Thursday, December 1, 2022



Regarding The Pond


The pond has been here long enough

to be unbothered by thirty years of my absence.


It was unmoved by the three jobs

I held down in that time,


where I was living or the women I dated,

not even the one I almost married.


For thirty years, waters

have flown in and out of the pond


as they did before I was born,

as they will continue to do after I’m gone.


The pond belongs to topography, I to humanity.

All we have in common is belonging.


No Son Of Anyone’s


He no longer maintains contact with his father.

He has no phone number, no email address,

not even a town, a city or a state.

The old man could be living in Togo

or Leavenworth prison.

And who knows what color his hair is –

brown or gray or white.

He might even be totally bald.

And what does he suffer from?

Arthritis? Gallstones? Late-stage cancer?

At night, lying in bed, his mind rotates through

the day at work, an argument with his girlfriend,

the pain in his right shoulder that needs attending to.

He’s a worker, a lover, a patient.

That he could be a son never occurs to him.




Lying in bed,

she makes peace with the dark,

that shadowy complement

to a life long-lived

with the worst of others.


The cars can rumble by,

bats flap against the window,

shots ring out,

fireworks explode,

and werewolves and vampires

burrow deep in books

never again to be opened.


And he’s gone.

The bruises have healed.

The bad memories

are finally outnumbered.


The dark is just a factor of the earth turning,

Not some other turning on her.


How To Take It Out On Yourself


He lies on his bed,

contemplating how to really hurt someone.

Grab hunks of hair and jerk it from the scalp.

Snap an arm like a rotting tree limb.

Rip a nose out of its roots.

Poke a finger in each eye.

An elbow to the ribs.

A straight hook to the jaw.

And why not a boot up the backside

for good measure.

He knows what to do

and even who to do it to.

The last man standing…

who just happens to be lying down.


From A Homeless Man


You've seen me, I'm sure,

deposited on the brown river bank

at low tide,

stumbling here, lolling there,

totaling up the losses in my head.


I have made a life's work

of collapsing in a heap

of bottles and cans

and day old half-eaten hamburgers,


Nowhere is there solace,

not even in my memory,

those brief flashes from the dark pit.


I am unreasonable

in your eyes.

I struggle to find shelter

where you can't see me.

Like in a flophouse.

Or a grave.


I'm weary so I will make a bed

of newspapers to lie on

Somewhere out of sight of course.


Your comfort means everything to me.




JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Red Weather. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Washington Square Review and Open Ceilings

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