"[ When I Was a Faith Healer ]" - Gregg Murray

[ When I Was a Faith Healer ]

I cut my teeth on the hopeless. I'd hold
their hands, ask with patience what cares

were cursed. The devils that in amorous
colloquy made them weep openly.

They knew it was alright, and I worked
through recollection. I was a technician.

I gave them the reason, backed by a vision.
I moved on to the wicked. I was led

into the heavy rooms. Family members
stood at cracked doors, fingering beads

and crosses. I summoned kinder forces.
My pyrotechnics were practical, flares

and flint, kindling and rabble-rousing,
rending, espousing. The hell was hot,

love was water. These days grew longer.
In middle age I turned to the blind eye.

It was my sports car, my affair, my turn.
There was never enough money to burn.

I was a physician of the Lord. It took
time to feel the word, to see demons

in the iris black as cataracts. Lay on
the hands, lay on the scalpel, no one

understands the science of spectacle.
There is no guide for the impossible.

But I'll say this, diligent student, I believe
it respectable, noble, even regal,

to make way for the miracle.
Gregg Murray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University and the founding editor of Muse /A Journal. He is the featured reader at Word of Mouth open mic, Wednesday, September 6,
8:00 pm at The Globe, Athens. "[ When I Was a Faith Healer" ]  appeared online in diode poetry journal. He will be reading at the Decatur Book Festival on Sunday, September 3 at 3 pm on the Java Monkey stage.

"Incantation" - David Noah

"Incantation" - David Noah

This is the way we are in August
in America in 2017:
Nazis march in Charlottesville
and the president stands silent
until he speaks up.
For them.

This is the way
we wait with anger and hope on street corners,
holding signs and looking for signs,
while our cellphone screens blister
with news served too fast to eat,
and civil war is in the air.

This is the way
the enormity of the wound—
to the country,
to the invisible pertinent currents
coursing through our metaphysical bloodstreams—
staggers mothers walking down streets,
stuns birds from the skies,
and makes fathers stumble against walls.

This is the way
the eclipse comes
in a rushing silhouette across America,
as a sign.
Or a symptom.

This is the way
the shadow slides into our pockets.

This is the way
dragon eats the sun,
the way bear rears into the sky
and tears apart the light,
the way demons sweat darkness
and speak up for monsters.

This is the way
we say to each other:
we have reached totality.

And this is the way
we look at one another
and remember the light.

This is the way we wake up.
This is the way we turn and find our way home.
This the way we remember.
This is the way we begin.

"Pace" - Michael Keating



"Pace" - Michael Keating

check all the locks
front, back and front again
can’t neglect
the one in your skull

switch all the stoves
conductive heat
flick a cigarette
in the kitchen sink
it’s only left

check back in
the conversations
rattling between thought confusion

look at every image
for planned differences
that were put in
children’s magazines

count your missteps
and notice all
the errant bricks
just don’t trip

self medicate and
catch the card trick
to try to cheat it
and get your ass beat

pace but not
try not to quantify
other’s lives

take your ambien
and lithium
while figuring
how to sleep

on your sins
you’re no good
for nobody

likely from
your pessimism
or drug addiction
or brain contusion

"Aunties" - Kevin Young


"Aunties" - Kevin Young

There's a way a woman
            will not

her pocketbook
            even pulled
onstage, or called up

to the pulpit—
            there's a way only
your Auntie can make it

taste right—
             rice & gravy
is a meal

if my late Great Aunt
            Toota makes it—
Aunts cook like

there's no tomorrow
             & they're right.
Too hot

is how my Aunt Tuddie
            peppers everything,
her name given

by my father, four, seeing
            her smiling in her crib.
There's a barrel

full of rainwater
            beside the house
that my infant father will fall

into, trying to see
           himself—the bottom—
& there's his sister

Margie yanking him out
           by his hair grown long
as superstition. Never mind

the flyswatter they chase you
            round the house
& into the yard with

ready to whup the daylights
            out of you—
that's only a threat—

Aunties will fix you
           potato salad
& save

you some. Godmothers,
Aunts smoke like

it's going out of style—
             & it is—
make even gold

teeth look right, shining.
             saying I'll be
John, with a sigh. Make way

out of no way—
            keep they key
to the scale that weighed

the cotton, the cane
            we raised more
than our share of—

If not them, then who
           will win heaven?
holding tight

to their pocketbooks
            at the pearly gates
just in case.

"Aunties" by Kevin Young is from Dear Darkness (2008). Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and studied under Seamus Heaney and Lucie Brock-Broido at Harvard University. While a student there, he became a member of the Dark Room Collective, a community of African American writers. He has published eleven collections of poetry. His latest is Blue Laws (2015).

"Are Mystics Unaware?" - Eugene C. Bianchi

"Are Mystics Unaware?" - Eugene C. Bianchi


I have put duality away, and I have seen

that the two worlds are one: one I seek,

one I know, one I see, one I call. (Rumi 1207-1273))


So much suffering:

famine in Sudan, children

killing children in Chicago,

endless war in Syria and Iraq,

prisoners of conscience languishing,

disease of body and brain,

while mystics seem unaware,

talking about peace in divine light.

Cat Max suddenly jumps into my lap,

scattering my wordy pages seeking answers,

his reply of blue eyes and compassionate purr

embraces the ancient drama by going deeper,

like mystics letting breath and mantra

help them feel the pain, dwelling

in a fuller meditative space,

allowing time for the lingering sadness

to birth kindness and active care,

as they refuse to despair

over our broken story,

holding hands of the dying in hospice,

defending the wrongfully imprisoned,

checking the temperature of a sick child,

taking in the war refugee,

even the monk immolating himself in protest,

all in the stubborn oneness grasped only in part.

--Eugene C. Bianchi, Athens, GA, July 25, 2017

"Sonnet 36" (William Shakespeare) - Franklin Abbott

Franklin Abbott performing "Sonnet 36" by William Shakespeare at 800 East in Atlanta.

He is tonight's featured reader at August Word of Mouth upstairs at The Globe. Readings begin at 8 pm.