John Grey

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.

Elizabeth’s Prayer

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.