Poetry from John Grey


Wild wind blowing the work you left half-completed,
as for climate change – anywhere to be seen,
to atone for the founding of the wash of the sea,
the stamp of Darwin -

blood clots swim like chop! chop!
owls cook in Alaskan skies,
curling smoke escapes Earth
from epoch to epoch -

faith in Armageddon floods the bayou,
frenzied spiders on the skin chant 
get up, old man, despite the hard pressing on your heart,
the toxic exhaust smell in your trembling farts –

leaking penis, legs less mobile than the midday sun,
moonstruck memories trail behind their mad mothers.
sun brings you up to date on the plague,
now merely the old man on the street corner of 7th and 7th –

in a past a charted obligation,
now, a cancer patient dons his American Gothic garb,
trudges across unplowed fields,
soil sings, soil sweats -

more shouting, that showcase of human condition,
sky closes its jaw on the steel confusion of cities,
tears fall, spark the interest of the grass,
Frankenstein is almost done making his monster –

a brand of human species born to a feral bitch,
standing here in the atheist line 
with the toadstool, the iguana and the hermit crab,
lightning in the clouds – wake up old man,

wave your white bandana, your tired hospital gown,
your well-earned stigmata, welcome to the 21st century, 
where even the nipples are made of clay,
where history bows beneath the onslaught.


Trees flare,
green abundance,
white and pink and violet

Birds nest in every fork.
Time moves on
but such a verdant struggle
to make it stay.

Welcome fullness, 
a return to immortality 
for lovers on a woodland walk.

Wildflower, fingers, 
skittering rabbits, legs - the trick is to tell us apart.


It's a major event surely.
It should be jack-hammered into marble
by poets on a metaphor bender.
What is civilization doing at the moment?
Shouldn't they be involved?
At the very least,
it demands a parade and streamers,
people hanging out of office buildings,
schoolgirls lining the route.
And where's the mayor? The governor?
And who's the president anyhow?
Fireworks have a reason for living.
Marching bands are hot to trot.
Shouldn't we pick and choose from
the Hollywood A list for our hosts?
This makes every other declaration of feelings
look like outtakes from The Little Rascals.
I'm expecting to be called up to the podium
any moment now.
Don't worry. We both can grip, hold up the statue,
thank everything from soul to heart to head.
I can just hear the critics.
"Made me think of summer days,
blue lakes, Schwinn bicycles and the
pretty blonde girl in the hip-hugging jeans."
I'm on stage. You're on stage.
And what an audience…
just the two of us.
Why don’t we keep it to ourselves.


You’re beautiful.
It’s written in the stars,
in the stares.

Men turn their heads
when you walk by.

Not just the usual wolves
in hard hats and orange jackets,
but the dignified,
the older gents,
stiff and proud-faced,
who look as if they’ve just come
from having their portraits painted.

I’m with the stares of course
but I also confer with the stars.

Aldebaran shines brighter than
anything else in the field of Hyades.
I wonder if you feel responsible.


April is on my side.
Alpine asters bloom.
Nuthatch slips down the oak trunk
in a blush of sun.
And is that a bee?
Listen close.
It’s a sound flower petals recognize.

Grass creeps up my ankle.
Narcissus glow yellow.
Boy fishermen drop their lines.
A fox slinks through the sumac.

The landscape is a living almanac.
It’s new and familiar.
Last summer’s heart beats
in the new year.
No more ice.
So the ground can be trusted.

Raccoons forage.
Sparrows move into the gutters.
Promises are revelations.
The lake glows horizon red.
Milkweed reasserts itself.

There’s still a shiver about.
But shining is a warmth in itself.
Just ask the primroses, the peach rose.
The sun is like a loving parent,
gripping my hand
and leading me out the door.

Where snow has long melted,
animal secrets emerge.
Life opens itself up to color.
Like a hint of violet
and drops of silver parachuting down.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Red Weather. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Rathalla Review and Open Ceilings.


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