Monday, July 1, 2019




I live here because
I have no roots in this place,
no family.
I cannot offend the ones I love,
only complete strangers.
So anything goes.
I adore this role of gypsy.
I think differently,
act differently,
to all these other people.
We all have hearts
and minds no doubt,
are equal in body parts,
but the sum of me
does not total up
to anyone I see around here.
I can be unpredictable,
play any role that suits.
I model myself after the chameleon.
See me change before your very eyes.
Yes, I get lonely.
And I hate myself
for not trying to fit in more.
But I don’t want anyone
else telling me that
I am a minority of one.
Only I can be
prejudiced against me.


It’s not much of a town
and the surrounding landscape
awaits the one
who knows what to do with it.

There’s people live here
and I know all their names.
I’m welcome in every house
bar one or two.

There’s a mindset
that we are not part of anything,
certainly not of some union
centered far to east or the west
or anyplace we will never travel to.
And yet there are roads in
and thre are roads out.

We do have our boundaries –
this desert,
disobedient, recalcitrant,
dry as the bones of the dead.
Nobody could want it
and yet someday
somebody will.

It’s not safe.
War gnaws at my imagination
like the cries of crickets.
So everything must be defended.
Even what’s not worth defending.
Even this.


I really do believe the birds are here at my behest,
that, even if there was no seed in that swaying feeder,
the cardinals would still perch on the oak tree branch,
spread their red crests,
the nuthatches would prance daintily down the bark,
house 1 inches squabble, chickadees chatter,
for the important thing is that my quota of nature
must be filled on a daily basis,
that connection constantly reestablished
otherwise there's just the close cut lawn,
the high fence and the house at back,
and they're not here for me.
You just think that it's survival
has them flock here every morning,
that they need the energy food to keep
them flying, procreating, raising young,
nudging the species forward.
But no, at best, they've come to
confirm my precious role in the environment.
At worst, they're here
to glimpse me at the window,
admire a bird contented in its capture.


JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Muse, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes Review.

No comments :

Post a Comment