"Somebody With a Gun" - Charley Seagraves


"Somebody With a Gun" - Charley Seagraves

Somebody with a gun
walked into a convenience store
just outside of Charlotte,

pulled on a stocking mask,
pointed a .44 Magnum
in the clerk's face,
and that began his fall from grace,
and now he's on the run,
somebody with a gun.

Somebody with a gun,
in a drive-by with an A-K
just outside of Atlanta,
accidentally hit a 7-year-old
who died in the emergency room--
he didn't mean to kill that kid,
but he did,
and now he's on the run,
somebody with a gun.

Somebody with a gun
got into an argument with her spouse
just outside of Topeka,
reached into her purse
and pulled out a 9mm Glock--
he ended up dead,
a single shot through his head,
and now she's on the run,
somebody with a gun.

Somebody with a gun
is knocking on the door of despair
just outside of your hometown,
oh lord, it's a jungle out there,
and their life is slowly coming undone
and it's somebody's daughter
and it's somebody's son
and soon they too will be on the run,
somebody with a gun.

Photo of Charley Seagraves at The Globe, Athens, Georgia, by David Noah [2014].

"The Hermit" - Laura Solomon

“The Hermit” - Laura Solomon
and there is little that has not been said before about a cotton blossomand little that has not been said before about a copper pheasant
and little that has not been said before about a mirror
how the cotton blossom blooms how the copper pheasant cries
inconsolably it cries for a mate it cannot find
and how all of the town and its environs could hear the creature crying
and how all grew morose at the sight of a cotton blossom blooming
as accompanied by the sound of a copper pheasant crying
how none could admire the blossom as they were wont to do
how none could sleep for the pheasant’s incessant selfish crying
and how the town tried many tricks
how the elders tried talking sense to the bird
how the men and women tried first to comfort with their mouths before covering up their ears
how the kids threw rocks (they had been instructed)
and how when so near to death the bird had come and cried all the more for this
down from the mountain came a hermit
who alone consoled the bird by putting before it a mirror

(photo by Brittainy Lauback, 2015)

"The Hum of It All" - Eugene C. Bianchi


"The Hum of It All" - Eugene C. Bianchi

Medieval nuns like Mechthild of Magdeburg
and Julian of Norwich kept cats
in their chilly anchoress cells
to ward off mice, they say,
but I think their felines cuddled them
at night in divine embrace, purring them
into contemplative union and sleep.

So I find it with Siamese Max,
a curmudgeonly sixteen who gives
his brother Tony the fish-eye,
yet the old guy with wonderful purr
is a religious whiz by ignoring
stale theology to plunge into core sound,
drawing me toward the source and sleep.

Lately I’ve heard that cosmic hum
from my hummingbirds hovering
with patience for my elderly pace
as I replace their bottle of nectar.
They carry the sound of all sounds
even when silent to our weak hearing.

Such meditation is not solipsism, withdrawal
into cozy corners, the world be damned.
It gives us time to slow down, slow walk,
slow eat with monk Thich Nhat Hanh,
to let things penetrate our subtle defenses.

It gives us time to feel deeply the sorrow
and suffering of child soldiers made to tie
bombs around their waists, of girls sold
into slavery, and of those starved
and maimed in continuous war.

It’s all part of the greater hum.
I heard it again today in a chorus of cicadas.

Eugene Bianchi's third collection of poetry, The Hum of It All, has just been published by Parsons Press. He will be the featured reader at the next Word of Mouth open mic, Wednesday May 3, 8 p.m. upstairs at The Globe.  

"Thanx 4 Nothing" - John Giorno


"Thanx 4 Nothing" - John Giorno

I want to give my thanks to everyone for everything,
and as a token of my appreciation,
I want to offer back to you all my good and bad habits
as magnificent priceless jewels,
wish-fulfilling gems satisfying everything you need and want,
thank you, thank you, thank you,

May every drug I ever took
come back and get you high,
may every glass of vodka and wine I’ve drunk
come back and make you feel really good,
numbing your nerve ends
allowing the natural clarity of your mind to flow free,
may all the suicides be songs of aspiration,
thanks that bad news is always true,
may all the chocolate I ever eaten
come back rushing through your bloodstream
and make you feel happy,
thanks for allowing me to be a poet
a noble effort, doomed, but the only choice.

I want to thank you for your kindness and praise,
thanks for celebrating me,
thanks for the resounding applause,
I want to thank you for taking everything for yourself
and giving nothing back,
you were always only self-serving,
thanks for exploiting my big ego
and making me a star for your own benefit,
thanks that you never paid me,
thanks for all the sleaze,
thanks for being  mean and rude
and smiling at my face,
I am happy that you robbed me,
I am happy that you lied
I am happy that you helped me,
thanks, grazie, merci beaucoup.

May you smoke a joint with William,
and spend intimate time with his mind,
more profound than any book he wrote,
I give enormous thanks to all my lovers,
beautiful men with brilliant minds,
great artists,
Bob, Jasper, Ugo,
may they come here now
and make love to you,
and may my many other lovers
of totally great sex,
countless lovers
of boundless fabulous sex
countless lovers of boundless fabulous sex
countless lovers of boundless
fabulous sex
in the golden age
of promiscuity
may they all come here now,
and make love to you,
if you want,
may each of them
hold each of you in their arms
to your hearts
balling to your hearts
balling to
your hearts delight
balling to your hearts delight.
May all the people who are dead
Allen, Brion, Lita, Jack,
and I do not miss any of you
I don’t miss any of them,
no nostalgia,
it was wonderful we loved each other
but I don’t want any of them back,
now, if any of you
are attracted to any of them,
may they come back from the dead,
and do whatever is your pleasure,
may they multiply,
and be the slaves
of whomever wants them,
fulfilling your every wish and desire,
(but you won’t want them as masters,
as they’re demons),
may Andy come here
fall in love with you
and make each of you a superstar,
everyone can have
everyone can
have Andy.
everyone can have Andy,
everyone can have an Andy.

Huge hugs to the friends who betrayed me,
every friend became an enemy,
sooner or later,
I am delighted you are vacuum cleaners
sucking everything into your dirt bags,
you are none other than a reflection of my mind.

Thanks for the depression problem
and feeling like suicide
everyday of my life,
and now that I’m seventy,
I am happily almost there.                 
Twenty billion years ago,
in the primordial wisdom soup
beyond comprehension and indescribable,
something without substance moved slightly,
and became something imperceptible,
moved again and became something invisible,
moved again and produced a particle and particles,
moved again and became a quark,
again and became quarks,
moved again and again and became protons and neutrons,
and the twelve dimensions of space,
tiny fire balls of primordial energy
bits tossed back and forth
in a game of catch between particles,
transmitting electromagnetic light
and going fast, 40 million times a second,
where the pebble hits the water,
that is where the trouble began,
something without substance became something with substance,
why did it happen?
because something substance less
had a feeling of missing out on something,
getting it
was not getting  it
not getting it,
not getting it,
imperceptibly not having something
when there was nothing to have,
clinging to a notion of reality;
from the primordially endless potential,
to modern day reality,
twenty billion years later,
has produced me,
gave birth to me and my stupid grasping mind,
made me and you and my grasping mind.

May Rinpoche and all the great Tibetan teachers who loved me,
come back and love you more,
hold you in their wisdom hearts,
bathe you in all-pervasive compassion,
give you pith instructions,
and may you with the diligence of Olympic athletes
do meditation practice,
and may you with direct confidence
realize the true nature of mind.

America, thanks for the neglect,
I did it without you,
let us celebrate poetic justice,
you and I never were,
never tried to do anything,
and never succeeded,
I want to thank you for introducing me to
the face of the naked mind,
thanx 4 nothing.

John Giorno wrote "Thanks 4 Nothing" for his 70th birthday in 2006. A poet and visual artist born in 1936 in New York City, Giorno attended Columbia University and worked as a stockbroker for a short time before meeting Andy Warhol in 1962. A romantic relationship ensued, and Giorno was featured in Warhol’s first film, Sleep (1963). The influence of pop art and Warhol’s Factory are evident in Giorno’s work, which developed out of verbal collages of appropriated texts drawn from advertising and signage. In 1971, following a trip to India, Giorno converted to Tibetan Buddhism. In his later years, he has become well known for his confrontational readings and his contributions as a gay rights activist; he founded the AIDS Treatment Project in 1984. In 2010, he had his first solo gallery show, Black Paintings and Drawings, which focused on the development of poem painting. He currently lives in New York City.

"In Praise of Imperfection" - Bob Ambrose


1. The Peace of Imperfection

The songbirds seem not to have noticed
perfection having passed us by
last Tuesday week, the prime of spring
peaking in the predawn darkness:

                        first light
        gracing east
                a drift of breeze
the slightest hint
        of scented whispers
                wafting through
        the inner senses

The flaming sword
                that guards the garden
        carves a chasm
                        deep inside
                that fills us
        with inchoate
                longing, calling

    Brother, sister, join the sparrow 
        wander unaware in Eden 
    claim what lies beyond mere joy.

We must decline – their souls inhabit different
realms from yours and mine. They still live
within the garden, lost in perfect flow
of being. We live East, the slaves of knowing.

Once again we’re left behind to tend
a freshly-fallen world, now dusted
with a set of gnats, green oak tree doodles
caught in cracks of splintered decks

and crumbling driveways; drooping dogwood
blossoms browned about the edges,
bright azaleas slightly faded –
signs of spring now going stale.

Still bearing the imprint of Eden inside us
while bursting with knowledge and moral awareness,
we build a home in the shadow of heaven
and make our peace with imperfection.

2. In Praise of Unkempt Things 

Praise to God for unkempt things
that grace our world with imperfection –

for Friday mornings after Easter,
one egg missing;

for tidy lawns with clover patches,
strewn with toys;

for joyful girls with reckless smiles
and saddened eyes;

or graceful curves of mountain vistas
cloaked in clouds;

for clever proofs of shrouded concepts
conjured out of troubled minds.

In sorrow and striving,
in coping and growing,

in desperate hope and untenable dreams,
a glory shines through imperfection.

"A Poem for Katherine: Part One" - dn


I moved to Athens for a relationship

but the woman I moved for

threw in the chips

she flipped the script

jumped ship

she split

straight switched / eclipsed

she dipped

& quit being the love of my life.

She was no longer a woman I recognized

She / hypnotized me

with her lies

She / literally pulled

the wool over my eyes

She / came at me

cloaked in disguise

& I was none the wise-er

I believed her.


wearing brass bangles & cowrie shells like she was nature’s Black woman

made of Mississippi River & Georgia red clay,

but I should’ve seen thru her when she covered her gray

w/temporary dye in a can.


She grandstands

throws rocks & hides her hands

makes promises that can’t withstand

they don’t demand

an absolute truth.

& I promise you this ain’t no I hate her poem.

It’s an I thank her poem

A gratitude poem

for reminding me that my gut knows better poem

that truth & love will have the final word in reality poem

an appreciation poem

for reconnecting me to my divine self poem

for re-centering my attention on the universe poem

a thank you poem

for getting out of my way so I can meet her poem



is like a rose that grew from concrete

That blade of grass between my feet

That gust of wind in summer’s heat

A neat glass of scotch

No rocks

No chill

Just smooth & ill

like 1980s hip hop

Got me wantin to dance to EZ Rock

Cuttin a rug w/the pop & lock

Bustin thru a crowd w/shell tops

& a big ol’ clock

around my neck.


She’s a rainbow in a cloud

A disco ball spinning light on crowds

The silence that makes the quiet loud

& I quietly want to love her.


I want to breathe her in

like I am pulling a Cohiba.

Bask in her glory

like delighting in the Orisha.

Take her hand

& make her my senorita

She’s muy bonita

& if she let me,


I’d kiss her all over her face--

my hallelujia for God’s merciful grace

cause coming to Athens ain’t been a waste.

I found a light in a shadowed space

A reminder that love’s all over the place

If I just wait

& let it be.