Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John Grey

Three Poems


Hold this thought... love...

is that a roach I see stepping out
for some clandestine relationship
with the grit beneath the stove

& have you seen this month's
electric bill
or the second gray hair in my head

&what about
the tiny missives the dog left
in the parlor
on the kitchen floor

yes Yorkies are adorable
but shit is historically
lacking in admirers

&from historic
to hysteric
over... what was it last time...
the air in the tire?

no, the visit from my mother
or was it your mother
or a stranger's mother
but who can tell the difference these days

&the roach is dancing and singing
a medley from "Top Hat" on the sideboard

&there's a crack in the wall
from one more failed picture hanging
&the picture we did hang right
we both hate anyway

are you still holding that thought?

& the meals
I undercook crap
you burn crap

& that may be your favorite song
but it's a dirge if you must know
&why can I never find the Zappa l.p.s
yes the scratchy ones I've owned for centuries

that's right centuries
you know what a century is?
it's a year living with somebody

& let's not forget the dirty laundry
with our nostrils
we don't have to

or the rumbled attempts at drunken sex
last night
or was it the night before

&the last time we ate out
lousy Italian
and sauce down my shirt

I hope you're holding that thought
because, if you're not...

anyway, if we ever recorded that roach
we could make a killing
if it doesn't spread enough disease
to kill us first

&what about morning breath
or the morning puffiness of eyes
or the morning pissed off about just about everything

but I have faith
faith that you can hold a thought
even if the roach
is doing the samba
on your toes

la cucaracha la cucaracha

in case you don't remember
the thought for today is love


One day, you will know what men can do to women.
A female friend will call you, late at night,

pleading, "Come over. I need someone to talk to."
You'll sit with her in the kitchen, sipping coffee,

saying, for the fiftieth time, "Should I call an ambulance.
Should I call the cops." She'll say, "No. Please.

I don't want to make trouble. "Then what do you. do.
You're not a doctor. You're not the law. And you're

afraid your sympathies are not enough to soothe
one bruise, heal even the slightest of cuts.

And who says he won't do this to her again.
You're not a fortune teller. You don't even ask her

...if you should call one.


Winter flowers I have to myself,
in a room kept hot, with my nose bent
into all their selfish splendor.
The snow outside can't sniff my pink carnations.
Bitter wind is not to know the jewels
of red and white and sun-like yellow.
Nor the people who trudge down the street,
all rugged up in their jackets and long-Johns.
Not even the ones who knock at my door,
want to read the meter, take a survey,
or sell me something.
At best, I'll sit them in the kitchen
where nothing is alive.
But I will never show what I have growing
when all else in the world is dead and buried.
Family have tried to see. So have strange men
with nothing better to do but think that love exists
beyond the hoary age of sixty.
Love is just what people thought they could grow
in frozen soil in the last days of December.
But beauty, I know all about beauty.
It blooms. It blossoms. Just don't expect me to share it with you.

© John Grey 2014

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Stoneboat and US1 Worksheets with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and Soundings East.

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