a poetry e-zine










Poems By John Grey



Outer-space above, me below,

can't get home fast enough,

run a red light here and there,

an old song on the radio

channeling my foot on the accelerator,

every song like a prayer

as I enter the straightaway,

a little frayed, some bits of me

hanging on like kids on a running board,

but enough together

to test this tarmac's aptitude for thunder.


And all around me, there's

high trees of fire-night smoke,

ocean drowning in its own roll,

no rain, no wind, just flattening,

and miles, the fluttering threads

of last night's dreams.


Why the call now? I don't know.

And across the distance

that now holds all this love for me?

Up from the southwest,

regrets, anger, stupidity, all untangling.

Don't even need the song really.

Just the prayer.


Hope has first dibs on the driveway.

Forgiveness will answer the door.

Two years has it been,

two years and stop counting right now.

For time claims to be the ultimate wound healer.

And I take time at its word.







Her face against the glass

of the kitchen aquarium.

she watches fish swim in endless circles.

Better than the black-haired doll she says.

the ones whose hands she waves.

legs she kicks.

Try as her imagination might.

it can't get that bundle

of rag and stuffing

to be much more than death.

But this is a good game.

fish always on the move,

going somewhere even if it's just

where they are coming from.


And in the next room.

relatives are eating and sobbing.

mourning and chattering ..

The widow slides her wedding band

up and down her finger

like sending signals to her skin.

her cold knuckles.

Did they have to bury him in that suit,

she asks herself

And why the glasses?

He was always embarrassed by his failing eye-sight.

And such a panic ...

what to tell the child.


They would not let the little one see the body.

She can be amused by fish instead.

The water's clean.. the skin is golden.

And nothing's always doing something.



John Grey has been published recently in the Talking River, South Carolina Review and Karamu with work upcoming in Prism International, Poem and the Evansville Review.

Copyright 2011  Chantarelle's Notebook