John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Main Street Rag and Spoon River Poetry Review.
|Lightning Strikes in the Meadow|
A SUNDOWN SLEEP
Having crossed meadow,
as I must, as the meadow must also,
animal fears the gentle man it smells
as my father said in 1972,
ah yes, the meadow,
like a bathrobe around earth's body
that I doff at forest's edge,
eyes like frayed lamps,
face as threadbare as a bum's coat,
flames receding, float a little way
then bed down as stars appear,
sometimes clinging thin and sparse,
my tiredness contains a natural buzz,
folds gently as I pour myself in tree roots,
a sparkling grass-head downing slugs of whiskey,
find large bare patch around a tough looking oak tree,
hang my flesh like a line of half-washed clothes,
skin with that luminous pale liquid edge,
still-warm ground beneath me,
pouring into the vegetation on all sides,
brush and wildflowers that gulp me down
as sweet as soft-flamed nectar,
while thoughts tap-tap against the cracked brain wall,
that is neither here nor there,
merely joyously drowsy,
afternoon breeze sharp and cool as a stickpin,
the smell of old resin hangs in the air,
wild body calmed for another night, another year,
to rise from ground, travel to the air
in a pure white line,
vague as the ghost waves
that dance above the forest trail,
a bright color where lightning leaves off,
a visceral elevation,
sleep on it or walk through,
in the lair of the wilderness
is a den unto myself.
What aroma morning...
is it a perfume that escapes you?
Like how love breaks free of fear, rekindles dawn.
Oh woman of that hour when love's shining through
more brilliant than sun through any window,
woman, under soft sheets,
open to the poor fool's arms,
my breath, it's trembling; yours, the winds of calm.
How odd this face, ugly as stone,
may join your kisses
in the clinch of daybreak.
I'm just the mouth that sprouts da//led words,
a messy dweller in your ear, your eye,
bleak intervals in your golden path.
From a dream racked by loss and lamentation,
I'm on a voyage where dread repatriates,
and, despite the godlessness of dark,
I rejoin the flock of golden days.
There's something else, has to be,
beyond my life, beyond all lives.
like the stars are beyond the earth,
so beyond the vast fits into nothing I know,
not even my imagination.
I think this every now and then.
It doesn't consume me.
Most of the time, I get by on the
bed feeling soft, the ceiling being
high as it is, the ground to my
footsteps hard or giving, wet or dry.
But I'm alone at home and the lights fail.
Or I'm out in the fields, after rain,
when clouds crack and light breaks through.
Those times I ask myself,
"Why is everything so hidden from me?"
If there's something else, I can die in good conscience.
I can live like other's opinions of me don't count.
I can tell myself that people in the next world,
in parallel universes, or even at the farthest edges
of our own, don't know or care about me.
I can tell myself or something else can tell me.