UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
JOHN GREY

MEANWHILE, THE TRUE SELF...

Fishbowl,
face distorts,
crumples into
half laugh, half sneer.
How I must look to the glass
now that the lemonade
is but a drop.
Rings of vagueness,
hasn't been in focus for years.
What's this?
People on the stairs?
Just when I thought
I'd reached a compromise with
all the reflection available to me.
You look better, says one.
You look like your old self,
says the other.
The narrow light of desktop lamp
will do that for you.


REALLY ALONE WITH YOU AT THE CLUB

Music's one more way of being alone.
I can't tell my date what blue is.
I can't say have you ever lived
in an imaginary city where the unreal people
talk in notes, in scales.
I can't flick my fingers at the waiter,
order a plate of clefs, drum solos with two straws.
Sure, I can say remember the beach at dawn
and that long lonely cry of the humpback whale
but I can't explain how another whale hears it.
Music is a place where you can't explain anything.
There's a dictionary but the guitar player has it in his head.
I just sit and feel like a lantern swinging
on the deck of a boat at night
but that image doesn't last long enough
for my tongue to make connection.
I'm a canal of sloshing water.
I'm the stars seen through the arches of a bridge.
The rain's stopped on the streets, the blacktop's glistening.
Moon's reflecting four beats to the bar.


TIME OFF IS TIME ON

Ten thousand sea-lashed rocks,
gray giant's eye-balls toppled from their sockets
by unremitting waves,
dumb boulders, accomplices in their own disfiguring.
an old earth fire dissolute on sand,
crinkled yellow, mashed by forlorn footsteps
or the skipping pricks of useless juveniles...
the terror of raw materials, pitch of gulls,
swell of heat, the unfeeling hug of shore...
this is a vacation only if blustery forewarning
of impending doom is a vacation...
laugh and play, you say...
or postpone at least.


John Grey has been published recently in Agni,
Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and
The Pedestal.







2008 Underground Voices