Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 04/06/22

Woman Next Door Plus Guitar

Why does the woman,
in the apartment next door,
constantly pluck on her guitar strings.

I’ve seen her loneliness
briefly in the corridor.
But I hear it,
night after night.

Oh I see lonely faces everywhere
in the city
but I am not
in earshot of their song,
not when I also am in for the night,
in company of my own darkness.

I get it.
Life is hard,
especially alone.
We all cling to our instrument.
Mine is silence.
Hers will not let silence be.

©2022 John Grey All rights reserved.

John Grey

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.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 09/08/21

A SMALL WORLD

I adore the fireflies,
tiny smidgens of light
on a hot summer dusk,
flames out of nowhere,
suspended in mid-air.

A spider crawls up my wall.
A magazine is handy
but I don’t swat that arachnid.
It has its reasons
for being where it is.
Why should I interfere?

I get up close with bugs
in my garden,
the ladybird, the aphid,
the praying mantis,
so thin, so near-invisible,
it’s a wonder it’s prayer
is ever heard.

I’m done with giants.
They’ve only ever let me down.
But the world of the miniscule
is businesslike, productive,
instinctive and harmless,
a welcome antidote
to what the rest of life is like.

©2021 John Grey All rights reserved.

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Hollins Critic.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 03/17/21

THE DEVILS

I chalk up my cue-stick
in a downtown basement pool-hall,
with the devil whispering in my ear,
“seven ball in the side pocket.”

That’s when legs come down
the stairs from above,
two splendid variations
of golden stockinged light.
My hands make a shot
but my eyes are busy elsewhere.
The seven ball spins to a stop
against the rail.
The devil snickers
like he knew this would happen.

I’m already down a c-note.
There goes another twenty.
The devil says, “We’ll get him next time.”
The woman enters the room.
Her battered face
tells a different story than her legs.
She’s more in need of a doctor
than a leer.
Her own devil whispers
so the entire room can hear.
“The bastard’s not here.”

She stumbles up the stairs
and out into the night.
My opponent sinks the black.
I pay up, rack the balls for another game.

She’s looking for her man.
I’m holding out for a win.
It’s always losers
that these devils get to work with.

My adversary, her man,
are devils themselves.
They don’t need another.

©2021 John Grey All rights reserved.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 08/31/20

THIS GUY LUKE

He’s not sure how he’s made it
this far. And with a job in a
garage to go with his two room
apartment above the hardware store.
Now if only it had A/C.

He rolls Zig Zags when he’s
flat on his back under the car lift.
He borrows a wrench every now
and then to fix the faucets in his digs.
Or hold open the window
when the temperature hits the 90’s.

He has a lover or, at least,
someone under thirty-five
that he’s on first names with.
She’s the devil when she’s drunk
and there’s a warrant out for her
three counties over
for cutting a man’s cheek
with a broken bottle.

He’s on the law’s watch list himself.
Some break-ins they can’t prove.
His pit bull bit the pastor.
He’s due in court for a DUI.
And there’s this woman,
over thirty-five this time,
whose eye his fist turned black.

He can’t believe that he’s not
in jail someplace.
He doesn’t go around
hiding who he is or hiding from it.
He could be fired any moment.
Or locked up. Or his lover
could leave him for someone
more dependable and with
less of a temper.

Folks say he lives on the edge.
But the edge is his true center.

©2020 John Grey All rights reserved.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple, and Steam Ticket.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 07/17/20

YOUR HOMETOWN ON A WEEKEND

You stay at home on a Saturday night,
do absolutely nothing,
but still the cops come pounding on your door,
accuse you of what you could be thinking,
then bash your head a dozen times with clubs.

Your sex life is no better.
You had Maureen alone at last –
at least you thought you were alone –
but then your mother dropped down from the ceiling.
Wielding a large kitchen knife,
she scalped Maureen and cut off your balls.

As for church,
the preacher tosses spears at you from the pulpit.
To arrest declining membership,
he needs a dramatic and graphic display
of someone suffering for their sins.
When his best throw merely pierces your left thigh,
he gives the congregation permission
to batter you with prayer books.

That night, you head to Casey’s bar.
Casey’s out of everything but strychnine.
You walk down by the stream.
Mallards peck at you.
A homeless man spits your way.
His diseases land on your bottom lip.

It’s midnight.
Those clouds of grimy smoke
are coming from where you live.
The local serial killer is sizing you up
from behind a tree.
That growth on your back
is now the size of a watermelon.

But then you see a bright light
in the heavens,
brighter than any light you’ve ever seen before.
A star is going nova.
It implodes all at once, not by degrees.
It never has to know
that it’s Monday already.

©2020 John Grey All rights reserved.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review, and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple, and Steam Ticket.