Two Poems

John Grey

MIRROR

A mirror serves a purpose,
strives to remain constant
despite the changing faces –
sometimes someone new,
sometimes the same one
but a day older.

It’s not just
the one gray hair,
the blemish on the chin.
It reflects everything.
It’s up to us to pick and choose.

A mirror is okay with lake water
doing the job for it,
rippling a face
like a snake casting off slough.

Or even a window,
both in the glass family
even if the unwitting pane
can only accommodate parts of people
and, even then, its accuracy is disputed.

A mirror is not devious.
merely holds to the two dimensional doctrine:
return all that it is given
perfectly intact.
It has no interest
in where we go, what we do,
after we’re done looking.

For a mirror has no inner life,
is content to stare at a wall
until we return

A mirror can’t tell ugliness from beauty
though it assumes, on some level,
that, if we stare into it long enough,
we’ll make our own judgment.

A broken mirror, they say.
brings seven years’ bad luck.
But only if it’s the seven years’ bad luck
we already had coming.

 

GLAMOR QUEEN

The lady is idolized.
Forget the accomplishments.
Her perfect figure
warrants preserving after death.

Love the fantasy.
Skin stops at the edge of our inquiry.
Her eyes say
you’ve come far enough…
wallow in the color.

She had a child,
She wed a man.
She even has a delicate scar
beneath her skin
from a minor car accident.

But her breasts don’t believe
in life stories.
And her hips have nothing to gain
from how she pays her bills on time.

The lady is in our heads
posing for our thoughts.
She can’t be in her head.
Her face won’t allow it.

LEOPARD SKIN

Blame the lack of stimulants in the air.
Call me an effigy made of stone.
But my blood refuses to be wooed
despite your come-hither gesture.

The moonlight lies like a sheet
on your spotted body.
Your language is a brighter shade of pink.
Lamp tries to warm

but the background music is frozen.
It’s your leopard-skin that’s at fault.
It prods my sensibilities like a pistol barrel.
What’s next? An ocelot coat?

You’re pushing a rock up a hill
if you imagine I can love you in that.
No, make that fighting a big cat bare-handed.
My ideals are clear on the subject.

I‘m so like the leopard,
searching for that justice we seek
but will never find.
And, despite your sexy winds blowing my way,

I will not waver.
For necrophilia, bestiality –
that is the love and sex you offer.
So here we are in the living room –

a man and a corpse
that’s embalmed by pretty green eyes
and a flash of shoulder-length black hair.
But the shadows under those eyes are pits.

Those tresses are a form of tallow.
Really, your insinuations arc beginning to sicken me
Sure, you insist your leopard-skin is really a fake.
But a fake’s the real thing in this light.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

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Three Poems

John Grey

SEX LIFE AND OTHER INJUSTICES

yes
the word is out
that when you slip
into your lover’s arms

it makes him feel as if
somebody sexier has just left –

that is you in a nutshell –

as is the way you talk on and on
about how much you hate
that sweat all over your body

when you really should be
sighing and moaning –

thanks to his loud mouth,
cruel jokes abound –

some reward for all those fake orgasms –

 

FOR JOSIE

She flared
at the slightest provocation

and scorched from
skin to sand
to rooftop

watched as the real air melted
and the flames took over –

she seared the newspapers
peeled the walls
buckled the floors
baked the earth –

she was hell on earth
for the right sort of devil

 

POUNCE POEM

An eel peers out
from underwater rock crevice –
a leopard looks down
from its leafy green tree blind –
a hawk soars high above
hilly, rocky terrain –
all are waiting to pounce
on an unsuspecting creature –
here comes fish, antelope, field mouse
gentlemen,
start your engines.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Main Street Rag and Spoon River Poetry Review.