Saturday, February 21, 2015

John Grey- Three Poems


The driveway circles a rocky outcrop.
No matter how rich you are,
granite doesn't take orders.

Out of the car,
legs like stumps growing
out of my own footprints,
I look up at the
north side of a huge frame house,
twice as wide, as high,
as the one I live in,
rough pine shingles
weeding out the weather,
brown with cream trimmings,
stained glass windows,
projecting staircase block
down to snow's deep silence.

But if the eye's to stay with a home,
it must have its color:
ochre, dark olive, chocolate and rust -
shades of sensitivity.
And if there's a need to feel poor,
count the cornices.

How do you knock on the door of such a place?
What right has this fist?
A circular alcove, dark entrance ~
this is not the way to any place that will have me.

Maybe I should think of myself as granite,
the felsic, igneous rock that holds up these fortunes.
Hello there, I’m more than just your daughter's date.
I'm a tor, a massif.
If it wasn't for the likes of me,
you'd be living at the bottom of a sink hole.

I can see Anna through the second floor window.
Once I would have tossed a pebble to get her attention.
But I don't want to leave my feet just yet.


This is the story my tongue sat on way back then.
I had an audience ready and waiting, eager to hear every detail.
I could have been big man in school yard.
Anyway, we're seated together in the dark back seats of the movie theater.
No, I haven't got to third base. But I've made contact
and, with my speed, I figure there's a good chance of an infield hit.
Christine's beautiful. And classy. Maybe too classy for baseball metaphors.
But she breathes in my right ear. And I'm so nervous, she
breathes for both of us, I look down at my hands. How creepy they are
in the shadow. Like giant spiders. Are these the creatures I want
to represent me down the contours of her knee? They wouldn't know
what to look for, and if they did come across something worthwhile
by accident, they'd have no clue what to tell my brain.
I'm thinking maybe I should grow up a little first.
But then how do I keep her close and interested until I do.
I try to watch the movie. It was her choice. Syrupy music. Older people
making love. She sighs when stars kiss, tenses up when they don't.
It's as if she's up there on the screen while I'm pinioned
between arm rests. Luckily the other woman shows up and
the love-fest is disrupted. Christine is clearly disappointed.
I put my arm around her to comfort her. Her head falls on my shoulder.
I'm thinking wait until I tell my buddies about this. But then it hits me...
no... no...for the first time in my life…wait until I don't.


How much of this can I take...
the old man's bony hands
reaching down to
grasp the child's pink fingers.
How much symbolism
can one man possibly
consume in a day,
one who should be
looking back,
making the most
of what's left of his memory,
the other,
with so much for his
virgin instincts to
gravitate towards,
surely more out there
in that floating paradise
of color, shape and light
than my grandfather's
mischievous dentures.
They're both bald
as billiard balls.
Maybe that's why
they take their cue
from each other.

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

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