Poetry Break: Bharti Bansal marilyn l davis two drops of inkmarilyn l davis

Poetry Break: John Grey

By: John Grey 





Yes, there’s been a conflicting sequence

of statements and instructions

in regard to your leaving Aleppo

for the safety of western Europe


It’s a question of, how shall I put it,

who doesn’t want you the least.


There’s been presented

many alternative solutions

to your current dilemma,

any or all or none

could prove to be the way

to a better life.


Unfortunately, this has

created a kind of labyrinth

which on closer inspection

is merely processes

that join and split apart

in ever confusing directions

until it all seems inextricable.


So sorry, refugee.

You are, at heart, a paradox

and, by your very nature, insoluble.


Press your face against the gates

as you will.

But, from the outside,

you and your fellow travelers

have got me puzzled.


You’re up there with black holes

quarks and the age of the universe

except that you’re down here.




Seven feet of serpent,

you slither across savanna.

through woods,

flickering your V tongue.


You stalk pigeons at a watering hole,

hyrax in the rocks,

bats snug in their caves

and yes, you’re always on the lookout

for me.


I dread your inky-black mouth,

those glistening fangs,

that narrow neck-flap

and the taunting hiss.


One strike

and lungs collapse,

heart stops,

I’m dead within moments.


Yes, my imagination

makes you into something other

than one more creature

struggling to survive,

to propagate its species.


That you have it in you

to kill a man

is incidental to your purpose.

But I’m more fearful than convinced.




That life in the offing

is secretly conflicting mine

now I am bound to you,

a mysterious presence,

just a photograph, a letter,

that still leave me unaware.


A bride to be

in hope of something

brighter than before,

I rise from a dark world

but what if I descend

into something even darker?


I’m trapped in a cheap seat,

skimming through a magazine

that sneers at my poor English,

I know nothing of you,

but am sustained

by knowing nothing of anyone.


Whatever you are,

phantom or vision

the blur of a dream,

your being sustains

the feverish hopelessness

of all I have known until now.


No sign of you below,

just gray cloud cleft by whitecap flares,

the shadow of the airplane

the whole of the ocean.

Is there even a far shore?

Or will I remain aloft forever?


And who am I to be living

in some other country,

with a man who can do

no better than me.

I feel like a thief.

I’m afraid that the houses are empty.



Bio: John Grey 

Poetry Break: John Grey John Grey marilyn l davis two drops of ink

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table.

Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. 

Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Hollins Critic.

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Poetry Break: John Grey marilyn l davis two drops of ink


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