"There's always a wasp" - David Noah



"There's always a wasp" - David Noah

There’s always a wasp in the room when I paint,
single, singular, muttering, dissatisfied,
just out of reach above me.

I know it at once
if it touches my hair
with its stinger held bent
—flies are quicker, bees more direct.

I watch it circle the light.
It always surprises,
always terrifies,
always pleases me.

I kill it when I can
but a little danger in the air
is welcome when the palette dries
and the brush clogs.

Art is a blood sport.

"A Farewell to Summer" - Bob Ambrose

A memory of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., August 3, 2002 Athens, Georgia
January 13, 2011

One on each side, my brothers
hoist the folding beach chair
and carry with care
this now frail woman
        across the access
to the edge of the sea
to soak her toes in a tidal caress
to feel the roar and the silence
        to take that one last look
at the wide spaces she wandered
with childhood dreams
her own, her children’s
        her children’s children’s
in those magical margins
where she honed her vocation
spinning lifelines of happiness
to secure young souls
        within her spell
of sunny summer wonder.

Humble beach grasses bend
in the prevailing wind
as they anchor loose sands
to foundations of impermanence
that shift imperceptibly
        through human lives
and even endless summers
must yield their time
to make way for new beginnings.

The wind blows which way it will
we do not know where
or why, and so let go only
        because we must
and claim that bitter prize - 
our due share of reluctant wisdom.
Her short hair tangles today
in a warm ocean breeze
that mixes sand and salt
and the sweet smell of sunblock.
        She sheds no tears
but sets her countenance
to the infinite horizon
with weary resolve
to honor what was, what
        must be again
and to go her way into autumn
with the grace of summer
clutching lightly to the backs
of tiny boys grown tall
in the sunshine of her life.

"dr. pain’s downtown ramble bone" - aralee strange

"dr. pain’s downtown ramble bone" - aralee strange

you want to stroll, tourist, do
but I go rambling
because that’s what I do
down here where I live
and not afraid to

keeps your wits about you
gets your hands dirty
gets the seat of your dry cleaned pants dirty
get you out on the street when it’s too hot to sleep

no air conditioners humming down here
no lawn mowers down here
no grass
no peace & quiet

you want to scat these streets I’ll make you a map
take you through time to when the Rhine ran
and business was good and so on
strolling down memory lane until the end came
and then

no more Canal
no more the Rhine
no more good for business
a big ditch

& they filled it up & paved it over two four six lanes of high speed traffic
will draw some clean lines of distinction between them and us
Over the Rhine

them who drive in & take out & leave their trash behind for us to sweep up
them who buy cheap & hike rent & fix zip & sell to any cheap son of a high
bidder who comes down the six lane pike and why not
business is good again
Over the Rhine

and us who don’t have a dime & don’t have a clue
us who don’t give a damn & us who do
us who trust jesus & us who just drink
and why not

here’s to us
moundless grimey tribe
our speech simple minded
our history unwrit
our lives expendable

and here’s to them
who better remember the pendulum swings both ways
all our days numbered on a big clock tick tocking every
one by one

"dr. pain’s downtown ramble bone" by  aralee strange appeared online at semantikon in 2003, along with other selections from her work "dr. pain on main."   In 2009, aralee founded the open-mic poetry group Athens Word of Mouth. Tonight there will be a free poetry reading to celebrate the publication of the group's first anthology, at Cine in downtown Athens, from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Copies of the Anthology will be available for $15.  

"High summer still life" - M Bromberg

"High summer still life" - M Bromberg

I'm up before the sun rises above the trees,
to open doors catching night in quiet surprise.
The cat is still asleep in a wicker chair.
These are summer mornings without idea, first,
in simple starlight and a low moon, not even
bird sound to strike the note. 

The night is passing without regret or prayer.
Before the day begins in earnest, let
the night recede in dreams and cool air.
Today I will make plans that go wrong, measure
relationships that do not fit, find a shoelace broken.
These human faults I own. Right now,

they have nothing to do with this still life of morning.
Sit without light and watch the sky come down,
let it come down to fill the mouth and mind.
There is time enough for light to build
above the roof-line and the summered trees; 
the sun will make the day without mistake.

"Untitled" - Lisa Mende

"Untitled" - Lisa Mende

I dreamed of painted dogs in Beechwood canyon
and God’s voice saying you may live in a land of no regrets and you will never grow old but first you must solve the riddle of the Sphinx the answers have been changed    
I will make you invisible with the past at your fingertips and a language all your own.
I will pin your secret name to a single tear and turn your legs to a mermaid’s tail.
You will be the beauty in a beholders eye but your mirror will be empty
I dreamed I swam through submerged cities and drowned carnivals
And God’s voice saying you may live in a land of heros but the battle will never begin
I will give you dreamless nights and perfect days but the sun will be blinding
All the maps will be washed clean and the sidewalks will be quicksand  Nazis will march through your mouth
I will give your own anthem with all the words in the world    
I will attach string to your arms and teach you how  to weave
All the threads will be white and the pattern will tell your life’s story
I dreamed I was held captive outside the door to my house
And God’s voice saying you may lose all of your fear and monsters will drink from your hands but you will always have thirst
I will sew you a suit of sand and you will be the hourglass
Your days will be ram’s horns and you will kiss the lips of your ancestors 
Your wedding bouquet will bloom again.
I dreamed of funerals in theaters and God’s voice saying
You will dance away your shoes and find lost treasure but you will live in poverty 
I will make your skin ice and give you a tower but your body will be numb
Your name will be inscribed in the book of perfection but water will blur the words you will stand on tiptoe next to walls and be fearless children will spring from your fingertips
I dreamed of steps covered in sand and God’s voice saying I will give you the language of animals and the eyes of an owl the universe will sing in numbers and you will bathe in rivers of salt     
candles will grow from the sand your breath will be music but you will have no voice 
your mornings will turn to glass your lovers will turn to drums your eyes will turn to paper you will kiss your enemy’s mouth

[Photo of Lisa Mende, August 2014, by Michelle Castleberry]



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.