Thursday, July 24, 2008

I’m enclosing a selection of poetry as a submission to (A Brilliant) Record Magazine I have been published recently in Agni, Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal. with work upcoming in Poetry East and Cape Rock.

John Grey


the usual moon battleground wildflowers of death
bloody grass tonight's light skewered by yesterday's
bloody grass shell casings of shadow
recognize anyone? the crazed walk is but a stumble
over insect bodies bloody grass and the hand pressed hard
against the face of the cold wind says prayers to the reaper
cricket dirge skeletons of sound the usual moon funeral
pallbearer wildflowers bloody grass moan of owls
shriek of mice one tear hopelessly frozen
bloody grass ancient curse mortality a thousand
times worse than reason


We pass a church just as bride and groom
exit through the front doors and the surrounding crowd
toss rice.
"What a waste," my wife says. "People in the third world
could use that." But what good would marriage do
the starving, I wonder.


It's a school room shrieking with ghosts,
my own, my friends, my fathers, his friends,
and young boys, girls, by the thousands none of us knew,
some that nobody knew. There's probably a scratch
in a desk top somewhere for all of them, some stale
gum stuck under a rickety seat and forgotten
by all but these shreds of life that
left them there. There's ghosts in the chalk dust,
ghosts in the erasers. They're rising up
out of ink stains like hands in graveyards.
They have to sit here and obsess again.
They need to run their eyes once more
from the teacher through the window
to the fields outside, imagining the future
while a pocket knife etches their name
in the oak. They have to stand by
that scrawl while their older selves
pass on. They have to defend it
with their lives and now their deaths.
It was dark and hopeless here
but it could get better. It was dark and hopeless to come
and here the spirits get by not knowing that.


Once again I will put the foot in a shoe while the head goes unprotected
and the rest of the body is wrapped in nothing but flimsy
shirt and trousers and underwear. And the heart only pretends
that its shield of ribs could hold back armies.
And the guts think it's all settled that a ripe belly will
brook no interference. And what of the soul?
The soul's not all that convinced
that it exists so what kind of cordon is that
to draw around it? But the foot fits into hard leather
and no tack will penetrate, no rock annoy,
no hot surface bum to a cinder. It's time once more for my walk.
My feet are safe but must my thoughts come too.


Just a mound of sticks and straw
but she circles it like it's Fort Knox .
At a raccoon's unwitting approach, she
bares her teeth like it's an enemy army.
She would launch herself, without fear,
against the shelling of the rain,
the fearsome firepower of the wind,
if any storm should try something here.
But mostly she waits patiently, alert,
in this shell of mangrove, muggy heat,
while her albumen-locked babies, fierce
with life, wiggle in their chalky dark.


Without email, Gordon would be dead.
He'd be the suicide you read about in small print in your newspaper.
He drinks this correspondence. He eats it right off the screen.
To him, the sweetest words on the planet are "You have mail"
What's he care if someone is trying to sell him cut-rate drugs
from Canada or a penis enlarger or a penny stock about to shock the world.
Every day, it's the same excitement. He drools over each message.
His mailbox is his harem. And many is the wife that he responds to.
So what if the Nigerians took his savings. And some hacker in California
is bleeding his MasterCard dry. People care enough to write to him.
And he takes the time to write to them in return.
He's at the center of something warm and wonderful. Communication.
Friends try but fail him. But thank God strangers have his address.

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...