Poetry Break: by John Grey

From the Editor:

John Grey is a widely published poet. His work appears in far more reviews and magazines than his short bio here reveals. We are always excited to publish the poetry and prose of prolific writers and poets here at Two Drops of Ink, and I can proudly say that we have many of these writers on our contributor’s page. We thank them for choosing to become a part of the Two Drops family. I know you’ll enjoy John Grey’s poems. 

 

IT’S BEEN THIRTY YEARS

We’re the same age.

He’s been my doctor since

not long after

he earned that diploma on the wall.

In a kind of prescient harmony,

we’ve whittled away our youth,

creaked into middle age,

while on the job,

he with stethoscope

flapping around his throat,

me in a cubical

tapping on a keyboard.

 

He’s been like a piano tuner,

doing his best to adjust my body

so it retains a perfect pitch,

only middle C is my liver

and D #, a wagging tonsil.

 

My responsibility to him

is just to show up for my yearly physical,

confirm with a grin

that whatever he’s been doing

it’s working.

 

Like I said,

we’re the same age

and he calls me by my first name

but I can’t get beyond

the word “doctor”

when addressing him.

 

His hair is gray

My brown locks have

their own intrusive streaks

to contend with.

But, at least,

our minds reject any notion of grayness.

 

He says I’m in good shape

for my age.

I’m thinking he’s in good shape

for my age.

 

IN A COMA

The wind’s not talking.

It’s as silent as your aunt in St Luke’s,

the one in a coma.

In fact, it barely breathes.

For all we know, it could be dead.

Maybe the air itself will catch the same sickness.

Your Aunt Lucy was a pretty decent gust in her time

and look at her now,

her life more hearsay

than what we know of living.

There’s never been a day so still.

Trees look as if they’re presiding over a funeral.

And the grass has never been more untroubled

by the world around it.

Toss a piece of paper in the air

and it will land at your feet.

Just like Aunt Lucy’s breaths.

Birds perch aimlessly on branches.

Nothing to ruffle the feathers.

No drafts for cruising.

Look at Aunt Lucy’s eyes.

Stiff, expressionless,

they may as well be stones.

You sit beside her,

hold her mute hand.

It’s not what I’d want from perfect calm…

not a whisper,

a hand that can’t hold back.

 

SHAPED BY WOMEN

I was in my mid-teens

and it was a warm Saturday afternoon.

You’d developed a crush on poetry

and offered to come over to my house

and read some of my early efforts

that I had, one day, unfortunately

bragged into being more than they were.

 

But you didn’t giggle as you perused

those badly scribbled works.

We were at an age when self-expression was everything.

Clumsy though they were,

you could have been combing through your own words.

 

I remember it as hot and steamy –

the weather that is.

A sudden storm turned on the cool.

You abandoned my poetry

for the open window.

confessed how much you loved the rain.

 

We sat on the sill together.

engrossed in that downpour strafing the puddles

it had already made.

Our knees touched.

My heart rate quickened.

 

You leaned your head out

until rain sprayed your bangs.

Then you pulled back and laughed.

I counted the drops down your cheeks.

In that gray light.

I swear you glowed a little.

 

Something changed in me that afternoon.

I absorbed the hair on your shoulders.

your first attempts at scent.

And the way you rubbed your lips together

when you weren’t speaking.

I inhaled them but I didn’t exhale.

You were part of me going forward.

 

SHAPED BY WOMEN

I think of you often

for no reason other than

so much of you was my first.

Sure, I sentimentalize the past

even when it doesn’t deserve it.

But what else can I do with it?

 

It occurs to me that

beginnings really do

dictate what follows.

One accident begets all the ones that follow.

One experience nestles neatly into habits.

Every woman since

is every woman before her,

all the way back to you.

 

It should seem strange

to speak of your life in terms of the opposite sex

but it’s what I’ve always done.

Some people cast such shadows.

There’s no secret to how mine are shaped.


Authors Bio:

jgreypic

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review, and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Other links for John Grey:

  1. An interview with John Grey at The 3288 Review
  2. HEArt Online
  3. Google results for John Grey’s work

Other poetry on Two Drops of Ink:

  1. The ‘Wall of Poets’ page
  2. Search results for poetry on Two Drops of Ink

 

 

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Hi, John, Reading Poetry for me is like learning to acquire a taste for fine wine. With time it only gets better. When I read into your sentences, it captures the most important aspects of the moment. Thank you for sharing this poem. John Gyorki

  2. Hi John,
    There are writers and there are poets. I’m trying to emulate good writing by reading good authors. However, I am envious of poets and their ability to take the written word and make it sing to our hearts. You do it so well. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pieces.

  3. Hi, John. I’m a woman of “a certain age” and all of these spoke to me. Not just the reflection inherent in all of the poems, but the awareness of passing time, friendships, and those moments that left an indelible mark upon our souls.

    I look forward to more of your poetry here.

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