Saturday, November 01, 2008

November 2008

This month features John Grey and Isaiah Vianese

John Grey


Sky, the color of gun-barrels,
cracks at the edge of the morning.
Winter's shaken out of stupor,
stiffly broods as voles and mice
skitter out of their dens,
across fields of melting snow,
leave provocative spoors
for wind and cold to bluster over.
A hungry owl hoots at the sudden entrance
of his prey on the dull white stage.
Overhead, clouds break even more apart.
The smallest of creatures have decided
the weather must change.
Feast for the raptor is preferable
to days dark as night in the clinging chill.
The world turns on paw-prints in snow,
narrow gauge tracks trembling with light.


So much haze,
can barely see the buildings.
Houses succumb like remote villages
to rebel armies.
Dawn is out there somewhere,
morning right behind.
But who has the wherewithal
to raze this fog
and let time go about its business.
Birds try
but a trill here, a chirp there,
won't budge it.
Nor the lonely howl of a hound.
Or a daisy poking out of a lawn
and wondering what the hell
it's got itself into.
Quick God,
get behind the controls.
You've got the noises right,
the trucks, the cars,
the shuffle of mill-workers
down the sidewalk.
But your light meter is off.
Your air controls are set to smog.
Maybe this is your revenge
for this being city.
Man gets above himself
one skyscraper at a time.
How boastful his hotels.
How blasphemous his statues.
You're paying him back
for a bridge or two
or a tower or an overpass.
For an hour or more
you won't left him see
what he has wrought.
Then the haze bums off.
In the head, of all places.


Snails glide slow across the sidewalk,
but almost skate down slippery basswood leaves.
A spider darts along the fingers of its web,
stops short at every mirror of the lingering rain-drops.
Having cruelled me, the weather is now full of
apologies and sunshine.
Birds drink from fluttering pools.
Trees suck up their surrounds.
A beetle crawls over my shoe.
Insect and I are full of ourselves,
glad to be here.

It's just a short walk
to the pond of leaping fish.
How much more eager
those frantic bolts into mid-air
now that their circus tent has been replenished.
Herons spread their full regalia, white to blue.
With clouds dispersed,
reflection is at its height.

Of course, I adore water lilies,
white and tapering and gently dunked
a pollen's breath beneath the surface.
Better than Monet, I figure.
But, then again, nature doesn't have to haul
its easel, paints and brushes to this spot.

Soon enough the field will dry,
my body will be nothing more
than the business of the blood.
I will flop my weight amid tender blades.
Grass, my superior, while I sleep, forgive me.

John Grey has been previously published in the Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal. He lives in Rhode Island.

Isaiah Vianese


A Frank Sinatra tune plays for you
in a dive downtown. I'm warm with whiskey
at the bar, and then with coffee,
sobering up at a corner table.

I wear this heavy coat to please you,
and you wear that frozen shell.
Perhaps tonight, love, I'll come back.

Isaiah Vianese's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cherry Blossom Review, The Fourth River and Clockwise Cat. He lives and writes in Missouri.

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