Tuesday, March 12, 2013

John Grey: Six Poems At The Zombie Logic Review

There's a lot of great poetry flowing in to Zombie Logic Review, and I'd like to give each poet at least 24 hours to be at the top of the Review. John Grey is someone whose work I've enjoyed reading all over the  poetry scene for many years. Here are six great ones by John Grey.


You can’t get that taste
of death out of your mouth.
The butcher’s shop
is a morgue to you.
Even that smart boutique
on the corner
sells nothing
but what rotting corpses
are wearing this year.
You saw the killing.
Soldiers sweated.
Farmers bled.
They tell you its safe here.
That’s right.
Dead bodies tell you
it’s safe here.


A yellow blur through morning mist,
the buck shudders to stone still, ears up,
its body honed to smell and hearing.

How quickly the world turns
from nibble on grass at dawn
to being stalked through cloud-gray pines.

The buck darts off,
skitters down the nearest deer run.
The cougar melts back into light

that bristles tallow down its hide
as it treads the first footprints of day.
The deer dines at dawn

but the cat won’t hunt ‘til hours from now.
Lush green shoots, heart-pounding buck,
each wait the moment hunger chooses.


The oyster’s shell is wedged open,
the reproductive organ slit,
a tiny grain of sand
popped into the gonad,
all to feed the hunger
of a woman’s throat.
The nacre builds in layers,
surrounds this irritant,
forms rounder and rounder,
larger and larger.
In time, the unwitting jewel
is popped out,
easy as dreaming,
a tiny moon of money,
gleaming under light.
Beauty demands
such willful interference.
The operative word is cultured.
The operation, not so much. 


Stolen, was it?
Maybe you just forget where
you parked the blessed thing.
Could even be you never
had a bicycle.
A figment of imagination
with pneumatic tires,
chain-driven sprockets
and spoke-tensioned wheels.

So you figure,
even as we speak,
someone's out there
pedaling down the road
on his pilfered treasure.

But could be
he's scratching his head
wondering who would
leave a fancy bike
chained to a pole
down by the river
for what's been
at least three days.

Or maybe
he'd riding fiercely
down the highway,
across the fields,
up the mountain,
and then into the sky
when suddenly he realizes
there's nothing whatsoever
beneath him,
that he's doing all this himself.

Yes, I miss that bicycle too.


All day, you're reaching out of the compartment
of the train as if to pull the countryside
into you but, at best, your fingers dangle
a blurring foot or two from a desolate
overhanging branch.

A hunger bends and hooks and circles a mountain
or tunnels right through or perseveres
across a vast, flat plain or over the
syringe-like heat pain of desert
but eventually the journey settles down
nicely in the white table-cloths of the dining car,
is swallowed like railway food.

\Through poor farms and traffic snarls and faces
too quick to be, you come with all the thunder
at a locomotive's disposal.
And then you leave with just
the gold-embossed plates, fancy silverware,
of your solitude.


Is that a hand
in the rocking shadows
of last night's poor light?
Or a spider dropping down from the ceiling
to write a letter to your love?
And did the wind,
with no one to send that missive to,
just blow it out the window
and into the indifferent moonlight?
A bat perhaps?
Something so thin and pale and strained.
And slumped over the table...
Shoulders? A stray dog?
From scampering mouse
to breadcrumbs on the floor,
nothing left to report
from the overwhelming blackness.

John Grey is an Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze”with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Osiris.

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