" 'appy 'alloween" - A poet bee

'appy 'alloween
a poet bee

Evil spirts,
be upon thee.
Dark angels,
Swirlin' over'ead,
ever so silently,
brewin' a spell,
dey wear
dead faces
from d' underworld.
Dey bear
an infectious gift
of slow justice,
Yer life's end
is joyfully,
dreadfully near.
Yer selfish
deeds done,
moons ago,
betrayed trust,
loyalty, honor.
Y' lied to us.
Of course y' do.
As do we.
And our blood
does too.
Hatred feeds
slowly in silence,
grows, strengthens.
Now she's strong,
ready for revenge.
Vile bleeds
from our hearts,
sweats from our pores,
cries from our eyes
for yer demise.
Relive yer wicked sins
'n repeat yer lies,
again, and again,
'til our curse
of insanity
comfo'ts y',
befo' death cures y'.
Yer laughs,
children's screams,
tears, now men.
Every day, every hour,
pray fo' fo'giveness.
Beg in yer dreams.
No Christ t' hear y'.
So d' 'evil
will fondle
yer empty soul
in 'ell
for eternity.
Our eyes now watch
from d' shadows.
Y' sleep troubled,
guilty, restless,
not oblivious
to our call
fo' yer death.
Fear d' spirits
dat wait
wid such hate.
Dey'll 'ave no pity.
So, Francis pleads mercy.
No! Man's misdeeds curse ye,
Y' can try t' run,
y' can try t' 'ide,
but yer guilt
'angs deep inside.
Y's done.
Evil eats evil.
Save us some trouble,
kill y'self!
No note needed,
welcome t' hell.

for more photos of spirits found in moth wings,
visit A poet bee's
frightfully good page
and click on the links

"When Will Autumn Return" - Jean Moréas [translated by Gregory de Rocher]


"When Will Autumn Return" - Jean Moréas
[translated by Gregory de Rocher]

When will Autumn return with its dead leaves
Covering the pond by the old mill's ruins?
When will the wind fill the gaping hole of its doorway
And the useless space where the wheel turned?

I want to go and sit once again on that stone
Against the wall covered with its tarnished ivy
And watch for hours in the cold still water
My reflection and the pale sun sink.

Jean Moréas was born into a distinguished Greek family.  
He  received a French education, and went to study law at
the University of Paris in 1875. He began associating

with literary circles and became acquainted with
Hydropathes, a group of French writers which included

de Maupassant.  



"The Health Food Section" - Mark Flanigan

"The Health Food Section" - Mark Flanigan

every Sunday
at the grocery
I pile all kinds of fruit
in our cart

my girlfriend inevitably asking,
"why you buying all that fruit?
you know you're just wasting money." 

"I'm eating healthy this week,"
I declare, then
stomp toward the cereal aisle.

last night
while little tramping home from the bar

after telling myself
and anyone else who'd listen
that I'd be leaving by midnight
so help me God

after my girlfriend, saying goodbye,
exclaimed "See you at 2:30!"

after looking at my phone and realizing
it was actually already 3:18
and I had two beers
one in each pocket


my thoughts turned
to my overflowing basket of fruit,
the one that continually mocks me
from my kitchen table:

its apples with stretched, wrinkled skin
to match my own,
the pears bruised as if from a bar fight,
the whole lot graying
drying up
or becoming too sweet to eat

and while walking uphill
I told myself

I am going to eat that basket of fruit

I'm going to eat each and every
soft kiwi
overripe orange
banana turned plantain

no matter how mottled or fuzzy or
past their prime 

I'm going to make love to my girlfriend 
in a bed of grapes
I'm going to write poems with the blood
from strawberries
I'm going to get my money's worth, invest
in myself
I will inject oatmeal into my veins
if need be
so help me God, I am going to inhale
the health and goodness
from each and every piece in that goddamn basket of fruit


Mark Flanigan is the co-founder, with Jim Palmerini, of Word of Mouth Cincinnati. He has been the featured reader every December since 2009 at Athens Word of Mouth.

"My Dead Grandmother" - David Noah


"My Dead Grandmother" - David Noah

My dead grandmother spears a piece of potato
and demands I interpret her dream
or she wont leave the table.
I twist in my seat, look under the tablecloth,
peer over my shoulder at the dining room mirror,
and search my hands for a sign of a sign.

I havent touched the chicken on my plate, even though Im hungry.
Im hungry,I tell her.  So am I,  says she, but in the dream
I was in the old old well, deeper than the water,

deeper than the roots, playing a mouth harp
and spitting snuff juice into a can.  Let me tell you,
it aint easy to synchronize those two.

But what do I know?  At the time, I was covered in mouse feathers. 
What do you make of that?  She spits in her can like a pro.
I dont answer because my chicken is playing the mouth harp.

Maybe the ceiling is growing closer.
In my dream,she says, Im not a person.
Im sunlight in a dress hanging on a backyard line.

But she doesnt say this, its her teeth talking,
rattling on the saucer where they rest.
They smile like the dickens and shine like gold.

It means,I say, reaching for the potatoes,
that life is short and full of sadness.
No it doesnt,she replies, and pours her glass of wine

straight onto the floor like a bad-tempered child.
Go home,I cry, and fling a roll at her gray head.
She laughs, or her teeth do, and I realize

she will never leave my table.
I pour her another glass of wine,
directly onto the floor to save time,

and tell the chicken to shut up.
I dreamed,I say, of waking.

"Nam from Mantucket" / "Navigation" - a poet bee



"Nam from Mantucket" - A poet bee   

Once our dyslectic pode
knew a nam from Mantucket,
who tried to catch
a thom with a bucket.
The thom rejected.
The pode interjected,
"Oh nam, just go
photograph it."    


"Navigation" - A poet bee   

It's rather absurd
if you haven't heard
that moths navigate
by the bright
of night sky.

Or try.

One, on a long flight,
confused by porch light,
came to a party.
The nam from Mantucket
had forgotten his bucket.
So the moth rested instead.

Beetle done with it.

And our pode went back to bed.


A poet bee's site is discover life [photo: Dr John Brackenbury / Science Photo Library]

Look for 
Word of Mouth: 
an anthology of performing poets
at the following locations ...

Athens-Clarke Library Bookstore
2025 Baxter Street 

Dondero's Kitchen 
590 N. Milledge Avenue

Avid Books
493 Prince Avenue

Jittery Joe's Five Points
1230 South Milledge Avenue

and available Wednesday October 7
upstairs at The Globe
[corner of Clayton & Lumpkin Streets]
at the monthly Word of Mouth open mic!

"New Crop" - David Oates

"New Crop" - David Oates

An article in The Christian Science Monitor reported that some Burmese peasants believe democracy is something to eat. 

When the students told us about this plant a few months ago, they were not sure precisely what it was either, but they said it will change our lives. They'd heard it will make hair grow on bald heads. People who eat it must battle to keep from wearing a silly smile, they like it so much. The soil gets better when it grows there. The produce is at chest and stomach level so when you pick, you don't have to stoop or reach; yet the rest of the plant can be eaten, root, leaves, and all, if you like. It tastes wonderful, they said.

The students said some American farmer created it there. He spent years saving seeds, studying hybrids, conducting extensive experiments to make an ancient and forgotten crop suitable for their soil. He developed a strain with high yields and hardiness that doesn't require too much fertilizer, though we have heard the rich Americans have a great deal of fertilizer.

We started wondering, what sort of food is it? Is it some-thing that requires great delicacy to cook, made with just the right ingredients and amounts, the right knowledge, actions, and weather? Or must you simply have certain key ingredients, and then you can do as you please: make a stew or fry it, grease the dish or not?

When we first heard of it, we wondered if it would be hard to grow. What sorts of beetles would we have to pick off of it? Would it grow with our usual fertilizer, or must we add bone meal? Everyone was so excited about it; we thought there must be remarkable yields, and it must taste delicious. We had dreams about the taste. Is it powerful, like chilis, tangerines, tea, allspice? Or is it a marvelous staple, like rice, potatoes? One of us dreamed it is a new fowl, a large chicken with a bald head, that grows incredibly fat eating sawdust and potato beetles. How strange that the students heard about it first. Some professor in the college of agriculture must have read a Western book.

It is most confusing, for now we hear the opposite from our cadres. The students don't come anymore, and the cadres say this crop was sent by murdering CIA scientists. Eating it will make you sterile, or, if you eat just a little, you will never have any children but girls. It will pierce your bowels; your soil will lose its sweetness; locusts can smell this stuff a thousand miles away, and it draws them like a magnet. If it begins to grow, soon it will cover everything, like kudzu: it will steal fields and pastures and forests.

Once you know it, you will pick it from your weeds to keep it from hurting the weeds. This is not a food; it is a poison. If you see even a shoot, burn it, burn the plants around it, even if they are wheat or rice. Any animal that eats this plant, you must slaughter it and incinerate the body, taking careful hygienic precautions. No one is to eat of the animal that eats of the plant, nor eat an animal that eats such an animal, not even the dog or monkey.

This western dish, they tell us, doesn't agree with our insides--worse than cheese or milk. Remember the foolish city people who tried to follow the Western fad, to be so "modern" eating ice cream? Their doctors can tell you how it was for them when that caught sideways in them.

One old man, U Bing, walked to the library in Kangat to ask. The librarian said the cadres were right. He said many had died in the city because of the poisoning, screaming in agony for hours as they died. U Bing felt this man had a gnat in his eye, for he blinked a great deal, sitting at his desk. This librarian said the army had to be called in to help the doctors tend the sick, and to stack the bodies. Then the soldiers helped by going to all the restaurants and markets to make sure that none was left to poison the people. So conscientious were they, they would search out people who might have some in their homes, then rush to the houses to warn these people and collect the poison before it was too late. 

Those who sold and bought it in ignorance were not punished, but those who knew the harm it would do, those conspirators, have been shot. We see them on the television at our mayor's house, their faces pale, and hear they have paid for their crimes. Though this is all confusing for us, we are so glad that this awful stuff was stopped before it came here. Still, it would have been interesting to see what it looks like, and, of course, one wonders what the taste was--if just one bite to get the flavor would have hurt so much. 

The village council met last night to discuss next year's crops. Again this year, we will concentrate on rice and fish, growing for market a few tomatoes, a flock of turkeys, some pumpkins, and yellow corn. 

"New Crop" appeared in David Oates's 2011 collection Drunken Robins. Photo by David Noah.