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.
THE GRAVITY SITUATION
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.
A MEMORY OF BELGRADE
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
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. ***