"Spirit-You-All" - Ciera Durden

A friend asks me, “Have you told your mother you’re an atheist?” the same day
My lover tells me one of her co-workers informed her she was going to Hell. 
A strange too-spiritual coincidence, with me sitting at a desk littered with river-stones,
A Bible (for reference),
A bottle of Merlot (for reference),
The truth of the matter is I want to be an atheist but can’t
Even if my god is no salt pillar God,
No drowned world God.
No sixty-six chapters of wrath God,
Nothing with capitalization
But just god, or goddess,

She-he-they is, some days,
A well-meaning mother
Who stands beside the sink filled with dishes, the phone cradled to her ear,
Listening night after night to her weary daughter whisper about
The days unraveling and the waves come washing.

Some days, a magician with a mean streak
Who presents to me, in the worst moments, with me demanding the end of times,
Friendships and good mornings and, damn him,
The kindness of strangers,

My god is your god in drag,
Laughs loudly, dancing in a dim room with a suit and tie and deep, dark lipstick,
Confuses strangers, stands close, entices,

My god is the god your god drives through to get home in the rain,
Wind-shield wipers broken and lightning under the wheels,
Car filled with muttered cursing
And praying,

My god is the god who gets drunk with me, slurs after the sixth shot,
“Hell, I think, is a simple answer
To a question you don’t even know the language of,”
The same night they stand over my bent head, carefully watching
As all of the spirits pour out of me. 

"Saint George Island Lies" - Gregory de Rocher

Saint George Island lies
south of the Florida Panhandle's coast, where
the incoming waves arrive from a distant vanishing point.
It is a place of pure loss: gulls winging their way to it

Somewhere out there trawls the Brenda Darlene,
hoisting her nets like wet green skirts,
coaxing drowned seamen back to life; She even seems to be
sharing this unbelievable moment with the binocular sentinel, who
frozen and therefore motionless on Saint George Island's only jetty, 
wants more than anything to believe it is finally and indeed She

he is holding fast against his retinae.
When he is almost certain his catch is binding,
the pawl suddenly shatters, the ratchet wheel spins wildly, and, 
once again, all is lost.

Many are the sentinels who, overlooking the multicolored shells
lying, shameless, along this never-ending shoreline,
choose, rather, to post themselves on this lonely jetty
in the hopes that sometime soon they too might be fortunate enough
to catch a glimpse of the Brenda Darlene.

Gregory de Rocher, remembering Richard Lockwood, 1951-2005

"More Guns" - Charley Seagraves

"MORE GUNS" - Charley Seagraves

More guns, more guns
for our daughters and our sons,
more guns, more guns
for Pope Francis and his nuns.

More guns, more guns,
more guns for the NRA,
more guns, more guns,
more guns for the KKK.

More guns for our saloons,
more guns in all our schools,
more guns for thugs and goons,
more guns for clowns and fools.

More guns for daycare centers,
more guns for churches too,
more guns for saints and sinners,
more guns for me and you.

More guns for Sarah Palin,
more guns for Sly Stallone,
more guns for Eddie Van Halen,
more guns for Al Capone.

More guns for Nikki Haley,
more guns for Nathan Deal,
more guns for Beetle Bailey,
more guns for Bobby Seale.

More guns for the Turks and Caicos,
more guns for the Congolese,
more guns for the Philippinos,
more guns for the Japanese.

More guns for Algeria,
more guns for Bethlehem,
more guns for France and Syria,
more guns for Vietnam.

A Luger for every cougar,
A Berreta for Loretta (Lynn),
A Benelli for Liza Minnelli,
A Glock for Mr. Spock.

More Glocks, more Glocks
to protect our argyle socks,
more Glocks, more Glocks,
for all our nerds and all our jocks.

A gun for everyone, indeed,
I've known it all along,
the more we have the more we need,
what could possibly go wrong?

©2014 Charley Seagraves

[photo: Atlanta, GA gun shop, 2010]

"the myth i heard" - John Wares

John Wares is this month's featured reader at Word of Mouth, tomorrow night upstairs at the Globe. Open mic begins at 8 p.m. "the myth i heard" was originally posted August 2012.

"the myth i heard" - John Wares

where crayfish grab and moan, the tracks dust into planted grass, the town seeps through spring down hill and invisibly into old mudded oconee, nothing moves fast until well past the mill now with white coats and plastic boards looking over the explosion of a once-held river the crustaceans bury deep under the dumpsters, under the furniture and the copper-coiled cold heyday fountain, a delight into a glass bottle and now only rumored, and into the mountain we call town once tracks dug through bricked hills, the well-dressed students clung to brass rail, up down clayton street, i’m sure the buildings still held whiskey, beer, probably then no asian food, no pita, no burrito, only american here. 

bells rang, alumni sang, the town was then already old, and pavers came with hot machines to change the roads for fords, chevys, trucks of boxes, filled with shoes, cases of cold drinks, the lines were drawn and the street as parking lot moved on. 

though climate shed its waters to southern stages, and mussels disappeared, leaving few traces, the hangers left, the mills shut
down, the buttons were scattered to the altamaha and asia, but the tracks were there down the street, pulled by cables electric and taut, the trolleys had pulled over hollowed out cavern of shipments and boxes and sidewalk elevators, and a network grew under this small town, forgotten and dark. 

it is told that the mayor has a key, and the cages by city hall deny not entry to restrooms or a jail, but to the hub of how it worked, halls by which freed men lit candles, and the early music played long and hard. 

the subterranean streets, as chicago and new york, as rome and paris, are there, and now fill with water, delight in the river, 
the boats that cold go scraping the ceiling as trucks hum delivery

on hot days the asphalt weeps the past, a fog rises just as we wake, nobody knows it is more than the nights drink moving on. 
the one other entrance, past clanged horizontal flat door and the icecubed glass of the street, beyond rye bar and cobbled wall shown
mercy for effect of the life that was, a building elicits the entry to the history of athens, and how it did sail, how the Wuxtry did finally sail! 

the mystery builds there: corner shop untold, boxes of vinyl and heavy bass, lifted above by flapping light pages, donald duck the most shredded and old in the wind, soon to be unread, passed along to prefer the more recent fabrics of comics, graphic novels, and the occasional flagpole - the weekly - hung to dry in the breeze of oconee. 

the shreds filter down to the water, the crayfish, the muddy river, the lake beyond, the hills of dead, the lounging student leaning head on oak tree, girlfriend by knee well-keeled the building does float, and who knew? it is the ship held by harbor in a town afloat a hill, eddied downstream from the piedmont, the stony end of appalachia, the woods holding the current. 

any of this could change. the building could sink, any day. 
as the drought builds, the records must sell, ballast beyond the mass of the comics above, the lined heroes, the buxom sidekick, 
the aghast tale of adolescence re-told in dark ink and extravagant face or stipple. but today the Wuxtry sails, you’ll see.

(Photo by Michelle Castleberry.)

"At Night Like A Hothouse" / "The Ambulance Howls" - David Noah

"At Night Like A Hothouse" - David Noah

At night like a hothouse I dream orchids.
Under a sheet, under the sky, under a spell,
I cup my ear to the door
(beyond that door another door)
and listen to my dreams tell me
what it means to wake up.
While on the other side of the door
someone else listens to my heart beat
and refuses, from compassion, to speak. 

"The Ambulance Howls" - David Noah

The ambulance howls
high and long—it’s on the scent.

We pull over and crouch
like terrified gazelles by the roadside.

Let it pass by.
Let it find some other tragic avenue.

Let it sniff around the alleys
in another part of town.

Let it turn the corner on a far road
where I don’t love anyone.

Let it hunt in the dead ends,
in the hidden cul-de-sacs,

on the abandoned boulevards
where weeds crack the pavement.

No one I know lives on that street.
Everyone I know lives on that street.

(image: "Study for the Human Body," Francis Bacon, 1950)

"The Mother We Share" - Jay Morris

"The Mother We Share" - Jay Morris

As you breathe and crackle
With the fires of creation
Spontaneously combusting
Into greater circles of life
Walking in your orbit
Like you own the sky
A crown of brilliant light
Circled around your head
Waves of air bending hazy and obedient
To the authority of your solar sovereignty

And I, the lesser twin
Born from the cosmic trauma
Of celestial violence
Waxing and waning
Manic and depressive
Stumbling heavy and strange in my orbit
You own the sky, but I visit it
As the extradited thief of a greater light
I use to spin my halo of a lesser gold
Waves of water bending tidal and taunting
To the wavering rule of a lost and lunar king

And if we come from the same womb,
Why do you see life so free, and I see it as a tomb?
If we do indeed have a mother that we share,
Why do I see life as a chore, and you see it as a dare?

Do you love me, brother?

(photo by Michelle Castleberry)

"A Prayer of June in Green and Brown" - Bob Ambrose

"A Prayer of June in Green and Brown" - Bob Ambrose

To be present at creation
and wander deep time
weightless as the moment itself,
for eternity is an inbreath

of early June evening,
when life hums a low note
and late sun filters softness
through darkening shade;

or the pool of morning,
when buzz-trill and chirp-call
weave the tree tops, waking
whole days; or in the still-breath,

when slant yellow renders
shades of green to veins of gold
and the nervous house wren
pauses on a porch rail

regarding options.
He fans a tiny wing,
darts eyes, twitches
twice, flies. Action

breaks the idle spell, restores
the world to green and brown.
I do not trust a golden throne
guarded by pearl encrusted

gates. Just give me Now
in my outbreath and God
in the garden, trailing
dew beads to a new solstice.

(Photo by Michelle Castleberry, June 2014)