Friday, September 16, 2016

John Grey Surmounts the Bartering of Bars, Glistening Teardrops, Squirming Stomachs, and Gravity's Behest


I want no part of
the unity in all things,
the woman on the stool next to me
whispered close enough to my ear
to pick its pocket.

That is a real problem, I replied.
I could take you for a lover
but, to be honest,
you are better off right here
where you still exist
in your purest form.

Maybe if I let my hair fall loose,
she added
and I responded,
yes that would get you more on my side
but then you would only see
how vacuous I am.

We both agreed to ask the bartender
for his opinion.
He said, we're all plants
but how we choose to be watered
is our own business.

I then told her plainly
that I am cynical and contrary
and what could I possibly give you
that wouldn't feel like charity.

Yes, as the bartender explained it.
we all have a common origin.
But we learn to give a little or not to give it.
Then would you? she pleaded.
I said but your need is greater
and the trade would not be fair.

Being curious though,
I asked how much she charged.
She said, for an evening of light
and warmth and understanding.
one hundred.
For you, make that two.


The bones are jagged by rock
or buried in mud,
miles upstream.
Only blood makes it down this far.

A trickle at first
to match the glistening teardrops.
Then a swirl or two
for squirming stomachs.

A current mobilizes
a steady stream of crimson,
an opportunity
to truly witness grief.

And finally a flood,
breaking the banks of all resistance,
an offering of red water
to a bitter inland thirst.


The bird is flown. No point staring at the sky.
Man is stuck in man at gravity's behest.
The bird is out of here. So get on with it.
Seed, fertilize, tend, harvest...
it's your best chance. And yes, produce children.
The old home's falling down but the future
has a place. Not a wing in sight.
Just this willing pasture of the generations.
Besides, birds have such a meaningless ascendency.
And being grounded feels like flight in time.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.   

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