"Mother Less, Mother More" - Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor


"Mother Less, Mother More" - Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Mother Goose, Mother Guess
which Mother he'll love best:

Den Mother, Done Mother,
Fit Mother, Fat Mother,

Stepmother, Stop Mother
Hip Mother, Hot Mother,

Grandmother, Grind Mother,
Smother All the Time, Mother,

Motherlode, Motherland
Mother Bored by All She's planned,

Host Mother, Post Mother,

Skip the Jokes and Roast Mother,
Pocket Full of Post-Its Mother,

Ring Around the Collar Mother,
Pinch a Penny Now, Mother,

Mother Speaking Motherese,
Mother, May I? Mother, Please:

scrambled easy, slice of cheese.
Find a Mother, pick her up,
& all the day you'll have a Cutlet,
Folded Laundry, Full Service, a Spa;

Mother Cheering, Mother Swearing
Sis-Boom-Bah! Mother see

as Mother do: Bad Mother,
Good Mother, Done the Best She Could

Mother. Now You See Her,
Now You Don't, and You Never Have

the One You Want.

Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor is the featured reader at Word of Mouth, Wednesday September 7 at the Globe. Sign up is at 7 pm. Open mic begins upstairs at 8. Avid Books will have her new collection, Imperfect Tense, available for sale during the evening [$15]. 


"New Republican Premise: Campaign in Extremis" - J. Connolly

"New Republican Premise: Campaign in Extremis"
[“I call it extreme extreme vetting.”- Donald Trump]

Despite many old and new advisors at the conference table,
his lack of knowledge, mixed message, knotty and inextricable,

they found his temperamental attitude twisted and inexpugnable
as he continued more crude comments and insults despicable.

Despite new information and sound bytes quoted in extenso
he somehow bungled reading what the teleprompters said, so

asked if he was speaking figuratively or sarcastically he said no
and babbled on like a bobble top doll, off the top of his head. So

on and so on with more repetition into his repetitious campaign,
this puerile pattern continued day after day, week after week,

as he obstinately refused to cease and desist or try to refrain
from denigrating and insulting others every time he’d speak.

Then came his immigration plan of “extreme extreme vetting":
come November he’ll know how few Hispanic votes he’s getting.

"Mystery" - Clela Reed

"Mystery" - Clela Reed

Don’t ask me why,
this harvest of moons
in bright October.

Studding the beach like cabochons,
each moon jelly holds a lucky clover
     of pink inside, four horseshoes
etched in sea glass, fitting amulet
for a being without a brain.

All month they glow on the shore
as you and I take our necessary walks
—alone, together,
or alone together.

Beautiful, doomed, they dry in the wind,
tentacles tangled in foam.
Their vitals afloat in a paperweight dome

we peer into, as though to find some
answer we can pin down, hold firm
in the clarity of morning light.


Clela Reed will be a featured reader at an evening celebrating poetry and natural history at the Special Collections Library, UGA campus, on September 14. There will be a reception afterward and a question-and-answer session with participating poets Philip Lee Williams, Clela Reed, Robert Ambrose, Jr., and John Pickering. The free event is being co-sponsored by Word of Mouth and Friends of the Georgia Natural History Museum. Visit the Poetry and Nature: a Natural History Reading Facebook page for complete information about the event.

Clela Reed is the author of four collections of poetry. Her full-length books are Dancing on the Rim (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2009) and The Hero of the Revolution Serves Us Tea (Negative Capability Press, 2014); chapbooks are Bloodline (Evening Street Press, 2009) and Of Root and Sky (Pudding House Publications, 2010). She has had poems published in The Cortland Review, The Atlanta Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Caesura Literary Magazine, The Literati Review, Storysouth Journal, Clapboard House Literary Journal, and several others. She has recently returned from Peace Corps service in Romania during which time she wrote weekly in a blog, www.clelainromania.blogspot.com.

“Box Turtle in the Driveway” - Philip Lee Williams

“Box Turtle in the Driveway” - Philip Lee Williams

This shelter moves with her. The sky has turned cantaloupe
In the evening west, paints fruiting flesh across her dome.

I want to tell my daughter one thing quite specific.
That our lives are a slow going, that when we become

Impenetrable, seasons change, do not hold their color.
I lift the wiggling tortoise by the shellac of her shell

And say, Look, this is the ancient one, whose box gleams
In my midlife light. She bears bugs into their sleeping.

My daughter, thirteen, leans to look upon the crow’s-foot
Eye of her kin. She asks one specific thing of me now.
Boy, I caught them in our woods to watch them swim
The waves of air. I turned and let them feel it, liquid
As birth in the forest afternoon. I want to tell my daughter
That moving slowly, going nowhere, is also grace.
I want to tell her that this curved hull will sail away
Tonight, going nowhere in particular, then arriving.

I have hidden things from you against my own will.
Stand on my shelled back and look for the curvature

Of love, the very thing that saves us from ourselves.
Cast a small shadow. Move against time with your life.

From Elegies for the Water (Mercer University Press, 2009), Copyright Philip Lee Williams.  Williams will be the featured reader at an evening celebrating poetry and natural history at the Special Collections Library, UGA campus, on September 14. There will be a reception afterward and a question-and-answer session with Williams and  participating poets Clela Reed, Robert Ambrose, Jr., and John Pickering. It is co-sponsored by Word of Mouth and Friends of the Georgia Natural History Museum. Visit the Poetry and Nature: a Natural History Reading Facebook page for complete information about the event.
Philip Lee Williams is the author of 18 books, including 12 novels, four works of non-fiction, and  three volumes of poetry. He is a winner of the Townsend Prize for Fiction for his first novel, The Heart of a Distant Forest, and in 1991 was named Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction. He has since then been named Georgia Author of the Year three more times. His most recent books of poetry are The Flower Seeker: An Epic Poem of William Bartram (Mercer University Press, 2010) and The Color of All Things: 99 Love Poems (Mercer University Press, 2015). His website is www.philipleewilliams.com

"Cedric the mule remembers Aralee Strange" - M Bromberg


"Cedric the mule remembers Aralee Strange" - M Bromberg

"She was a good animal as humans go --
one of the few who understood me, 

which is more than I can say

about most two-legged creatures.
She knew how to laugh, that's sure,
made me bray out loud myself sometimes.

I taught her all I knew. She was a quick study 
That lightning flash across her cheek 
wasn't there just for show. No

And you better find yourself 
on the right side of her wit 
or she'd make sure you knew.

Ha! She sure was fine country stock.
Sometimes I could tell we were kin
to the same Alabama earth

just how she smiled at me.
She offered hundred-proof understanding
straight, no chaser.

Miss her? Hell,I expect her human folk won't ache
for missing Aralee's sagittarian ways 
more than I do, most days.

Won't be long I'm sure now
I'll see her come walking down 
those Timberdance tall woods,

hear her surprised Wild Turkey voice ask 
where I got off to, so sly. Together again -- 
and won't we have a good bray then!"

Aralee Strange (1943 - 2013) organized Athens Word of Mouth “because poetry is about paying attention to that which contains a truth, but is more, much more, than simple truth. In poetry there is clarity of language, in short supply these days. I say people should pay attention, sign up and mouth off … in poetry and in life.” Aralee passed away in June, 2013. The photo above, donated by Athens photographer Bob Brussack, is permanently installed upstairs at The Globe in Athens, GA.

"It was bound to happen" - Patrick Conley


"It was bound to happen" - Patrick Conley

it was bound to happen
so much rage
at the injustice
such an overwhelming feeling
of hopelessness...

some one was bound to crack
under the weight
and lives
and hearts are shattered
beyond any hope
of being
made whole
ever again

so now is the time
it has to be
that we remember
those hugs
those knowing smiles
that time you made a fort
out of old linen
and ate popcorn
watching Finding Nemo
and drifted to sleep
feeling safe
secure with the ones you Love

These Times are still happening
the snug warmth
the kiss on the head
the Hope and Faith
that I'm not the only one
who believes
in Love

It's gonna be Alright
Because I Know You
and I Know
You're gonna hold that embrace a lil longer
You're gonna hold that glance a lil longer
and you wont miss another opportunity
to Express Love
We Can Do This
but it's gonna Hurt

photo: Patrick Conley, June 2014

"Gift Horse" - Jay Morris


"Gift Horse" - Jay Morris

I saw the devil...
And he was crying
And begging
Said never look a gift horse in the mouth
Else it'll kick you in yours
And his teeth were jagged
Like his tail
To hell with dentistry
To hell with gifts
To hell with horses
Even though their manes catch on fire
So quickly
And they run like they were born to
Carry burdens like they were bred to
I saw the devil
He was riding a horse
He said- people are often what they are made to be
Not what they were born to be
I was born to be a hero
I was made into a star
Drowning into a gravity well
Holding myself together
Some men- after being hurt for so long
Forsake all feelings that could signal
A need to be around people
They hold themselves together
With emotions that bind the cells
And the soul into a singularity
Seriousness, cynicism, melancholy
And they bind themselves in these
So that when others propose
To free them from themselves
They drop to their knees too
Pull out a ring- and say
This is all I have to give in return
I saw the devil
And he was crying

Jay Morris is the featured reader for tonight's Word of Mouth open mic. Sign-up at 7 pm, readings begin at 8 pm upstairs at The Globe. [Photo by David Noah.]