Saturday 7 May 2022

Five Poems by John Grey



The flood's retreated

and the land's a sea of mud.

These are mud avenues.

The houses are mud houses.

People shovel large chunks

of that black stuff

out their first floor windows,

boot it through the front of their stores.

Tractors are freeing up

the main street.

Anything trapped inside

those fat, dark cakes

is just-shoved aside.

It is instant graves

for all inanimate things.

It is memories choked and swallowed,

piled up on top of each other.

It is something that might

have happened anyway

but here's a ton of silt

to help with the cause.

Everyone's inside their rotting rooms

threatening to start again.

Everything smells of mud

even with the mud gone.

Everything smells like

the beginning of a new world

for mud and all its people





Unattainable desire.


The crazies are crazy.

The crazies are crazy.

They always will be.


And how inspiring

it to be lying on my bed naked

drunk and saying someone’s name

over and over?


If I roll around enough,

does this get to be

the banks of a river?


I am such a treat.

She won’t accept treats.


A sick stomach is fine

but I need to get back

to my visions.


This apartment is a start.


It looks out

on a graffiti-covered wall.





There goes the hawk

that kills songbirds.


Its wings fly free.

I live in an attic.


I’ve got brains

but I’m always so edgy.


I need to get comfortable

no matter the situation.


Proximity is my new mantra.

It helps when looking for love.


Nothing distracts me more

than that hawk.


It bears the trills of thousands in its gut

but it doesn’t sing.


And here’s me, with my one tune,

duetting with a bar of soap.


Where are the fitful, laughing women

with blouses to unbutton?


The hawk sets aside the pigeons

for winter when food is scarce.


I’m like my own planet up here.

Space travel has yet to be invented.


If the hawk sees something yellow,

he just takes it.


Even with my eyes closed,

I am still a voyeur.





I have not done

it yet.


It is out there.

Like footsteps.

Like drumsticks.


By day,

I’m confused

by bright lights,

can’t quite focus.


At night.

it comes so close

but I’m too weary

to respond.


I don’t know

if it is even worth doing.


But it speaks

in footsteps.

In drumsticks.

And that’s not its story.





A puppet

keeps right on jerking.


Nothing is

its decision.


Its mind

is a string.


Its senses

are unseen hands.


It dances to the beat

of a foreign object

in an eye.


Or a rear-ender.

Or a letter from

a lawyer’s office.


A puppet’s voice

comes down

from cardboard clouds.


A puppet

has no say

in what it says.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.




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