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John Grey


I look a mess.

My hair is tousled.

My clothes are shabby.

That gray at the tip of my nose

is a speck of dust.

And I don't eat well.

The oven is a bastard.

I can never get it to work.

And I don't sleep so good either.

My bed is as lumpy as a potato patch.

I sometimes make a resolution

to clean myself up,

look for a better place.

But something always happens.

Like Wednesday.

Or Thursday.

And maybe I shouldn't have let

Amanda go like that.

She kept a neat house while she was here.

And she could cook.

And early in our relationship

she even inspired me

to pay more attention

to the figure in the mirror.

But I can only be what I'm not

for so long.

Eventually, I revert

to the skinny slob

in the den of dirt and disease,

who can't feed himself,

seldom rests

and, every so often,

makes promises to change his ways.

I also write poetry.

Yes, things really are that bad.

At the Chick Flick

I can tell by your face

as wistful as dawn leaves floating

that what’s happening on the screen

is also going on in your imagination.


Don’t you get it.

These co-stars are as cold as dead soldiers,

their locked lips no more than

the end result of a director’s hand signals.

The lighting guy is doing all the shining.

The camera operator ekes out

what passes for her better side.

And there’s the dialogue coach,

doing his best to make his “I love you” sound

less like gargling.


Give me a nature documentary anytime.

At least I know the wildebeest

are in genuine fear

when they cross the crocodile-infested river.

And the leopard has no need of a stunt-cat.

His deadly pursuit of that poor eland

is for real, not CGI.


You prefer make believe.

I’m stuck on how life really is.

You like it fake.

I want it raw.

Yet here we are

in the fourth row,

watching the latest chick flick.

What I won’t do for love.

Like what the vulture won’t do

to feed its hungry young.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.

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