2 Poems by John Grey [Poetry]


un-help yourself, 

that was his offering –

rejected rehab –

injected himself with happiness –

high as helium

then low as shadows,

eyes darkened,

for his father,

for his father, gone these many years,

for those few crippling peeks,

into his own emptiness –

home all day,


the lunch his mother made for him untouched –

staring at his gaunt face in the mirror,

mouthing the word “please”,

to his father,

his father’s extended family,

his father’s generation,

their honorable return from war –

offers a wide grin

like a seven-year old,

performing for the camera,

but can’t quite hold it –

slouched on the couch,

shielded by darkness,

while his mother so privately prayed –

every morning

waking to the white light 

of the Dead.

the destitute,

the ashen-souled,

the suddenly crazed,

the longing to be a child again,

to rejoin the ones who had it safe,

to always glance back 

before plunging ahead into madness –

to have lived through all that,

unsure how much of it there is to go –

a mutilated traitor

cannibalizing any hope.



can i treat you like the feather of a bir

farther and further and fever and why not

sprigs of delicious heather or spragues

or sprongs or…or… or…or…or

can i kiss your tongues into songs into songues

your spare change into sparkle or spackle

the hair around your ears into heirs into years

and what about those lips

can they be leaps or loops or laps or

lapiz lazuli with just the foaming of

my intention at the edges of you

the ledges the ridges

gathering myself like a diver or a diva

to plunge over these dover cliffs

laughing planging claffing


By John Grey

  • 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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