Two Drops of Ink Poery Break collections of online poetry

Poetry Break by John Grey

“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.” ~Robert Graves, in response to a questionnaire in Horizon, 1946.~


There’s not one that can lay down

a decent bunt.


The coach shouts orders

from the backstop:

“Hands higher on the bat.

Legs and shoulders squared

toward the pitcher.”


May as well tell those eleven year olds

to sing opera.

Their nature is to swing for the fences.

A gentle tap to send the runners along

is a message that crackles into static

before it can reach an car.


“Drop it like it’s a fly ball

that bounces from your glove.

God knows, that’s happened

often enough.”


But these kids can’t take their eyes

off the centerfield stream

that curls in and out of

the abandoned brick factories.

They’re dreamers

and a bunt is not a dream.

A homer is.


The coach remembers how

his father used to yell

the very same stuff at him.

Only when he was out of organized ball

did he see the wisdom.

And now he’s his father

trying to deal with himself as a kid.


So he screams at his charges

like it’s his younger self in the batter’s box.

Sacrifice is the perfect name for it.



People burning in a field,

flesh aflame,

blood steaming out their pores –

their cries get on my case.


Another sorry lot

attacked by giant wolves,

ripped raw by claws –

what do they expect me to do?


The encroaching killer vines

arc not my problem.

Nor is the rain of daggers from the sky

or the zombies stumbling from the cemetery

out into the neighborhoods.


And no. this is not God,

doing His ‘you got yourself into this,

now get yourself out’ routine.


I’m a mere stockbroker

on the thirtieth floor of

a downtown Manhattan skyscraper.


All these victims of floods

and war and earthquake

and poverty and disease –

will they come to my aid

when the bears attack?



I don’t think I’m being greedy

but if I could smell through your hair

all the way down to the fat and fibrous tissue…

then why not.


And if I could approach your throne

on near to even terms,

fondle the ridges in your snowmelt,

find shelter in your slopes and clefts and fingers,

maybe lick the salt from your neck,

trace whatever veins materialize at the touch.

As for air, that thin shell of gases,

I’d like a crack at that vital spot

where you share it with your lungs.


Can I have the moon while I’m about it,

the golden, full phase…

as a substitute for when you’re sleeping.


And the reach and rootage of the trees…

in the night especially.

John Grey



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

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Poetry Break by John Grey

2) Poetry Break: By John Grey (#2)

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One comment

  1. John,
    These poems create such visuals for me. They are well crafted, and I enjoyed them very much. I particularly like the one about bunting…the part about becoming your father, reminds me of how we all become our parents in one way or another. I also loved the last line about sacrifice. Thanks for sharing.

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