POINTS TO MAKE Today began like a heart on fire. In between there was this hot-cold-hot-cold movement to establish the fact of me. It ended like a man with something to bury. I woke to the sight of a burning house, instructing firemen where to point their hoses. Family units are brittle. I've known this all along. I fell asleep that night like someone on a long, long highway. There must be something here about love – no, yearning - that's it. In future excavation, you who yearn to uncover the ancient will find nothing but ancient yearning. Today, everything moved. It tried to leave me behind but I kept seeing me by my side. By night, I'd made it. I vowed to teach the light - teach it something new. I'm who I am - make of it whatever. I go beyond the horror of coming clean. Now, I've already dreamed three versions of what if I were you. None stuck with me ** MINING TOWN The tunnels are dark, vast, intertwining, dry, interminable, like the veins of a fallen beast. Goggled men stoop, cringe in fear at the terrible mountain overhead. But the ore gleams in the light of their lamps. And they are the ones with the picks in their hands, digging frantically like moles. This is how the past works. Some of the present. Maybe a little of the future. And from above ground, you can hear deep below, the crack of metal on rockface. From the dead. From the living. From the one born just this day. ** OLD STONE FENCE For years, the old stone fence defers to the weeds that have grown up around it, wouldn’t know a sheep from a deer or a crow, and a farmer from the hiker on these summer trails, boots on dry leaves like crackling parchment, and a clicking walking stick, designed for the very opposite of a blind man. Civilization tried itself here but the hare did backwoods better, and nothing’s changed since the old house fell to ruin, and the landscape remembered just enough to go back to how it was, with this stone wall the only holdout from in between times. So, on one hand, everything is back. On the other hand, hard work and dreams stay in touch, even with very little. ** JUST A STREET WALK You were waiting for me some street where painted women wait for business. You loitered by the hand jobs, perched near the oral sex, stared in the windows of the quick penetration. You sat on a stoop thinking I do what they do, for one man who can feel like so many. You were waiting for me where women wait for men who, when they come, still make them feel they're waiting. Daylight was fading, buildings were merely shapes cut from the sky. You trembled as the red lights splashed your face. When I finally arrived, you slipped into the front seat to negotiate your business deal. I took you home. Once inside, "My place or yours," crossed your mute tongue. So what if my place was your place.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.