John Grey Returns

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.



So it smelled of elephant piss

and stale peanuts.

It was the circus.

I pressed my eye up

against a knot-hole just to watch.


And the lion tamer

was more like a slumlord

with all those poor felines

in cramped cages

but my heart beat like a boy

running from the cops.


I saw a clown

in costume but not face-painted.

And a horse-back rider

adjusting her bra-strap.

And the sour-faced ringmaster

was puffing on a cigarette

while a huge fly

dipped its feeler in the popcorn butter.


Grit and grime.

No, magic and color.

Cruelty and sawdust.

No, excitement and glamor.

I saw the circus for what it is.

But that wasn’t what I really saw.






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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