John Grey


It was in a deadly accident.
The other guy ran a red light.
In fact, it’s a coffin
but the body’s been removed.
No need to search for clues
as to the murder weapon.
The crushed driver’s side door
is blood-stained in plain sight.
But that hood ornament is rare
and that’s why the guys
have bought along
their holsters filled with tools.
If it was a body,
they’d pluck the gold from his teeth
or slip the rings from his fingers.
But it’s a junk car.
A silver-plated horse will have to do.


Dying is worthy of a good drink …or four.
Old age is a thirst more than anything.
Sure the light’s dying. Pretend it’s neon.

Good men, in your condition,
spend half their time praying.
At least, you’re smart enough

not to go down that religious road.
Order another. And another.
Nothing can hurt you.

Those with so little time left
are immune to everything.
Your kidneys could care less

how many beers go down to your gullet.
Your heart could do with a whiskey on the rocks.
And don’t forgot your poor wilted colon –

send it off with a good belt, a snort
and a rage against doctors who don’t know shit.
Remember, life goes around once. Living doesn’t have to.


Just another night, air algae-skunked,
I’m standing under the bridge
with the frogs and toads
up from dark brown river water.

Club scum preen like swans
in moon-molting neon.
Tonight the putrid gets its shot.
The plastered babes can hardly wait.

I’ve been where the hot chicks strut.
I know where good bad girls head to after dark.
Now, I’m outside, heart kicked by
the distant drum thump, rigid bass.

Now, I watch life from the bleachers,
take up my position where cars rumble overhead,
the ground’s a quagmire of pigeon-dropping soup,
brick walls trace their graffiti back to an invisible hand.

I’ve made it someplace clear of the action
but where’s the relief when I keep looking back.
That one could have been mine to wake up with in the morning.
And her, over there, she could have flipped me a defiant “No.”

And those are the trash I could have hung with.
Those beats would have sent my body wild.
Away from it all still means I’m in the thick of it.
The club is humming and I hum all the way home.


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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s