John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly.
Cry in the Night
It’s neither the sound
of pain nor sadness
but the gentle declaration,
“I am here.”
And you do not rise
from the bed,
rock him back to sleep,
to soothe a wound,
salve a hurt,
but to whisper with
the angle of your elbow,
the support of
your slowly swaying arm,
“Yes you are here now.
And coming for me.”
On Another Graveyard Visit
You’d think I’d know better by this.
But here I am again,
at the door of the great underground mansion,
discovering, as always,
that the knob is impervious to my grip.
No point knocking – with fists or tears.
The more I listen
the more it’s obvious
that no one is coming to answer.
Why do I ramble through
this patch of serene nothingness
as if those with knuckles clutched to breastbone
are even aware of my presence.
The fact is
that everybody’s home
but no one’s in.
So once again, I leave flowers
at the grave.
Just what death needs –
another dead thing.
Once sleeping with angels,
now I set my dream’s sight lower,
on the yellowing underside of their wings,
in the rancid shadows
of their beaming temples,
where good grows lazy,
gravitates to horns.
This night-waif hunger
disturbs the landscapes of the saints,
upsets their choirs
into barren, tuneless wolf -like shrieks.
The darkness is an ocean.
I welcome morbid men on skiffs of bat-capes
and appetites enough
to wrench me from the pretty past,
the ghosts of other’s expectation.
Brush aside the sterile crosses
to bite the sameness out of me;
celebrate my grisly rite of passage
in the way my wild-lily eyes shoot back
what mirrors cannot,
in the relentless feasting of flaming, blistering lips,
in a grisly rite of passage
celebrated in a crayon smudge of red,
in the grainy marble of my perfumed neck.
Come through my big windows,
find a space to inflict your will
beyond the stale fang-marks
of these vampires of conformity,
the undead of the living.
In your canonizing thirst,
lies my infinite religion.