John Grey

by John Grey


Her point of inquiry is not sex
but how you can love a man
older than most city blocks,
with more gray than brown flecks
in his hair and beard,
belly hung over his belt
and deep creases beneath the eyes.

It’s not the birds and bees so much
as tell me what to do when birds
fly for necessity not joy, bees no longer
have the heart for buzzing in the garden.
She’s heard the naked stuff from kids at school,

looks to you for when clothes not only
gather up around the body
but are relieved to be there.
You tell her how you sometimes take out
the photo albums, thumb slowly
through pictures of her father as a young man.
Camera never lies, you say.
So the trick is, don’t be a camera.


Will I end up as someone else after all?
A screw-up for example?
Is the process already in motion,
the long slow descent from this current plane
where I invariably get things right
to where nothing I do is of benefit to anybody,
and I drop what’s in my hands
or poison what I touch?
I never thought the plateau could be temporary,
that the good honest feel of my feet on the ground
was just precursor to my toppling over the precipice.
I have love on my side, don’t I?
And the muscle in my arm? And the paycheck?
I get suspicious when Gale asks me
to undo the storage jar for her.
Why now? Why not ten years from now?


What came first,
the woman or the poem…

was I kissing,
was I writing,
was that pleasure or rhyme,
the exhilaration
of phrases meshed perfectly together
or flesh set hourglass-like
on bone

when I proposed,
was I already
into thinking
that the perfect love poem
could live forever
while I’d give the perfect love
no longer than a year

or was
it the other way around,
love the true poetry,
that stuff in print
merely jealous reportage

only a sheet of honest paper
tucked inside fifty lying others
knows for sure

and she won’t see it
now she’s gone
so what came last…

that poem about her
or this poem about
the poem about her


Orange milkweed,
sounds like lactate’s
gone citrus in the breast
or the cow’s been nibbling
on the day-lilies again.

But it’s just one more wildflower,
airy stalks flattered by breeze,
oblong watery leaves,
tiny star-like clusters
scoped by butterflies.

And meadow beauty,
not someone I’m too shy
to speak to
but bright-pink heart-shaped petals.
Solomon’s seal,
greenish-white bells
silently tinkling,
but no treasure.

Such a field in my head,
bloomed by suggestion
but resistant to sniffing and plucking.


You look out the window,
at a company-hired world,
unduly pressured by its policy
toward your shrunken resume.

Snow and ice,
rain and sun,
you help identify what
they are not –
the weather within you.

The forecast calls for
wondering, unforgiving,
pacing with no lights on,
maybe slamming your fist
into a wall or two.

And still you stare
at all that runs smooth,
all that has no plans for you.
It’s the business of life.
They’re hiring from without.

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Sanskrit and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Freshwater, Pennsylvania English and Nerve Cowboy.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published thirteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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