John Grey

By John Grey

On this gray beach of sand and pebble,
Raymond, in yellow polo-neck sweater,
shabby shorts, bare feet,
catches some Autumn sun.

Be thankful, someone whispers,
that you’re not him.
That’s how he exists these days…
in the un-thanks, the un-blessings, of others.

He runs like a gull.
He floats like a loon.
His jaw sloshes back and forth
like a pelican
with pouch full of fish.
He buzzes here and there
like a yellow-jacket.
What need we have nature
when we have him?

So what’s next on his agenda?
To mate with the crab?
To crawl on the sea-bed like a mollusk?
To slither like a sea snake?
Or to kill like the eagle?
Or be killed as the mouse?

Be careful, someone says.
These are the beaches of your mind.


In the night she drifts
up and down the halls.
After a while, she enters
my room and stares at my bed.
The moonlight clings to her face.
I look up from dreaming
and my senses, though
drugged and drowsy, still
rush to her. I think of
lakes, the bending of knees,
of ankles soaking and
dresses flared and floating
like driftwood. “Go to sleep,”
she whispers, as if waking me
is not the point of her being here,
I’m glad though that she’s
not in her coffin, that it’s
not totally dark for her.
She’s allowed to be a white
light in old sleeping grounds.
She can cling to the bedposts,
to the handles of the dresser
drawers, to the specks of dust
that float and sparkle like
columns of stars. “Is anything
the matter?” she asks. She
makes me believe that people
who aren’t here can still help.
A word comes to the edge of my
throat, like a woman to the
lip of the waters. It dips
into sound like a toe in the
cool ripple. I feel like
a white-lace flounce
floating in her name.


They row with such insistence,
you’d think their arms were perpetual machines.
Every sinew stretched,
they’re like rippling steel
on scaffolding of bone.
Taut backs, cold eyes, red knuckles
almost surgically attached to oars,
they hit the water like they’re demanding
it paddle as hard as they.
I watch them from the banks,
all in unison,
their stroke, my heartbeat.

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Oyez Review.


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 fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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