John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple and Clade Song.
"Dairy Aisle Mortality" and "The Leader of His People"
All I can do is stay alive.
The hills demand it.
The sparrow song asks for this above all.
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"Duck for Two" and "The Same Man"
There's no real air in any of these wards.
Everything is permeated with well-meaning poisons.
I stand at the window but the outside
may as well be a million miles away.
are for anyone who
No, make that needs one.
"Champagne for Two" and "Boys' Names"
as her wrists ache,
and eyes accede
more and more to memory –
"The Man Who Was Here then Wasn't" and "The Other America"
There was an America
of red brick with limestone trim.
It was small, overcrowded,
and stood, in upper New York Bay,
at the edge of that other vast America.
"Bad Neighborhood" and "First Thing in the Morning"
a big black savage dog
is chained to the axle
of a rusty Ford
in the overgrown front lawn
of a dilapidated house
The Ones Who Frequent Ace's
The bar is stained with alcohol
with a mirror behind
so it looks as if there’s twice as many bottles
as there really are.
"Neighborhood Fire" and "A Hospital Joke"
Everyone sleeps but him.
A gaunt though alert face
turns this way, that way,
looking for someone
to tell his jokes to.
"Teenage Years," "Just Boys Being Boys," and "Son of a Stranger"
They were young.
Maybe not the brightest.
But among the most intrepid.
They were not Hitler youth.
Their motto wasn’t “Blood and Honor.”