September 1, 2014

Poetry: A Selection Of Three Poems by John Grey

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Slant, Southern California Review and Natural Bridge with work upcoming in the Kerf, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.


wham crash,
who slammed that door?
don't tell me it was the wind,
Gretchen —
that must be your tenth door slam
this month –

jeezus, Gretchen,
we can't even have a simple conversation
without your systole/diastole
getting all out of whack,
and now look what you've done,
the dog's gone crazy –

remember all our other fights -
insist, prod, jeer, venerate, kiss and soar -
sometimes, there's even sex at the end –
go ahead, sulk all you like,                                                  
I know how it ends -

we're in each others arms,
we're curled up on the bed,
it feels all that much better
for where it all started from -

me wanting sex
and you saying
that's all I ever think about -

not true,
I think about the journey
just as much –

you must as well
otherwise this house would have
more functioning hinges.



Not a disease - that's a relief -
but a condition
so I equate it with feelings
rather than jaundice and meningitis.

But the pamphlets suggest otherwise.
As do the prescriptions.
Follow up appointment?
I never needed one of those
for sobbing at a good friend's wedding.

And I remember my mother's table-side confession:
I need a hip replacement.
And my sister bringing home her diagnosis -
I'm a diabetic.

These were judgments in their way.
The doctor as supreme court -
your blood pressure is an affront to the constitution.

So the penny has landed on the floor
and continues to echo.
I'm just another version of
the limping woman,
the needle wielder pricking blood.

And wasn't there a cousin
who drank Cokes morning until sleep?
And an aunt who lost her hair?
And a neighbor confined to a wheelchair?

So it's not something
that comes and then goes -
misery in the middle
but light at both ends.

No, it's like love
taking love pills.
A tablespoon of hope
for hope to swallow twice a day.
My blood pressure's high.
Well same goes for the rest of me.



Faint afterglow of dress,
orange-pink of cheek,
in twilight mist.

As swallows fade into trees,
the gentle rustle
of another cape,
uncoupled by dark breeze.

They're all around
but they're not with you.

Your hours are massaged
by heartbeat, breath,
by how long it is
before you fall asleep
in that veranda chair.

Look there,
down by the boathouse,
eyes that are very still,
slate-gray, flecked by evening stars.

And, on the lake itself,
a woman who is all water
rippling as she tip-toes.

Maria, Angela, Dahlia, Christine -
when whispered,
names are loneliness.


~John Grey

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