My contribution may be considered marginal

but I once carried an anti-war placard in a march

and I did say sweet thing to a girl who’d never heard such nonsense before

and I wrote a poem about the history of the crapper

and praised the band Love when no one else did –

there are certain things that will endure

like the word “endure” itself,

whereas one I coined, “bellarico”

to describe a half-Italian, half-Spanish woman will not

and people will continue to be rained on,

woken up in the night by a partner’s snores

and stopped by the cops for speeding –

1 just don’t see myself in any of that-

I do wish at times I’d made a bigger impact

but my wife once confessed that I do make her happy from time to time

and she has never once referred to me by the phrase “minimal impact”

for which I should be grateful –

not consequential but grateful.



Another dream of flying –

why can’t 1 save some of this for the day

when gravity has at me

no matter whether I’m walking, sitting or lying down.

My night, my imagination,

has it all over work and family, even romance.

Sad but with one of your soft, wet kisses on my lips,

I can’t levitate worth a damn.

I should have known when I bought this house,

leased the car, signed the marriage license,

that I’d be earthbound,

that Newton would call the aerial shots, not me.

But, at three a.m., you should have seen me.

I was soaring over rooftops,

across lakes, flitted in and out of the forest canopy,

even through the mountain passes.

It got so I couldn’t see the point of ever landing.

But then I woke.

The sun broke through, lit up the room.

Reality, that unfeeling prison guard,

put me back in my stripes.

You rolled over, gave me a hug.

“I love you,” you whispered.

Yeah, you and gravity both.



Cruel remembrance

life on my own

looking back red and yellow

through the brain’s rotting flesh

relying on dead conversations

and the solemn battlefields

a boyhood home turns dark gray

carved up by violent wrecking balls

by winter’s inevitable frozen eye

I fall from my feet

into an empty chair

unknown to anyone current

echoes like notches on a poor man’s pistol

a total collapse of time

just puddles and

children going through the splashing motions

or tossing rocks

at their own desolation

comatose in the ruins of death

broken by tears

and fire-wreaked heirlooms

in the shadow of

assassin statues

in the sick town square

ten thousand scars

to share among so few.



***John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review. ***  


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