Andrew Mandell @Word of Mouth, Dec. 2, 2009

Hive Collapse Disorder by Andrew Mandell

The sun is going down, beautiful winged sister
But you will not look towards the hive this night
This night, spread out in an isolation only fate
and the wind can so majestically conduct,
you and yours will spill a testament into the wet grass

Alone in her chamber a queen will wander
out into the desert beyond hierarchy, and die
I will stay with you for a while.
Tell me of empty combs
I will tell you of powerless words

Companera, Stalin no longer trembles at what we write upon the walls

Clean shaven, five blades deep,Patting heads
Your honey dripping from his upturned corners
He greets us with an acquiescent smile

We have forgotten how to worry power

Entrenched by the lion tamers and the bakers of the State
they have begun to ink "Forever" into the chest of this market

And we know

You and I know

We cannot grow in that forever

I will pass this night with you sister
Until you whisper deep surrender into the soil
Though it is hard to see you end
Your rage unspent
Your sting- bayonet sharp- unused

When you have passed and the dawn comes I will go back
I am not ready to lay with you just yet
Rage unspent
Words- bayonet sharp- unused

broadside by Ben Gulyas

broadside by Ben Gulyas

by Bob Brussack

Of all the billions of frames of my life,
Why does the guy in the booth
Rerun for me so often, unbidden and unpredictably,
A five-second clip, without sound or voice-over,
Of me at eight-or-so,
In the late afternoon of a school day in the spring,
Aboard my red two-wheeler --
Not fire-engine red, but not as dark as burgundy --
With a perfect chrome headlight,
Gliding down the gentle slope of Willets Drive
Past our house,
A breeze on my face and hands,
My soul suspended a few feet above the world?

more from Mark Flanigan

Exiled from Main Street XXVIII: Dispatch from Outside

            “The main reason, really, I’m doing this press is that I feel that it’s important to take this moment on behalf of the art.  And to say, guess what?  We can have this national conversation about poetry and it won’t hurt a bit.”
            --Elizabeth Alexander, interviewed by Dave Rosenthal of the Baltimore Sun

            This time I am going to talk about something of very little concern. 
            I went to an all-boy Catholic High School on the West Side of Cincinnati, where approximately 94.2% of our city’s police force hails from.  It was, as you can probably imagine, a relatively straight laced, no-nonsense kind of place, one with the usual uniform: collared shirt tucked in, dress slacks, tie, no gym shoes unless you were adept at forging a note from your parents, which of course I was.  I got on fine there, despite my habit of wearing purple lipstick and teasing and spraying my hair with something that assuredly destroyed the very sky it aspired to. 
            Anyway, I remember it well.  I had failed a test so miserably, had so unmistakably not studied, that the teacher Mr. Kreimer knew something was up.  I explained that some tragedy or another had thrown me off, so he good-naturedly allowed me to take it again.  Now Mr. Kreimer was a caring, understanding man, one that even took in troubled teenagers with substance abuse issues—without, to my knowledge, molesting any of them.  Yet, this day while I was sitting there in an empty, adjacent room after finishing the test, he was well aware he had done me a good turn and thus felt at ease enough to be frank.  Standing above me, he screwed up his face and pinched my shirt that in all actuality was a gown, and said, “Now what is this?  What are you trying to get done with this?”
            I knew already that I would be hard-pressed to explain to any adult the serious intricacies of The Cure, so I said nothing.
            “We both know, Mark,” he continued, “that you are a smart, dynamic young man.  But I’ve watched as plenty of your type wasted what they had to offer.”  Then his question:  “Don’t you realize how much more you can accomplish from the inside?”

broadside by Ben Gulyas

broadside by Ben Gulyas

broadside by Ben Gulyas

Untitled by Mark Flanigan

This is the poem that never mattered because it couldn’t speak well.
This is the poem you leave behind everyday at the breakfast table.
This is the poem that usually went the same way as our dreams and early morning’s
This is the poem you feared would slip out while you weren’t looking.
This is the poem everybody embraced that time your fear proved true.
This is the poem unborn but with history.
This is the poem that needs only to be acknowledged in order to be written.
This is the poem that will tax you regardless of your worth.
This is the poem you cannot win with, but this is the poem that simply will not let you

Mark Flanigan of Cincinnati OH, Featured Reader at the first Word of Mouth open poetry reading at The Globe, December 2, 2009. Photo by: Judi Wright