If you want to become a genius first you must be born. Then you must sojourn in Paris. Perhaps that sounds easy, and you are thinking that you too might become a genius but that’s just sound. The truth is many papers must be filled out. All geniuses have a gift for paperwork. This is well documented. The paperwork, completed by the genius in a neat hand, arrives gracefully upon the grumpy desks of the right official people. These official people are then free to reject your papers but do not because you use the word arrive. If you are a genius your papers will not be lost or thrown away but will continue to circulate indefinitely as they should. Neat handwriting is highly prized in France. In France school children with bad handwriting are consistently failed because their minds are clearly disorganized. You should make handwriting a daily practice. Then you should go directly to the Louvre. Fortunately the Louvre is located conveniently close to the Prefecture de Police. To become a genius you must go to the Louvre once a month and visit the same rooms. You are free to choose which rooms but those rooms should include several from the Italian Renaissance. French is a nice language to speak when you’re not learning Italian. In fact many Italian geniuses speak it at parties in Paris. To become a genius in Paris you must attend many parties at which no fewer than four languages are spoken. When asked d’où venez-vous? you must not admit to being American even if this is true. Otherwise you could be placed as a curiosity item in the Louvre. When leaving the Louvre, party or metro, make certain no creepy men follow you. Creepy men are not geniuses despite appearances and the long and sad history of genius. If on the metro a creepy man sits too close to you do not be afraid. Simply say est-ce qu’on peut avoir un peu de place? and look offended. Everyone in France watches football and so should you. When France plays do not say allez les bleus! That’s going too far. It’s true you may need some money to become a genius. It’s true that if you are not wealthy then you will have to work won’t you. Perhaps you can develop a thrifty lifestyle. Baguettes cost one euro each. If you make 740 euros a month that’s 740 baguettes. Do not be afraid to take hundreds of pictures of La Tour Eiffel. All geniuses understand why every day hundreds of pictures are taken of La Tour Eiffel. La Tour Eiffel resembles both a pretty penis and a fancy lady with four legs and frilly underpants. Once I read a book about the gender of genius. It was interesting but unimportant. All geniuses know the difference between interesting and important. As in, that sentence may not be interesting but it’s important. Or, this poem is not important but interesting. Or, becoming a genius is neither interesting nor important. You get the idea. Many geniuses however do not or at least not right away so write until they do.

"THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. NOTLEY" by Laura Solomon was published online at Everyday Genius. Solomon is the featured reader at Word of Mouth on Wednesday, September 2 upstairs at The Globe. Open mic sign up is at 7 pm, and reading begins at 8 pm.

Word of Mouth September 2: Laura Solomon

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Open mic sign-up 7 pm

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"The End of Patience" - Alx Johns

"The End of Patience" - Alx Johns

The crock pot is staring straight ahead,
with a fat, shell-shocked face:

logo eyes, nose of knob set on low,
brain of lean beef,
cooking slow.

Electric poet of
metal and clay skull.

Me, I'm made of
what you're thinking is meat,

my brain the fatty part, perhaps made more
interesting by the fact 

that I'm interpreting
cooking like this,

and that I once considered for hours  
which part of myself I would eat first
if I were starving to death.

I settled on my uncommon calves.

Slow cooked,

they could supply 
loads of protein.

"The Mourning of Three Wasps" - Gregory de Rocher

"The Mourning of Three Wasps" - Gregory de Rocher

The first one buzzed
all around me, wildly, in crazed orbits,
even after I gently shooed it away.

I was filing the top of an ill-fitting door
so Françoise could press into service the old cupboard,
which had since become useless.

The wine-colored wasp closed its tight circles
and stung me behind the knee
where my Bermudas offered no protection.

I swatted it down to the deck and stomped,
once, yet again, to make sure,
and returned to my filing, happy to be useful around the house.

Then I saw it.

A walnut-sized nest with a lone wasp
perched in a determined six-legged stance
on its papery flower anchored to the cabinet wall.

What to do?  Let Françoise do the dirty work?
I severed the sole foot supporting the nest.
It fell to the shelf, but the wasp

clung, all the more determined, to its threatened home.
Another swipe of my rasp whisked it out of the cabinet and onto the
My shoe delivered another fatal blow.

But when I lifted my foot, sorrow swelled my throat.
I saw a single tiny egg oozing from its swaddling
the two wasps had been hell-bent to safeguard. 

Featured reader: LIFE THE GRIOT

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First Wednesday of every month, 8pm


"There Will Be Shelter" - Emily Katherine

This month Word says goodbye to Emily Katherine, who starts a new chapter of her life in Asheville. Good luck, Emily -- come back and see us! (Photo by David Noah)

"There Will Be Shelter" - Emily Katherine

1. The day my mother told me there are some things I shouldn’t tell her
I became a woman.
She said some things were too painful and the sharing of them only made her worry
and then made me worry about her worrying and it was a cycle we could forget
with closed mouths and throats that hummed instead of sang.
I didn’t stop telling her things.
But I stopped being oblivious to effect of my words

2. They say you will step over many bodies if you walk this road,
they say at first it won’t get better, but it might get different,
that if you can believe in change, even for 5 minutes at a time, you have a chance.
I remember standing in a circle of held hands the day I had 102 days clean
my face uplifted like a received blessing
the press of calloused flesh to my tender palm a benediction
I remember the first time I could go to the laundromat without being afraid of running into my past
and the way my name began to fall from other mouths like it was welcome there and not just a bad taste
I will never forget my unrelated brother and the day he died,
the wind whipped up from the lake so fast it could be felt from NY to Georgia
His smile is a wrinkle on my heart now

3. There are easy rules to follow too, if easy is what you are looking for
– don’t google your symptoms. ever
– don’t weigh yourself, your body is more than the sweet tug of gravity and anyway, God, doesn’t it feel good to be anchored to the world now?
– sing in the shower, in the car, while making dinner – give your throat every chance to practice forming sound and rhythm so that when you need it, your voice will ring out like a true bell
– and never give up
– just don’t

4. When I was 17, I wrote a list of ways I would stop apologizing for my presence
I didn’t know then that my body was already forming question marks over every word
that to stop saying sorry meant learning a new language
putting these bones to new use, digging these bones into the ground like tent poles
staking out my territory in the flesh landscape I was given
and learning to be grateful for every hill and valley that can be used to shelter you
I didn’t know that you needed refuge too
I didn’t know refuge could be a ship setting sail for new lands
look, we have come up to the top deck and even now, I can see the future spread out
like shiny lights in the distance

5. These are the ways I can be shelter
This woman that I am, this stitched together tongue, this humming throat
rubbed raw from finding harmony in the silence
This square hand I have, linked like a circuit breaker to my heart
go ahead, grab it, let this be rule 6: there is never a wrong time to reach out
no reason too good or bad, big or small.
These are the ways I can be shelter
the way I remember my brother who didn’t get to live to see the disease shaken
the stories I still tell about my chosen sons, that I gave freely back to the world
the poems I have written for my unborn daughter
and the way I have strung hope like Christmas lights around the entrance to my heart
and written messages to the future saying “be better’
This is how I am shelter
how I have swung the doors wide open, sifted sunlight through my ribs
built a safe room out of my arms and put them around you
sang every lullaby I knew into the phone until even the static on the other end of the line
hummed along
laid my body in the shape of a comma next to yours,
so that you didn’t have an excuse to end the sentence
told you “don’t you ever stop telling me things.”