"A Thanksgiving for Strangeness" - Eugene C. Bianchi

"A Thanksgiving for Strangeness" - Eugene C. Bianchi

After a few yoga moves and push-ups,
after a breakfast geared for diabetes,
I walk into yellow leaves and fresh sun 
to do Tai Chi between a BB&T bank
and swift traffic in the real world.
I feel somewhat strange,
but not enough to desist,
recalling with thanks those who
taught me to embrace this weirdness
that makes children point at the funny
old man in the parking lot: look mommy!
What’s he doing? Is he drunk?
Too bad more mystic oddness hasn’t
caught on without drugs of some sort.
Yet there’s a quiet right-now kind
from Ignatius, Buddha, Lao Tzu,
desert mothers, Whitman singing himself
that allows me to blend breath with
the five brown hens and vigilant rooster
out of place here in their designer coop,
and to meld with the splendid double red
weeping maple that shows our Janus-face
reality of things both bright and blood dark,
things ever beautiful yet caught in life’s pain,
all softly rising from a single silent root.
Then I think of my Siamese Max offered to me
from a trailer in the Georgia hinterland
by a bible-school preacher who couldn’t
recognize the feline guru born under his roof.
This master of meditation purrs on my
chest drawing me into an all-encompassing
baritone rumble to make dying a bit easier.
Yes, I lift my cap to them all, these
mentors of weird ways to live and let go.

"Say I love what I've become" - Chicopee Dudley

“Say I love what I've become” – Chicopee Dudley

Sad to say my music collecting days are passed.
I still have the memory of every favorite album
where the drink was spilled, where the vinyl skips.

I still have the albums with the smoky riffs.
Here, urge the backbeat rhythms, fall in love with us again.
The guitar riffs like whiskey … go on, have another.

Books too: say I still love the books, the words
and the silences between them,
the books in boxes waiting again to be read.

Say I love the stars and the black of midnight,
where the books and albums are unheard, unread
and recalled in the darkness: fall in love with us again.

I breathe what’s left back to the world.
Speak the bluesman’s tongue, sweat the writer’s meaning
from my blood, say I love what I’ve become.

"What Kind of Times Are These" - Adrienne Rich


"What Kind of Times Are These" - Adrienne Rich  

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.

Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times are These" from Collected Poems: 1950-2012.

"Keep your head, and spirits, up" - Mark Flanigan

As many of my sensitive comrades wake up today with heavy hearts and hangovers, I would like to remind them that individually we are not defined by any body of government but our own. If the current government body chooses to put a brick in the wall, some other body just as soon can pluck it back out. Maybe at a price, but that is the nature and strange reward of being on the right side of history.
 We are not defined by the inherent flaws of democracy..., but simply challenged by it. I think many of us are better prepared to meet that challenge now that we have experienced something somewhat heartening in the last 8 years, and maybe we will be more vigilant about it now that much of what we not only believe but know (ie. global warming, kindness, civility, etc.) is threatened. Keep your head, and spirits, up. Both are needed now more than they were yesterday.
- Mark Flanigan
 From the SHOOT website:
Kristian Goodard in his essay, The Resilence of the American Flag, blogged this: 
Robert Mapplethorpe's American Flag photograph from 1977 is one of the greatest examples of the resilience of the American Flag. There is something fragile and defeated about the image, and yet it is testimony to the endurance of the flag that, despite its appearance, still flies in the wind.

"Tremble" - Michael Keating


"Tremble" - Michael Keating

If you had a million moments to recount to your friends
I bet your favorite would be the bitter end of us
that slender piece of moonlight paints my sins
projected on the thin frame on the shoulders
of the women i’ve loved
or maybe that time i talked myself into a stagger
I was a stumbling fool
as my intentions slipped through the gaps in my fingers
when you removed your hand from mine
because my shaking made you nervous
I’m sorry honey I am a trembling man
I can’t stop listening to the band playing on in my head,
the off beat drummer is drunk and the lead
is rambling about something that made him anxious one time
it’s a puzzling sound you know,
silence is a testament to a troubled soul

"After The Fall" - Stephen Wack



We remember the caution tape

wrapped around the space you left

like a wavering halo in the early morning

sun, the congealed stain red like a bad mark on

the sidewalk that still wore your hair down

without your head, the silence of lips and chin

to concrete in one precise frozen moment—

harmless as a leaned over whisper to the earth,

“hello” or maybe, “goodbye”—just before

the concrete kissed you back


We remember the low hum

of college campus and Cobb County police

cruisers, news vans, radio talk shows heard

beneath the blasting heat of cars idle in traffic

for hours, the notebooks and study guides

sprawled out open like your body

in the laps of commuter students late

for 8 A.M. mid-terms, motionless,

an unexcused absence


We remember the investigation

the search for identification/motivation/explanation

for any potential culprit outside of academic stress

to push you beyond those guardrail limits

to somewhere/anywhere/but here, the disparate

reports of your gender/age/the time/ and distance

of your sudden plummet down six (or was it nine?)

stories of Central Parking Deck


We remember the possibility

of suicide never mentioned by the college

your fall chalked up only to a vague outline—

to foul play, to accidental slip, to being under

the influence of something other than yourself— 

with still no word from the toxicology reports

no way to catch you in mid-air like a cold


We remember the gossip

spoken over breakfast in-between lectures

echoed throughout the bathroom stalls

carved out dialogues in real-time threads:

     “just failed the fuck outta that test”

     “better go find a parking deck”


We remember the celebrity

of your person, how suddenly everybody knew you

loved you in secret, sat behind you in class

missed the back of your head in the exact

opposite way the sidewalk could not


We remember the denial

of death by your mother, who heard your voice late at night

just before bed, picked up and held you like

a child in the silver fillings of her teeth


We remember the lone photo

of you used over and over again, of how quickly a human body

of art may convert to a still life


We remember everything

except for your



*Miranda L. W., (3/24/1989 – 3/15/2010)

Stephen Wack is tonight's featured reader at Word of Mouth open mic, Wednesday November 2. Sign-up for open mic begins at 7 pm and readings start at 8 pm upstairs at The Globe, corner of Lumpkin and Clayton Streets in downtown Athens.