The Wrong Side of My Mouth

There were times when I spoke
      out of the wrong side of my mouth.
I didn’t mean to.
It just came out that way.

I was going along fine,
delivering some disquisition
      on a literary theme,
when, suddenly, the wrong side of my mouth

I tried to explain: “This isn’t me!
It’s not what I mean!”
But it came out garbled.
The wrong side of my mouth said,
      “This is the truth!”

With my tail between my legs,
holding my head in my hands,
I retreated amidst a chorus of jeers.
The wrong side of my mouth shot back:
“Cretins!  Neanderthals!  Fuck-offs!”

“You can’t say that in polite company,”
I berated the wrong side of my mouth.
“I have my reputation to–”
“Fuck you!” said the wrong side of my mouth.

I have been wandering the byways now
      for 50 years. …
I am the Vietnam vet asking for spare change.
I am the old woman who lost her babies.
I am the man on the bus who cries for no reason.

The wrong side of my mouth
hooks up with the corner of my eye.
A ghost of a chance joins them.

Fire!  Fire everywhere!

Gary Corseri has published/posted poems, articles and stories at Dissident Voice, The Greanville Post, Uncommon Thought Journal, CounterPunch, Countercurrents, Transcend Media Service, Veterans News Now, The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine, Common Dreams, and hundreds of other worldwide venues. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere, and he published novels, poetry collections, and a literary anthology (edited), Manifestations. He has taught in US and Japanese universities and in US prisons and public schools. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Gary can be reached at Read other articles by Gary.