and Surprisingly Professional Productions, here is video of May's Word of Mouth featured reader, Bob Ambrose. [The Globe, May 6, 2015]. 

"Bed (No Longer a Battleground, But a Resting Place)" - Jay Morris





"Bed (No Longer a Battleground, But a Resting Place)" - Jay Morris


"They call it night. 
They call it night.
And I know it well." -- Beirut, Gulag Orkestar 

I am grinding down the bones of my hands into salt
I am spreading them around the frame of my bed
Watching them drift slowly 
With the feathers of my pillow
In the light of the pale winter moon
Invoking angels and night-whisperers
To weave protection songs around the frame of 
my bed and reinforce the lattices of my fragile hopes
To ward off the threats that pervade in the night hours
When it's so dark that even God 
(or the suggestion of God)
must strain his eye to see
Me a pillar of salt at his bronze feet

Give me a sign
That the sky 
Will not open up to swallow me whole
That tomorrow is not just a bridge
To another tomorrow that is not just 
a bridge to another tomorrow that is 
not just a bridge to another tomorrow.....

The marrow in my bones
Is rich with the anticipation
Of the ritual burn 
Of the clairvoyant candle
Darting out like a serpentine tongue
of flame to lap up some ripple of the future
With me epicentral to this extrasensory event
Shaking anxious and aware like a conscientious earthquake
Regretting its own aftershock

Give me a sign
That the Earth is not a jealous lover
Waiting to take me back under
And turn my bones into fountain fodder
So I can enjoy this affair with life
For what it is, as long as possible
With no specter perched on my shoulder
Whispering doom disguised as pessimist's truth
So that every victory feels like someone let me win

I am grinding down my bones into salt
My feather pillows into angel appeal
For a breath of fresh air
And a hope that is fragile and enduring.


(photo by Michelle Castleberry)

"To Go to Patagonia" - Bob Ambrose





"To Go to Patagonia" - Bob Ambrose

Some truths hover
just past the point of perception
and pass into knowing
gradual as gray dawn

Grows from blue-black nights
to gentle winter days in Georgia
singing frost and white camellia,
silver age and pale regret:

You’ll never go to Patagonia
never trek the tortured plain
to breathe the bracing air of Andes
blowing off the icy sea.

You’ll never see auroras dance
unless by chance coronas leap
and sear the Southern sky with fire
an hour before your time of sleep.

You’ll go no more to Mykenos
nevermore return to youth
to stride the sands of Paradise
while clothed in fresh Aegean air.

Some truths lie
harmless as hibernating vipers
that wake on warm days
to feed on minds that give them life.

But winter afternoons can glow
as silver yields to tones of gold
and old camellias burst in color –
so it is with elder souls

Who step beyond belief and doubt,
and freed at last of empty strife
embrace the wondrous, fallen world
which harbors grace within the shadows.

From this veil I would chase truths
past the far end of perception
where they flit, unformed
above a lonely Patagonia

Where somehow, surely
amidst the sun-drenched daydreams of God
my doppelgänger draws near
the Torres del Paine.


Bob Ambrose is the featured reader at tonight's Word of Mouth upstairs at The Globe.Open mic begins at 8 pm, sign-up at 7. (Photo: Cuernos del Paine from Lake Peho√©, Patagonia).