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!

Poet-playwright-journalist-fictionist-editor-professor, Dr. Gary Corseri has published work in Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, CommonDreams and hundreds of other publications and websites worldwide. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at Read other articles by Gary.