Three poems by John Grey


Some memories are thin air.
Or they take vacations,
for years, some of them.

And they’re lazy.
Not workaholics like
the ones I’m pleased to remember.

Or they’re restless
like the people in them,
don’t stick around for
when I want to recall.

Or they’re considerate,
slip away, knowing that
a mind is limited,
and room must be available
for ideas.

As to why
you’re a stranger to me,
some memories are good
at taking orders.



The day is long but not long enough
for now the dark grimly enters the picture.

My lights come on automatically,
to mimic my breath and my heartbeat.

The closer I am to my destination,
the more endless the journey feels.

Earlier, the horizon guided me.
Now the road ahead disappears into oblivion.

Even though I know where I am
and where I’m going, the night is unsettling.

For this information is now mine alone.
I don’t know what I should be doing with it.



I can’t remember.
All I can come up with
is the white-eyed blankness of a china doll.
No dreams possess the face.
Can’t say “I love you”
or even “Don’t count on it.”

And this other one.
The corrugated gray hair is familiar.
But I try for flesh and I get galvanized iron.

And a third.
She’s surely sputtering words at me –
a banjo-twanging southern drawl –
but her expressions don’t follow.
There’s no one there.

The surrounds have taken the impress
of so many people.
But they’re no good with faces.
Give them skulls
and they stretch skin over,
unwrinkled, unknowable,
tight as drumheads.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work
upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes

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