Hello, Bye and Thank You: The poetry of Oak Morse

By Oak Morse


Day 1 of Speech Therapy

i sunk into his chair.

i was now a patient of his;

he was now a decipherer of mine.



Hello, Bye and Thank You

the words: hello, bye and thank you
have been so good to me.
held me like the galaxy holds the earth
in this united states of america,
where it’s hard to navigate through
if you don’t have somewhat of an elementary school vocabulary.

today i felt even more like an immigrant with amateur english
after countless attempts of trying to explain what i needed
to the bank teller who told me that he couldn’t understand me

my question: areyou able toccash acheck forme, my check?evni idonthavethough thethebalance availableinmy accountnowwwwaswespeak.

i wanted to curse—
not because i couldn’t think of anything else to say,
but because that was the only thing that i knew would leave my lips clearly.
instead i half-smiled and said thank you.
left the energy between us in shambles
because i knew i must have slaughtered his nerves.

i just want to pour wine for hello, bye and thank you and prop their feet up
for allowing me to at least exit situations a tad bit gracefully,
for when i leave scenes feeling like a martian and people looking at me like one,
but i’m not a martian.
i’m a human,
a natural born citizen with a busted window, broke down car for a mouth,
words and phrases all over the place,
all shoved in one syllable or in a few breaths
then sling-shotted in a person’s face.

everything around me is always rising—
anxiety and discomfort
that’s why i hang onto hello, bye and thank you for dear life—
you can see my nail prints etched in their arms

sometimes i do feel like a chandelier,
too heavy to be dangling.

but those words are all i have

and all that’s had me.



Day 4 of Speech Therapy

today the therapist asked:

what is your ultimate goal for your speech?

i bet he would laugh if i tell him

i wanted to sit in his seat one day.

Oak Morse, a name derived from two separate words. First, oak tree, a sturdy, deep-rooted tree, and a symbol for strength, and groundedness; secondly, Samuel L. Morse the inventor of the telegraph and creator of morse code, a token of the human drive for expression and communication. So hence “deep rooted message”. Oak Morse is a poet, speaker and teacher who has traveled across the Southeast as a poet as well as a teacher of literary poetry. He has a Bachelor of Journalism from Georgia State University. He is the Winner of the 2017 Magpie Award for Poetry for poem Garbage Disposal set to appear in Issue 16 of Pulp Literature. Other work of his has appeared in the Underground, 2015 for the poems Yesterday I Wept and The Passing and on Patch.com for She Tries to Go for Bad, in 2011. While Oak Morse is well known for his performance history, he now is becoming recognized for his recent literary works which aim to bring attention to a contemporary speech disorder diagnosis known as ‘cluttering,’ a diagnosis which Oak has worked tirelessly to overcome. Through determination, persistence and fortitude, and with the aid of the Toastmaster Internationals teams, Oak Morse has not only significantly improved his communication, but has been certified as a Competent Communicator from Toastmaster International. Oak Morse now speaks and serves as an ambassador for cluttering and writes poetry which seeks to engage readers and immerse them into the cluttering experience. Oak currently lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia where he works on his poetry collection titled, When the Tongue Goes Bad. You can find more of his work at www.oakmorse.com

Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer and photographer. His recent work appears at Fiction International and Baphash Literary and Arts Magazine.

One comment

  1. I was very moved by Oak Morse’s poem, “Hello, Bye and Thank You.” As someone who has had a “broke down car for a month,” I was able to relate to the human frustration expressed in the poem. Even we, who speak clearly, know the difficulty of making ourselves understood as we intended.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.