Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June 2008

This month features John Grey


I finished the book on the plane ride down here.
Not even biography will give me truth.
The words are surface, that's all.
Inanition is a word that seems to have
lost a consonant or two along the way.
And that's the subject of this book.
Another's life approached like a botanist.
So which year was trillium?
What emotion was blue-vetch?
So I go to the writer's house instead.
Hemingway's cats ignore me.
The guide's a font of little information.
Yes, I know he wrote "The Old Man Of The Sea."
But where did he spit and why?
So Papa, it's to the bar, a cheap drink,
a whirling fan, a parrot in a cage.
Hemingway sat here so keep them coming.
I'll remember nothing of this night
except that it was in my life, not his.


All winter,
the back and forth
of desert war.
I have done this country's
dichotomy to death.
Better just rest on the couch,
pull up some poems over me
like blankets.

Our end is getting closer anyhow.
My end,
the country's end,
the world's end.
Why fight it?
Why even write it?

A poem won't fight back
when the enemy pounces.
Look how white, how still,
the paper lies beneath my eyes.
Just the kind of tears
I would shed.

My watch ticks.
The wall-clock tocks.
Time's such a cruel conspiracy.
So what's next:
the well-spring of blood,
the summer of more and more discontent,
the fall of one theory, the birth of another?

And then another winter,
more desert war.
And the country that brought you
both Mark Twain and Rush Limbaugh.
Better just rest on the couch,
pull up some blankets over me,
the ones from my heyday.


Feel the chill,
wrap the green tomatoes.
Take in the yard litter,
the wobbly bicycle,
the one shoe.
Enlist an army of logs
to bum to nothing
in the cause of your warmth,
your coziness.
Dig out the gloves, the tokes,
from the bottom of the closets.
Lay out the sweaters on the bed,
in order of thickness,
name each after a Winter month.
Write to someone
so you'll get a letter back
when it's too bitter,
too thick with snow,
to go outside and see another.
Prepare for human contact
when there's nothing
of the sun left,
when the cold ices over
everything but affection
for the one you haven't heard from
in a long time.
Feel the chill,
unwrap the green tomatoes.
With heat lamps,
shades drawn,
bright light,
ripen what is near.

John Grey has been published recently in Agni, Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal, with work upcoming in Poetry East and Cape Rock. He is an Australian born poet, playwright, musician. His latest book is “What Else Is There” from Main Street Rag.

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