"Journey to Embarkation" - Bob Ambrose

"Journey to Embarkation" - Bob Ambrose
Midnight rains have stopped for now
and veils of mist envelop trees. Soft
textures of darkness hover beyond
        the pale reach of streetlight
that bathes the last bus stop
                out of Daejeon.

Late night truths come veiled in signs.
A white dog emerges from shadow,
makes his mark then passes on
        and leaves me emptied
on the path of pilgrims now
                at peace with night.

Though dawn lies distant, far beyond
my closed horizons bright midmorning
showers light, I must have faith  
        for here I am, wayfaring
stranger, watching forms
                in drifts of fog.

Too soon the rains will return
and the lullaby tap of wipers
will sooth intermittent sleep
        through the last
empty hours of night
                in a far country,

And my bus will plow steady
to causeway’s end
beyond the mudflats
        where sea and sky
merge, gray and indistinct
                at Incheon.

My brothers, we are bodies
becoming spirit, forever drifting 
mid-transit. We are always
        awaiting embarkation.
We have always already
Journey to Embarkation is published by Parson's Porch Books and is Bob Ambrose's first collection of poetry. Bob's website is Reflections in Poetry. All profits from Parson's Porch Books are shared with the poor.

"Just Another Vigil" - Charley Seagraves


"Just Another Vigil" - Charley Seagraves

Just another sad, sad vigil
where the pious pray
that all this will someday end,
and the names of the dead are read,
and candles are lit,
and tears are shed,
and there is a moment of deafening silence
as we stand, conflicted, confused,
seething with anger
at yet another act of horrific violence.

Just another day of grief and sadness
as we mourn together
acts of hubris and insanity,
mindless madness
that gnaws away at our humanity,
and we cry out into the abyss,
or appeal to the Creator,
numb, our hearts breaking,
knowing there will be yet another vigil
sooner rather than later.

REMINDER: Word of Mouth returns to Wednesday in July!

returns to
in JULY!
The next open mic
will be
sign-up for open mic
at 7 PM
readings begin at 8 PM
July's featured reader:
Greg de Rocher

REMINDER: Word of Mouth returns to Wednesday in July!

returns to
in JULY!
The next open mic
will be
sign-up for open mic
at 7 PM
readings begin at 8 PM
July's featured reader:
Greg de Rocher

"Outdoor Lecture on Locust Husks" - Gregory de Rocher


"Outdoor Lecture on Locust Husks" - Gregory de Rocher 

Observe that, to molt, cicadas pick pine bark.
Try to hear the atrophied shells crack with glee during the din.
You will notice that, unlike the massive and elastic films
Clouding and covering human speech,
These fragile chambers vibrate with precision
Long after the flight of the soul to greening groves.
Singleton discovered that their renascent voices
Rehearse again and again this same raspy tale while,
By some natural accord, the marooned hulls, still,
Still register strains recalling our own spirit,
Unable to keep its place because it learned
There is dear little hope of molting
When the skeleton is within.

Gregory de Rocher is July's featured reader at Word of Mouth, Wednesday July 6. Open mic sign-up is at 7 pm and readings begin at 8 pm upstairs at The Globe, corner of Clayton and Lumpkin Streets in downtown Athens.

"The victim dreams of you in his doorway" - Zach Mitcham

"The victim dreams of you in his doorway" - Zach Mitcham


You stole from the man's old home place,

repeatedly, like water eroding land's soft tissue,

copper wiring pulled from walls, the trail

of the refrigerator in the dirt, like a big animal

dragging itself to the woods to die. You hauled

his dead old Chevy to have it crushed for scrap metal,

the wind knocked out of the cab, where the faces

of his first son and his best dog lived passenger-side

in the oily dust air.

So he waited for you.

His wife urged him not to, but he took a blanket

and pillow and put the pistol on a night table by the sofa,

where he slept and spread pimento cheese on wheat bread

with a butter knife, picnics of solitude ending

with a bullwhip lifted, put back down, lifted again,

country quiet, cicadas, rain's fingers on the tin roof,

religion of the long surprise, little routines

like a cross gesture over the chest, life or death.

He rose and washed, kept his hair combed,

breath fresh, wrinkles steamed away, measured his heart rate

and made a game of ever lower against the wait,

felt it was not about property, but everything else,

became better because of you, a wall to lean against.

His fence gate made no clank.

But lost meat buzzed in your empty bone,

which was a pipe scraped of marrow, your teeth sucked

loose in the gum, stored poisons tasted in the gaps.

You were the fog over wet grass but angular as a cave painting,

points tumbling over themselves toward a poking.

And when your fingers rode up the door chain,

you could hear him asleep. His presence was the gift, like darkness itself

chuckling with you, lips licked on an upturn. Not property anymore.

Not that kind of drug, some other pilot light at your brain stem,

your gasses put to flame.

But you didn't hear the bee. It's little wings

moved too fast for a swat. And when his hands came clear through the dark,

you also drew, both of you in the doorway at sunrise, or perhaps it was sunset.

You just saw the light baking behind trees as your trigger finger twitched

long past use, a mouth severed from its body, still biting.
Photo: "Ball," Ben Gulyas

"Absinthe" - Collin Kelley

"Absinthe" - Collin Kelley 
I smuggled home the green bottle
before the planes hit, before your
luggage was strewn across tables
like an airport rummage sale.
All the way from a dusty shop
on a West End side street, wrapped
in a plain brown bag like pornography
or a wino’s favorite meal.
I do not remember how it smelled,
but we cut the bitter with the sweet
by pouring it over a sugar cube.
Certainly this vintage would not
transport us like it did Latrec and
those haunted women adrift in the
cafes of Paris.
But you see, I was already adrift
and I hoped this momentary hit of
wormwood would help me reach the shore.
Yet another boy has cast me out to sea
with no oars and not a lighthouse in sight.
If this shimmering emerald fire would
light the way, then I would drink the
whole bottle, let it run down my chin
and lick the bitterness of my scarred
fingers. They are tired of putting you
back together, I am tired of putting you
back together.
The absinthe has a delayed effect.
I am in the back seat of a car, becoming
one with the upholstery, swimming in
the louche.
I had three glasses, enough to open
a window of clarity and when you came
to the window I see you as everyone
else does and that you blur at the edges
and soon you will fade all together.
But once the drink wears off, I will be
back in the boat, lost in the fog,
the empty bottle rolling at my feet.

"Absinthe" originally appeared February 2012 online in Lily. Art: "Still Life With Absinthe," Vincent Van Gogh, 1887.