April 28, 2022

“Points to Make,” Poetry by John Grey

“Points to Make,” Poetry by John Grey
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.

***

Points to Make

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. 

Points to Make
#fire#john grey#mining#poetry#yearning
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