Sunday, May 13, 2018

Three Poems by John Grey

Perfect Guy

He seemed like the perfect guy
but then he got angry over nothing,
slapped you across the face,
damn near broke your jaw.
He said sorry a thousand time.
He didn't know what came over him.

He bought you a cute little puppy
and then shot it with a BB gun.
He asked for your forgiveness,
blamed in on his medication.

So attentive, so caring,
but he stole the money
out of your dresser drawer,
lost it at the track.
He claimed a gambling addiction.
And he agreed with you
that it needed taking care of.

And then he met someone else
and walked out of your life.
His apology arrived via his voice
on your answering machine.
He closed it out by saying
that you were much too good for him.

He was the perfect guy all right.
To be who ho was,
he couldn't have done better.

No More Chance

Streets are empty
but for empty people.
Weather's cold.
None of them need to be
formally introduced
to the chill in the air.
It's winter everywhere
but it's more than winter here.
I lift my head, risk a glance.
Their stares are as icy as the river.

Cop car rolls by.
So how much futility
do you need to feel
before it's a crime?
And what about the likes of me
who's just passing through?
Does sympathy give me a pass
or get me arrested?

There's people out here
who've forgotten their own narrative.
They've got nothing
they can put their signature to.
They go by the names
that other people give them.
Their memories are tied up
in some long-running family court.

I don't need reminding
that the world is broken.
But I get the picture anyhow.
It's rough-haired, red-eyed
and huddled in a ragged coat
handed down from a trashcan.
I leave them some of my uselessness
to go with their hopelessness.
Maybe they can appreciate it.
I don't.

Congratulations, Your Village is Next

villagers trudging through tall grass--
mosquitoes gather
always faceless
slither like the wind

that blows this way
detailed with carcasses
and their kind--
dirty deeds and dirty water

soldiers on their way,
chest high in swamp
dragging artillery
aiming for higher ground

mortar and shell--
the world is old enough
corrupt enough
for dissolution

villagers halfway up a hill
strain their eyes to see
where the next few hours
are coming from

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

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