Thursday, January 7, 2016

Three Poems by John Grey

Shooting the Messenger

Such a long time between letters,
I garroted three mailmen.
Now it's all about email.
When the missives don't pop into my box,
whose knuckles do I smash?
If the voice intones, "You have mail"
and it's only spam,
who is the intermediary
that needs their head scalped,
their liver removed?
Is there a programmer somewhere
in the world
who should be ingesting my poison?
I'm weary of those who
are just doing their job.
From now on, I will shoot every messenger
who comes within firing range.
If people I know won't take the time
then strangers must suffer the consequences.
I can't get at those who neglect me.
And I need to take it out on someone.
Of course, there's always myself.
But I already hear it from me.

Poem to the Others in this Coffee Shop

with work on the walls of their brother's cafe,
dress-code picturing their future,
cussing Draconian schools and family,
on the page, an ants' nest of scribble,
playing the petal game with sips of Java . . .
genius or not--genius or not--
recognizing their surrounds as theater,
parlaying the ubiquitous I--
I admonish you--
I deserve your attention--
I create new laws on flowers and bodies--

this look, this creation, is for you--
my patrons, my buyers, my historians--
all you futurists--
dance tributes on my grave--
exchange my rumpled locks,
my day-old beard,
red-lined eyes, scruffy clothes,
for a self-portrait in MOMA--

doubt in secret, skulking in attics,
their fleshy canvas no match
for the ravishing success beauty--


The smallest of herds, a buck, a doe, and one yearling,
nibbled the moist grass at the edge of the field.

The buck's head, heavy under antlers, still
knew enough to look in all directions,

the many ways from which danger could come,
the deer trail through the brush that promised safety.

I kept my distance, but close enough to witness
sunset bathing coats in deep resplendent colors:

first a sharp red, then a smoldering orange,
and finally a mottled blue to match the rising moon.

The world had more than enough reasons to move on:
the dark, my hunger, the inherent insecurity of wild things.

But it took a chance on my wonder, their exquisite trust.
The earth did turn but inward as I remember.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident.  Recently published in New Plains Review, Mudfish and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature.

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