"Luckily No One Lost Power," "Three Guys," and "Trailer Guy"

Luckily No One Lost Power

One boom
and a town crumbles
to its shaky knees -
in kitchen after kitchen,
suffering hands
are forced into prayer -
yellow lightning
rocks a cradle -
cavernous thunder
stains a young boy's jeans -
men stomp into houses
like elephants,
red-faced and cursing
and swinging their fists -
up and down the street,
some pay with a bruise on the face,
a blackening of the eye,
a few just hide
from the fake storm
like they never would
with a real one.



Three Guys

Three guys
broke into his apartment.
Two held him
while the other
shoved a pillow over his face.
His life ended right there
but that wasn’t the end of it
for the three guys.
One guy went  back to the car
for the large canvas bag.
Then the three of them
struggled to squeeze his body into it,
carried it down stairs,
and tossed it into the trunk.
Then they drove
to the old quarry
and tossed him in.
His name was Ricky
and the consensus was
that he had it coming to him.
He was a no-good
who had upset the wrong people.
No one gets to live long
after that.
Neighbors kept thinking
about how something similar
should happen to the
used car salesman
who stuck them with a lemon
or the husband who walked out
on his wife
or the shoddy plumber
or the clumsy hairdresser
or the punk kids on the sidewalk.
But three guys
were never around
when they needed them.



Trailer Guy

Look at this.
Dead diamond-back rattler.
Hung it across the porch-rail.
It goes with the buck
roped to the top of my truck.
No wonder the kids come around.
I take a pinch
from my tin and watch them.
“Wow,” says one.
“You kill him?”
Shot him in the head.
Threaten me, would he.
The deer didn’t know what hit him.
Pretty fair rack, huh.
Of course,
the kids make fun of my teeth
behind my back.
I’ve heard them.
So what’s a few gaps in the uppers.
I can still chew.
But they like my tattoos well enough.
For some of them,
Angelina is the only naked woman
they’ve ever seen.
I flex my muscle
and she even belly-dances.
And I cuss
even when they’re around.
But I don’t beat
the shit out of them
like their old man does.
I only pick on guys my own size,
the drunker the better.
They even listen to my war stories.
Exaggerated of course.
But why not.
I was there, wasn’t I.
Even working kitchen detail,
I could have got my ass blown off.
I’ve had my run-ins with the law.
Armed robbery.
Now I’m reformed. Kinda.
Children can’t get enough
of the delicious details.
Of course, I got no wish
that they should go through that themselves.
I’m the guy
folks round here make an example of.
Someone to stay away from.
That’s why the young ones hang with me.
Look, I admit I’m no prize.
I live in a trailer.
I drive a heap of rust.
I’m always between jobs.
And I’m ugly as a squirrel’s ass.
But I got a right to live
the way I choose.
If you don’t like it,
then be warned…
your kids do.



John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Sheepshead Review. Latest books, Between Two Fires, Covert and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, La Presa and California Quarterly.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, October 11, 2021 - 22:10