John Grey

The November Selected Poet is John Grey

Please feel free to email John at: jgrey5790@gmail.com



A spider in the ear,
cat clawing my temples,
moth landing in my eyelids,
I’m in my bed,
where dreams decipher
these attacks from the outside:
dead men’s faces
that linger in my head,
an album of violent pictures,
of words spoken in anger,
all absent of their meaning,
just symbols indisposed to reality,
incomprehensible memories,
the puzzles of the past,
from wall to sheet to skin,
with rain-bursts and shadow-play,
lightning, wasps, 
and blasts of thunder.


Within the crumbling leather covers
of the old grimoire,
the wisp-thin pages of the dark word,
I find a clipping of a death notice,
a photo of an old man.
It's an invitation to come visit him
in his particular hell.

It's like the haunting sirens
of the woods who sing to me at night.
And the lovely succubus
who taps on my window.
And the robed figures
who appear nightly in the far field,
leaving a space in their circle for me.

Evil is everywhere
and it wants me on its side.
And it has the most curious reading material,
such beautiful voices,
luscious hand-maidens,
and intriguing rituals.

And what is good’s alternative?
An obese snoring termagant in the bed beside me.
Gout in my left leg.
The pastor’s soporific sermons.
And a job digging graves.
Sure there’s fun to be had
tossing dirt atop a coffin.
But it’s never anyone I know.


On cold February piazza,
a death played out among the pigeons,
clucking birds pecking right where
I would have dumped the corpse
or maybe even that solitary fish
raked out of a brown canal
too dirty to freeze
but with a chunk of flesh
in its invisible lips
or why even go to Venice,
why not this vacant lot
with its sun-bleached newspapers
crowing of ancient murder
and shards of glass
glistening like eyes
and belly of weeds
eager to swallow
the body in the back of the trunk
or the Italian dreams
I stumble onto the sidewalk with,
tottering and old,
fears plying my bloodstream,
singing and splashing
like drunken gondoliers.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. He has recently been published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.