Poems by John Grey



Such a mix
at her party—

one worshiped
his own genius.
another was too flippant.
a third was
a freethinker,
a fourth, a savant.
The combination
could only be uncomfortable.
And throw in a hypocrite.
a born pessimist,
the usual boorish academics,
and even the weather
could not settle
on rain or sunshine.
the party-giver
was asking too much,
relied on diversity
as a crutch.
ended with discordance instead.
It’s morning now.
Time to restore order.
It’s hard work.
There are crumbs, stains,

glasses, ash to clean up.
But no blood
or strips of skin at least.
The flagellator couldn’t make it.



Burn incense in your parlor.
Pass your way and not deceive.
Bring dawn with me whenever I arrive.
Be stronger, purer, clearer
than just about anything in the world.

How about green leafy trees
and a horse on the horizon.
Jingling spurs.
An upbeat heart.
And maybe figs from the Middle East.

I am in this business of doing.
So I could have a river run by your house
where no river ever ran before.
Or offer laurel branches.
Okay, so if you don’t want the bugler
I’ll pay the man not to play.

What about something manifesting itself
out of the mist on a lake.
Or a moon in sparkling flight.
A sudden song.
Blue spaces.
A drift into the deepest of slumbers.

I do kisses.
I peel oranges.
I am a caretaker.
And I can tame a snarling dog.
I can offer you tea when you’re exhausted.
Jet you off to Paris when you’re not.

I can prepare a part of your home
that’s strictly for lovers.
Vibrate your flesh gently.
Turn your feelings on the tip of a tongue.
Remember this is all about you
and only incidentally about me.

So what can I do for you?
Tell me
or someone else will hear.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly, with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes Review.


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