"Gender & Other Viruses" - Farley Upjohn

"Gender & Other Viruses [Venditto’s 1999 study of Billy-George and Certeau’s 1992 discussion of 4th-6th century discussion of ecclesiastical transvestitism]" -- Farley Upjohn

Am I myself?
Are we myself?
Or parody, or parody
of parody’s tough
realms, selves that
glance the other
over shoulders’
evaluations, vanity’s
dumb fool, holy
fool, fish-eyed fool?
Like monk Simeon [*]
I raise my skirts, disrupt
liturgies, ride whores’ backs
who flog me, I am grateful,
I play the world along.
Madness isolates me in a crowd
idiocy my confining cell
in crowds that fear yet hope
for meaning in my madness, yet
no —
I am no nostalgic absence.
I play the world along.
For though
fluxes hemorrhage beyond
changes’ bodies’ borders
chaos has its rules too,
so —
and cursed by that knowing,
I am no salos, holy fool.
I mark by my banality
conveyance’s evacuation
—what I mean is I don’t mean
anything, so diagnose me.
[*Simeon of Emesa in Syria

"Walkin to Gas Stations" - Chip

"Walkin to Gas Stations" - Chip

...My body went into Ketosis sometime Friday;
Like I can’t really sleep well anyway
but lately it’s like I’m some sort of polyphasic animal
waking every 2 to 4 hours for no apparent reason
and even though I’m a little too hyper aware of the smell of my breath
i could tell it was worse than usual for more often than normal
and according to google,
those are some signs.
And shit I’m not invested enough to go out and buy some blood test kit
Just to confirm the hypothesis
rather I’ll continue to insist that being inside this body
makes me the ultimate authority on the matter
and per usual my mind started to wonder
why I relate
too much
to characters
in movies
like Forest Gump
and to things that don’t actually seem to exist in the world
I digress
In that moment I needed to leave,
to walk the streets
8 shots of tequila deep
and pissed the fuck off from the lack of human decency
that seemingly continues to swallow me up
like I’m charging into the fucking ocean
with a pocket knife
and unaware that you can’t cut water
and Wilhelm Scream has a song called The Rip
and at the end of the verse Trevor Reilly screams in defiance
‘It’s us against millions,
And we can’t take em all,
But we can take them on ‘
And in writing that down
I still feel the tingling presence
of my god complex resting
just below the surface waiting
to step to anything
foolish enough to try and take
from someone
who doesn’t have any faith left to lose
in anyone still breathing
i mean,
It all just seems so god damn pointless
So I guess it’s no wonder I felt the urge
to exit with a quickness
Drunk or not
I didn’t give a shit about the distance
Just pissed off and needing
the type of quiet that only a long walk
alone with your thoughts can provide
and later I learned that google also says
Choo Choo’s is 2 miles from my house
but in hindsight the journey felt longer
like the time slowed
and maybe it does when you’re trapped in your mind
trying to find out how you landed in a world
you just don’t belong to
All that shit was just too heavy for me to sit with
and since I needed something to eat
I stopped in a gas station about midway to my destination
and grabbed a Gatorade and a protein bar
and walked erratically toward the register
where I encountered the only other people in the place
A clerk
and what was maybe his girlfriend,
Or soon to be ex
or perhaps they were on the brink of a breakthrough
and a reunion weighed in the balance
and i guess it was just chance that I’d be forced to interrupt
what seemed like a disagreement
and I can’t remember what exactly invited me in
but I felt compelled to send whatever slapped together syllables
I’d somehow spun together
to weigh in on the matter
and I guess whatever I said didn’t sit well with the chick
so I stood awkward
suspended in the silence
And when prompted,
I paid for my goods and
and walked toward the exit
and as I found the door
I stopped again
Looked back and said
For what it’s worth,
You only get one shot,
And I know I’d hate to be lying on my death bed
with a head full of regrets about every day I ever spent trying to be anything but fucking happy
And they just sat there, staring
Unmoved by the moment
And in that breath I found suddenly
I understood movement
And the need for feet moving forward
Even if toward nowhere
Or fucking nothing at all ”

Poems by Annabel McSpadden

Poems by Annabel McSpadden

Some late, wisteria-loose April era, Every hour moves in the trees, Gold. Wisteria: Lethargy strands, Purple’s slowest shade, Parking lot altar, Flower girl wandering In wordless proclamation - This string of days Gives itself away. Rise - sink - rise - Would you call light Hysteria If I took it in my eyes And blinded to the lies I write: Time, self, Rhymes and Pride in them? Wrap all of me but my body In wysteria. I’ll see specks of her Glinting in the golden commonality - Call her ego, Call her motes, But she’ll fade. She fades and fades.

I don’t hallucinate,
but I dream hallucinations - 
each voice a fingertip
against my eyelid,
each voice sourced
from some deep awareness. 
somewhere, I name the fear:
universes scattering as they always have,
but, this time,
letting me watch.


like two fingers per eye pressed hard enough to see lightning, I light upon sudden peace - I darken. like rain green flowers, sweet green flowers on half the tree, you suggest the branches that touch my window tell least surprising halves of stories. what would it mean to write cues on my hands, line cues like curios on the sill - cue essences, memories of essences so wonder takes no induction but constant, constant, resurrects?

"PROTEST POEM 101" - Mark Flanigan

"PROTEST POEM 101" - Mark Flanigan

Shit man, holy moly, I mean wow. 
Geezle peats, you know?

Goddamn that was good.

I needed that.


You know what I mean.  

Hot damn.

Jesus, Mary & Joseph.

I mean, you got to be kidding me.


You know what I’m saying?

Just so awesome.

Good lord.

Thanks for that.

Jiminy Frickin’ Cricket.

For real. 

(Mark Flanigan, the first featured reader at Word of Mouth in December 2009, returns to the Globe tomorrow, Wednesday January 8, for the tenth aniversary celebration. Open mic sign-up is @ 7 pm and readings begin upstairs at 8 pm.)

"The Death of Superman" - Elsa Russo

"The Death of Superman" - Elsa Russo

I don’t drink as much anymore because Superman died

If you can believe it
We had a full conversation once
In which it was decided collectively that I should never try hallucinogens
Unless there is a trusted friend there to take care of me
He volunteered to be the trusted friend
But I was not so sure how much he could be trusted
Not that he wouldn’t take care of me
But pretty sure he wouldn’t resist the temptation to mess with me

I don’t drink as much anymore because Superman died

On a rare day when I could walk downtown
During a long bout of pain and painkillers
I told him I had taken four vicodin that day
What were my chances of surviving this whiskey?
He told me my chances were good
But he kept an eye on me

I don’t drink as much anymore because Superman died

It was at the end of that bout of pain
That I heard he hadn't survived
Took a long dive that he had done a hundred times before
But this time hit the ground
I felt stupid coming to my friends with good news
But they begged me for it
Anything to ignore the fact

That we don't drink as much anymore because Superman died

Because you see the problem with being friends with Superman
Is you forget that he’s actually a human
And while he has survived this before
There is no guarantee he will again
And I forgot that
And he forgot that
We all forgot that

I don’t drink as much anymore because Wyatt died

And I am sick to death of supermen

[art by elsa russo]

"Everyone steps in a bear trap" - David Noah

"Everyone steps in a bear trap" - David Noah

Everyone steps in a bear trap,
and wears it as an anklet, painful,
invisible to the eye, but making a clanking
nevertheless, and audible even when
we speak of the stars.
Everyone bears a crown, unseen,
a hat with a hole to the sky,
a bit of panache as the world goes by,
and the light falls in, even when
we speak of the dark.

(Self-portrait by David Noah)

Saturday DECEMBER 14: Celebrate the release of "Everything Mad with Love" by Athens author, artist, poet and photographer David Noah @ Normal Books, Prince Avenue in Normaltown.
"Everything Mad With Love" is a collection of street photographs taken in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Athens, GA. The photos are unconsciously made fables sprung in an instant from the spaces in our ordinary world. Circus artists, lovers in parks, mirrors in Times Square, cement dinosaurs, and tragic pedestrians all find a home in these images. David will hold a brief chat about his book and photography and then sign books.
David Noah has been a photographer for many years and lives with his wife in Winterville, GA. He has worked as a printer, an art teacher, and an academic. His work is often included in local juried exhibits such as the yearly shows at Lyndon House and OCAF.

"Her Rage" - Aralee Strange

"Her Rage" - Aralee Strange
If anybody can save this world she’s a woman
and is she pissed
pre-fabricated domesticated deformed and suppressed
underdressed depressed obsessed with herself
seduced made ashamed and treacherous
made less.
She will raise her voice in hallelujiah!
she will raise her eyes and equal to
she will raise her fists if she needs to
she will know how.
And she will ask:
How if we waste the children who will lead us
shall we endure?
Why must they atone for the sins of the fathers
who sacrifice to their false gods all life
for the sake of pride and poor judgement
for who owns what
who own nothing
who know nothing
who would have us murder and destroy
them and how many of us
to save face
to prove whose god is great
who owns the night
whose mighty fist is biggest?
And she will say:
Let my will be done
for a change
my ways my means
my benevolence my praise
my rage
my rage.

Aralee Strange was the founder and guiding light of Word of Mouth. The first open mic was held upstairs at the Globe on December 2, 2009. Aralee, a poet and playwright, was born on December 5, 1943 in Macon, Georgia, from where at a young age she moved to Birmingham, Alabama. After living and working in Atlanta, Georgia, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City, Aralee then settled for more than twenty years in Cincinnati, Ohio. In March 2007, she moved to Athens, Georgia, and lived there until her passing on June 15, 2013.
THE ROAD ITSELF, the first collection of her work, was published in October 2018 by Dos Madres Press in Cincinnati and is available here.
"The Road Itself rambles through a singular poet’s life and distills the world through her unflinching gaze; its author taking her own measure and the world’s without romantic filters. A 2 a.m. prophet, Strange declares to America, the mean and beautiful, I am an alarm clock / and I am ringing. Even so, there is the medicine of dirt and train song; there is the bandoneon and the saxophone; there is Strange, inviting you, step into the center / shall we dance?” In her life, Aralee drew a circle wherever she lit and pulled in poets from every which way." - Michelle Castleberry 

[Photo of Aralee by Bob Brussack]