John Grey – Poetry Collection

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Pedestal.



I’m jealous.
I long to be that house.
Look how decrepit its walls,
the rotting frieze,
the crumbling keystone,
each window cracked
into a perfect crooked sneer.
If only I could peer out
from something as dusty, as spidery,
as the oculus window
or run my fingers through hair
like that roof cresting’s
locks of pigeon droppings
and dismembered chimney.
Broken brackets,
dangling pipes,
flues oozing foul breath,
and coal-black shutters
almost torn free from hinges –
if that were me
I could bask in permanent shadow,
terrify whatever strangers dared
to wander down my
uninviting dead end street.
Being me
is not the same.
I can’t creak and moan,
scurry inside walls,
crawl on eight legs,
drop a chandelier,
slide open a trapdoor,
wrap skeletal hands
around a woman
as she’s sleeping.
I can only sit here
beer in one hand,
cigarette in the other,
in a dingy south-side bar,
with my door wide open.


Crows fly low,
drag down the mist.
They caw loudly, emphatically,
so there’s no misunderstanding on my part.
The soil is riddled with worms.
Dirt is fine for now
but corpses are their main attraction.
Small fish in the pond move together in clouds.
They could be piranhas for all I know.
Damp, gray air couldn’t wrap me any tighter.
And below me, the earth
barely holds together,
mutates into mud,
sloppy and deep
so my feet don’t get ahead of themselves.
I’ just the creep of bone and flesh.
I’m what is left
once my history is eaten away.
Trees hold their haughtiness.
But they’re rooted in a way
I can never be.
I just follow this worn-drown trail.
Every footstep is a trap.
One will swallow me yet.
Oh yes, I was a big man once.
Now, I’m merely prey
to the predator I used to be.
I bend down to pick a wild-flower.
Petals fall away from bud.
Beauty’s at its best
when it crumples in my hands.


Something touches your hand,
a fingertip, a shock,
your journey implodes,
drags you down some
alley of oblivion,
all gray and rain and
ragged tramps
sucking on cheap
red-brown liquor,
all with enough face
in the blood-soaked moonlight
to remember you,
then another contact,
a free ride to a snake’s den,
thousands of
coiling and hissing reptiles,
their skins colored and gleaming
like precious stones,
jaws wide,
forked tongues wriggling
like miniatures of themselves,
and fangs, long and white,
guzzling with venom,
then a fierce grip
jerks you through
a cone of ear-splitting silence
and a full-bodied clasp
sets you down amidst
the war-torn ruins
of your own skull.
Thank you,
you snarl at
all your would be mentors
but I can do this
on my own