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Poetry by JOHN GREY



I was a bouncer
at a strip club.
1 had the personality
of a hard mattress.
My eyes
were cubes of ice.
And yet,
I sat by the riverbank
and became part of the flow. 

I was a mercenary
who turned his guns
on women and children.
My cheekbones were sharp
and a tight little smile
turned my teeth into
biting machines.
And yet I closed my eyes
and became a blade of grass,
a shiny pebble,
a sliver of tree trunk. 

I was a cheap hood
and a pimp
for a dozen runaways.
I didn't walk so much
as slither down the sidewalk.
When 1 hit 'em
they stayed hit.
And yet, a tiny glade,
a pocket-handkerchief sized
stretch of greenery
consumed me
and made me its own.

This is a warning
to other guys like me
who are sleepy and weary
and feel like they
need to take a rest someplace.
Avoid nature at all costs...
human nature excepted
of course.



A vision, all in blue
and her brown hair cresting
on her shoulders,
is walking my way
like a ripened flower that just
uprooted from its garden,
ready to give life among
the weeds a try. 

This young woman.
even before she passes me.
is already embedded
in my memory banks.
someone I can refer back to
in years to come.
as the one flight
of feminine beauty
that astonished me
above all others. 

Of course it's all
surface impression.
She could have a nasty streak
as long as lightning.
But it's a warm day,
blazing with sunshine,
lush surrounds,
giddy mood -
I leave the depths
to scuba divers. 

On I walk
and off she goes
in the opposite direction.
totally out of my life.
But I saw and that was enough for me.
There's a reason they call it "looks."



The bathroom tap is dripping.

I have always been
the resident genius of this household. 

I continue to admire my keen knowledge
of art, music and literature. 

And not forgetting my intimate acquaintance
with the sciences
from the most complex concepts
of quantum physics
to why a tap drips. 

I call the plumber.
Though 1 could fix it myself,
I worry where that might lead. 

I might find myself contradicting Einstein.
Or pointing out the faults in "War And Peace. 

He replaces a washer.
No more annoying noise. 

I sleep peacefully.
You would too if you were me.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. He has recently been published in Examined Life JournalEvening Street Review and Columbia Review and has work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Visions International.  

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with John on the Orson’s Publishing blog.