Yellow Mama Archives

John Grey
Adhikari, Sudeep
Ahern, Edward
Aldrich, Janet M.
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See, Tom
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Sheagren, Gerald E.
Shepherd, Robert
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Shore, Donald D.
Short, John
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Sinisi, J. J.
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Zackel, Fred
Zafiro, Frank
Zapata, Angel
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Zimmerman, Thomas

Home At Last

John Grey


My support group

assures me  

these aren’t

the gates of hell

They say it is just

the door to my

one-room apartment

on the tenth floor

I can call

a dozen names

any time day or night

to hear my curtains

are not red fire

and the ceramic figure

on the mantle

is not the devil

Nothing like a voice

on the other end of the line

telling me that

I am living in this world


I prod a cigarette

into my trembling lips

and the room lights it



John Grey



From the crumbling edge  

I stare into the open mouth of night,

no defenses, no argument

merely the implied contract

of hunter and prey.

Wind hustles out memories

like cheap perfume,

darkness hones the landscape down

to just this body

and the abyss beyond.

Not a thing here

I can claim for humanity.

When the known abandons me,

the unknown licks its lips.




The Escape


John Grey



Somebody climbed the fence.

Barbed-wire didn't bother him.

Cuts and blood and searing pain

were just the price of liberty.

On the way down the other side,

he jumped,

almost crushed his ankle,

half-crawled toward the woods

and the swamp.

But if that was the only way out,

he’d do it ten thousand times.

Likewise with the swamp,

mosquitoes chewing on his flesh,

damp heat sitting heavy on his chest,

and snakes curling around

his crimson wounds, fangs raised,

venom at the ready.

If there was a choice

between bog and cell,

he'd sink into the foul-smelling mud

every time.

The guards came out after him.

They let the dogs loose.

He'd be back inside in an hour.

Sure they could lock him up again.

But that hour would always go free.





The Crows at Sunset




John Grey




A flock of crows 

startle a sunset. 

They drop down upon 

the orange light

like it’s a rodent,

their talons tearing

at the color,

soaring this way and that

with bits of it

dripping from wings

like blood.



Chopping up the Body in the Forest




John Grey




You can tell that the birds 

are clamming beaks shut

around their songs.

If you’re going to hear

their trills tonight,

they’ll have to vomit them.

They cling to the boughs

like notes on sheet music

for you below who doesn’t know

a crochet from a quaver.

They understand how a dead body

is a dead tree

is a dead sky

is a dead season.

Meanwhile, you whistle

while you work.





Bacteria Days


by John Grey



never let it be said

we are not

thrilled with existence 


but if we were larger, 


our limbs more versatile,

we would build houses,

sit on porches at twilight,

smoke cigars


it is not the envy

of the mite

towards the giants

in our midst

merely what the insignificant

must do to dream its way

out of the practical


of course,

we have been handed

the key to his defects,

and, once in a while,

as if to compensate,

we open the door to them

and watch that virulent opening

suck all of him inside


still, that doesn’t get us

a house with a porch,

riot even a cigar


his light goes out

in a coffin of ashes

is not unlike

ours flicking on

a little



Room 254B


by John Grey


I dreamed

I floated through the air.

But then the earth beneath me

exploded to dust,

blew away.

The longer I dreamed

the more I had nowhere to land.

I grew weary, lonely,

and afraid.

I awoke not caring at all

about flying,

just happy to

have some place to land.

The doctors here

have such a twisted sense of humor.

They set my alarm clock

to estimated time of arrival.




Watching Amanda


by John Grey


The night is black as eyes

with just the faint

deliverance of light

in bare moon patches.

Tombstones part

like waves of her hair.

She steps through

this crack in death,

graveyard dirt dripping

from her pale dress,

arms outstretched,

hands bent

as if pulling on the

heavy air,

leaves no trace in

the generous mud,

all of her footsteps

on my flesh

as I watch from the

pathetic safety of

a nearby oak,

eyes opened wide

by the pennies

of disbelief,

blood blanching

in my veins,

my skin crawling over

my bones like

snakes feasting.



Man and Moths

by John Grey

I had a velvet jacket.

I saw it skitter away

in the mouths of moths.

I couldn't go out without it,

sat back in my chair

watching the moths

circle the bare bulb.

I didn't move,

was slumped in that wooden cradle

for days, for years.

The last thing I remember

was the moths

crowding my rotting body,

convinced that I was

something I'd wear.



Ax-Man’s Walk

by John Grey

I step out

with my ax over my shoulder,

past the broken fence

and the one rock that always

reminds me of a head

but where's the neck,

where's the tongue hanging

out of its mouth

like blood.

I am an ax-man

and even the light

that has me out here

bright and early

I would chop into tiny pieces

if it would only stay still on the block.

Even the thin trail I walk

between the morass of melting snow

and rising mud, I'd flay at,

not to make the distance shorter

but to make it sweeter.

Even my wife of twenty years,

hoarsely shouting her twisted good luck

from the bedroom window,

who thinks there is nothing

wrong with life

that a wheelbarrow loaded up

with firewood

wouldn't put right

has a moment or two under my blade

as I march into the forest.

If every living thing

must sing together in this wood,

why not the dying things,

the sudden jerk,

the dart of hands towards the crimson throat,

finding their shared song.



Confessions of the Anatomy Instructor

by John Grey

It's true. I see corpses.

These bright, fresh faces

dazzled by their own youth

are merely a preview

of foul green flesh

and blood black as eternity.

Upright heads,

spines at perfect angles

in row after row

of lecture room seating

are coffin fodder

with arms crossed

in pointless attentiveness,

cadavers masked by that quirk

of physical law that mistakenly

sparks these wretched anatomies

for a brief moment

in numbing infinity.

I've cut up sewer-smelling bodies

on blood-drenched tables

on bitter cold, moonless nights.

Where was the humanity then?

These fools think they have a future.

No, they have a date

with either my blade

or worms.

All this heart-pumping,

and nerves jangling

and brain imagining-

the body has a lot

to answer for.

Armageddon Afternoon

by John Grey

End of the world,

I am struggling to make love

to Maria one more time.

Walls are caving in.

We spend a minute or two in hurried foreplay.

The roof is threatening to

break away from the rest of the house.

I climb atop her soft pink body.

A large tree crashes through

the window, scattering glass everywhere.

I kiss her flesh, enter her.

The earth beneath the house cracks apart

with an almighty roar.

She moans. I sigh.

Our bodies thrash against each other

like ocean and rocks.

Mountains collapse.

Rivers explode across their banks.

Physics gone mad,

we are suddenly spun out into space

grasping onto each other

with desperate fingers

dug into the sweet meat

of each other’s sweaty backs.

We come at the same glorious moment,

our sperm spitting out a geyser of pleasure

that swamps Venus and Mars

in a great white meteor shower.

Exhausted, she falls away from me

into the contented corridors of sleep.

I light a cigarette,

prop my head against a pillow,

reacquaint myself

with the book I was reading.

The world returns to its senses,

eases back into order,

opens another flower,

puffs a breeze through

the upper branches of a willow,

spits a drop of rain or two

across our roof.

The Living and the Dead

by John Grey

He undresses

to the music

of dead composers,

in a room filled

with books

by dead authors

and prints

of the masterpieces

of dead artists.


the sheep

that provides

his blanket,

was only sheared

not slain.

And the woman

who slips

into bed beside him

is surely living somewhere.

Blood on the Butcher’s Smock

by John Grey

So much for the handsome bearded face

and the glowing welcoming eyes.

Man’s got a hacksaw in his hand

and is coming down hard on that dead pig.

The older he gets, everything is pork to him,

even the ones in his backyard

who claim their right by their unwitting

imitations of his mouth, his nose.

Such little trotters, he thinks.

What ugly snouts, he reckons.

Doesn’t slash them all to pieces

because he’s sure they’d fetch a lousy price

in his shop.

His wife has gone the way of black-and-white striped aprons

and sawdust scattered on the floor.

The best in life is cold, refrigerated, hanging from a hook.

The face is worthless.

The gut is where the money is.

One good cut and money peels back from bone,

meaning fattens up the ribs,

chops and loin fill his dream’s meat locker.

So a little blood spills.

What else has blood to do?



by John Grey



What's in my room?

The black shape creeps toward the bed.

I try to speak but can't.

My heart cracks hard

into my ribs

like a woodpecker's beak.


Monster, I'm thinking.

Shade. Phantom.

I want to run

but the sheets and blankets

press down on me.


This thing could crush me,

strangle me,

or shriek in my face

and frighten me to death.

It's a trick of the dark

that plays out like a horror movie.


It draws closer and closer

and my throat grows

more parched by the moment.


I'm about to die.

I’ll never see my family again.

Sheer terror rises through my body,

encapsulates my brain.


Maybe if I just close my eyes,

I'm thinking.

And, here I am, forty years later,

still with my eyes closed.


Parents, siblings., lovers, wives,

so many have shared the dark with me,

but still no one will answer,

"Is it safe?"



by John Grey



It's not wind.

It's a scream

muted by the boisterous air.

Something's being tortured

but the weather doesn't want

you to know.

It would rather rock some trees,

rattle windows,

swirl leaves,

anything to separate sound

from terror.


So someone's darkest fears

blow up a gale.

The last moments of a life

scatter papers,

beat against a door.


You look out

at the urging of a gate banging,

a soughing bough,

a swaying pedestrian.


Just normal for this time of year,

you reckon.

An unsuspecting hiker,

a creature pouncing from the brush,

pathetic struggle, searing pain—

any more normal



by John Grey



It began as

the possibility of a woman

long forgotten,

even longer thought dead.

And yet she was here,

for a flickering moment, in an attic

of a wintery house,

in one deep corner,

where ceiling joins bare beam.

The possibility of such a woman

always drifting across

the back of your mind,

an eeriness, inexplicable,

as all imaginings must be.

And now fulfilled,

not dust motes this time,

not brief wind draft

fluttering the stillness,

slowly, gradually, the wisp

evicting dust, mutating to ethereal light,

making something solid

of this vacuum of a room,

a vision, for all its flimsiness,

made clear as pain, as joy,

its meaning propagated by its own haunting.

A wraith, then, someone

you once knew, many years ago,

a fragile wraith spilled over eyes and mind,

tantalizing, disappearing

as soon as it appeared,

this dark wraith

born of dreams

then dissipated.



by John Grey



They met and courted in a small village

in the Carpathian mountains of Romania,

married and fled the region together,

because of the war, so they said,

the invading armies,

half their families dead,

fled through forest nights as dark

as a sinner's soul,

in a God-sped horse and carriage,

their past lives stashed in some small satchel,

both dressed in clothing of their own tailoring.


Ten years later, they live in a tiny French town,

in the shadow of its cathedral,

he works at the textile factory,

she keeps a poor but humble home,

mourns two stillborn children.

"War? What war?" asks a visitor from the old country.

"Invading armies? You must have been dreaming."


It could have been war.

That might have been an army.

Certainly, he lost a sister,

She, a cousin and a spinster aunt.

"Totally drained of blood," said the doctor's report.

Besides, what does it matter what they ran from.

Stay behind and, in midnight's unholy realm,

she'd be visited by something bat-like,

eager to slake a centuries' old thirst.

A night of evil bliss and she'd become

one of the dead.

He'd be another of Van Helsing's hirelings.

Exhume the body, stab it deep and hard,

futilely grit teeth, put hands to ears,

as she shrieks and moans that unbearable death rattle.

What kind of life together would that have been?


Better a stake in the ground far, far away

than a stake through the heart at home.



by John Grey



What she thought was hers,

regulating by her pumping heart,

circulating throughout her body,

was merely liquid stored for twenty years

in a pretty virgin bottle.


Those occasional cuts and bruises,

from felling down as a child

to biting her lip in anger

were mere cracks in the packaging,

soon patched up.


A man came to her bed at night,

unscrewed the lid, popped the cork,

with nothing more than fangs and thirst,

drank her dry and tossed the flesh and bone container

back onto the bed,

like an empty into a recyclable bin.


"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,"

intoned the priest at her funeral.

No deposit, no return,

is how I look at it.



by John Grey














so hard to choose


and yours is


you say?



by John Grey


I'm the only one

in the cinema.


No cuddling couples,

no restless kids.


Cafe's closed.

No popcorn.

No soda.


But I'm not alone.

A rat's scouring the floor

for leftovers.


Screen's tattered

and crawling with spiders.


Lights aren't just dim,

they're totally dark.


Another rat's nibbling my shoe.

There's more of them

swarming over the seats behind me.


Well at least I got

the student discount.



by John Grey


I float with just my eyes

and nostrils

nudging through the surface.

I make no sound.

No ripples give me away.


She doesn't suspect anyhow.

To her, this is all

cleansing, life-affirming water.

It can cool her down,

rinse away the grime.

And she can become as one

with the natural world.

That's where I come in.


I have no name for myself.

Instincts drive me.

How long it is since I've last eaten

factors into the survival of both of us.


And I'm quite sated from that raccoon meal.

So she can splash about in perfect safety.

Down south, it's alligators

that fill this role in life's cycle.

Here in the north,

it's guys like me.



by John Grey



Soaked in last night's

gray rain,

not even blue sky,

warm wind,

can dry damp cheeks,

matted hair,

lips dripping blood and water.


The city sprouts anew

but alleys can be very old,

no cars, no foot traffic,

just last month's newspapers,

green trash bags

split down the gut,

and one man,


cut open at the throat.


Radio, dog bark,

laughter, clip-clop of heels,

thump of briefcase against thigh—

a parade of unembarrassed riches,

youth and beauty,

privilege and success—

its unwitting audience

has one eye open,

the other permanently shut.


There's a killer on the loose

a victim even looser.



by John Grey



death is by my side,

a constant companion—


he pretends to be my servant,

lays out my clothes in the morning,

prepares my meals,

stokes the fireplace,

cleans the windows—


he also doubles as a friend—

he chats amiably in the passenger seat

whenever we drive anywhere,

walks with me down by the river concourse,

even shares a drink with me

in some out-of-the-way bar—


more than a friend,

death has this routine

where he's the older brother I never had—

he wants me to bask in his achievements,

to endeavor to be just like him—


he can even be a father figure—

offering advice on everything

from my choice of bride

to investments and careers—


death, in its own way,

is drawn to life

even though he knows

it doesn't end well—


he wants to be around those

who believe that death is something

that happens to other people—

his motto is.

"why should other people have all my fun?"



by John Grey



Here come the ravens

descending on the cemetery,

taking up their perches

on tombstones and angel wings.


Just in case the funeral

wasn't dark and somber enough,

here comes a feathered shroud

separating into black blobs of gloom.


One cries out at the sight

of a dead squirrel on an overgrown pathway

and the birds leave their momentary roosts,

gather at the carrion.


Yes, it was sad to see your man buried

but imagine if you had just left him there.



by John Grey


He always feared tunnels.

And the Alps were pockmarked with

those horrible holes.

The locomotive barely had a chance

to bask in the Austrian sunshine

when it was dragged back

into the darkness.


The other passengers didn't seem to mind.

They read their books, their newspapers.

They ate their meals at leisurely pace

in the dining car.


He wasn't claustrophobic exactly.

But he hated that feeling

of the world being

suddenly snatched away.

And, if there was no world,

then what exactly was he living in.


Speeding through those mountains,

reality was lost.

Imagination took over.

But it was reluctant to rule.


Where am I?

What am I doing here?

The questions didn't dissipate

even in the light.

Or when they pulled into a station.


A sign said "You're In Eissenwart."

He stared at it for some time

but he still wasn't convinced.







Art by Patty Mulligan © 2017



by John Grey



it's years later

and his flesh

has been passed

down worm generations

like an heirloom


there's just bone

caked with mud

a skull with

the startled grin

of the permanently ambushed


there's nothing

in this drab skeleton

to compare with the roses

the chrysanthemums


it's as if you

planted the flower

and it was a seed that grew






Art by Patty Mulligan © 2017



by John Grey

Halloween night,
witches are everywhere,
pointy hats and brooms
bristling against the icy moonlight.
The sky is cloudless.
Stars fade into the background.
It's a night for sorcery
not astronomy,
for hags to shriek
and cats to hiss
as spells are cast
like invisible raindrops.

One glimpse is enough.
I close the shades,
bolt the doors,
flick every switch
until my house is as dark
as the heart of a hex.

But buried in blankets,
I still hear the cackles.
My brave attempts at sleep
can't mask the effect
the spit of their curses
has upon me.
I could be a toad any moment.
Or a lizard.
Or a wilting bouquet of hollyhock.

I hear a knock at my door.
Little children arc outside,
in their costumes,
bleating "trick or treat."
Such innocent hearts.

I pray they never know

the third alternative.




Art by Patty Mulligan © 2017

Art by Bill Zbylut © 2017



by John Grey

I am thirsty
and the water in the stream
is a thick turgid brown.
I am hungry
and the forest beasts are long dead,
riddled with weevils,
and the fruit is rotted in the trees.
Man has done this
with this thing he calls progress.
Thank you, Man.
It gets no better than this.
I am thirsty
in the midst of veins
teeming with blood.
I am hungry
and flesh has arrived
just in time.





by John Grey



As they drenched my head in cockroaches,

the insects scattered down my cheeks, my shoulders,

inside my shirt, down and then up my pants’ legs.

I remember that feeling even now, as I lie in bed with you.

That’s not sweat bubbling from all points in my body.

It’s memory that not even your gentle touch can fool.

For your fingers scamper around my thigh.

Your tongue sprints across my lips.

And there in your eyes, I see brown carapace,

while your hair trickles my brow like feelers.


So I am sorry if I roll away,

if I reach for the spray can, stain the sheet between us.

For, when I was young, some kids played a diabolical trick on me.

And yes, I expected love to be a singular event.

But it comes on to me in such numbers.

Art by W. Jack Savage © 2018



by John Grey


I turn the key of the house,

dulled and listless,

stumbling through the door,

like a tottery stilt walker,

nerves bending in every direction,

unprepared for what I might find.


The darkness,

skittish as an ingenue,

is just vapor,

electronic pulses

that dart like dragonflies.

I stop hard at the body on the bed,

slumped half off the mattress.

green startled eyes,

but the rest of her

ripened with blood.


Now I am nothing but

my heart's acceleration,

uselessness reflected back.

Any breathing I do

is barely on my account.

Who do I call?

What do I do?

All the corpse offers

turns me inward,

invokes my perverse and varied fantasies.

She can stay.

I can come home to

whatever it takes.

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2018



by John Grey



In the darkness,

they revert to their true nature,

the accumulated sweat of the day

going cold and crystalizing,

their minds like gas lamps

in blanketing fog,

their hunger too extreme

for streetlamp shadow to hold.


In the light,

you nodded as you passed them

on the sidewalk.

You caught a glance of them

staring in windows

but didn’t give it another thought.


But come night,

their essence,

a million years in the making,

permeates the backstreets, the alleys,

makes its way to the tenements,

threatens the solitary stepping out

or the lonely holed up

in their upper floor apartments.


In the light,

they seem harmless enough.

In the dark,

it’s your turn

to seem harmless enough.




Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2018



by John Grey


I try to conjure up the dead

but my efforts go unrewarded.

Nothing takes shape.

Not shadow,

nor trick of light,

has people in it.


The dead won't take their cues.

My mother won't

come to the table

though her hand

of solitaire is waiting.

I've laid out sketching pad

and brush and ink

but the artist hasn't shown.


They rot in the ground.

They linger in the brain.

Despite my pleading,

the dead keep their bodies

and the memory separate.


In a kitchen bare,

imagination hits the wall.

In the twilight of a graveyard stone,

closeness keeps its distance.

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2018



by John Grey


This is the way I should

find out about deaths,

years after they happen,

people I don't know,

their lives so convincing

in these arguments

chiseled into stone

on flat tablets

or burrowed under angel's wings.

These are real events,

their white stumps settled

into green banks, laid down

in serried rows, artless and

circumspect as the moon.


In these deaths, I recognize lives

that may have happened long before

but are patterned and wrought from my own,

We all seem to float here together,

tears and laughter, pain and joy.

So maybe I have all of the memory,

all of the hope for the future.

But the wind blows through the willows

for us equally.

The light shines down in its blindness,

waxes us all.

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2018



by John Grey


My soul can't get into my head,
the way is barred,
and by a madman.
Insufferable it is,
that sanity's laid bare,
exposed so freely to this other.
He has the weapons, cuts me deep,
squeezes the reason out of me.

And all the time I see what he is doing,
I can't respond.
He laughs at me in the mirror.
He says I put him up to it.

Do I? Do I?
The unutterable has fastened me to him,
tows me with an umbilical cord
I have not teeth enough to gnaw.
Terrible old sinner.
No one can rule me ever, he screams.
Who knows what terror he can wreak
on the unsuspecting.
He already does it to the ones forewarned.

Look at the eyes.
How lurid. How tearful.
How bursting. How shriveled.
How obsessed. How did it ever come to this.
Oh how plainly I see my pathetic position:
to abide while dissenting,
and worse yet, to slaughter
with such pity.

Yet, there is hope.
Earth turns. Sun crushes moon.
The despised demon may own the night.
But I have the clarity of daylight.
I see that the more he spits on heaven,
the more likely,
God may any moment intervene.
He's a trio after all.
I wonder how He gets himself to agree.
Must ask the next unfortunate priest
whose bloody dead hand absolves me.



by John Grey



Windows of the old house

look so much like eyes

and that door,

it could easily be a mouth.

Tree shadow on either side

makes for eerie ears.

And there’s a gargoyle keystone,

a nose in spirit

if not in looks.

So the house has

all the senses covered

except for touch.

As I walk gingerly by,

I pray that it stays that way.



by John Grey



I apologize

for the failure

of our top-of-the-line garlic flowers,

holy water and crucifix

to protect your daughter.

And, sadly,

the mallet and stake I recommended

for her sleeping corpse

is the subject of a recall.

So don’t waste your time

breaking into her coffin.

We sell sunlamps

but, you’re right,

they never could be mistaken

for sunlight.

And, for particularly

virulent infestations

we do subcontract out

with Van Helsing and Sons

but, unfortunately,

they’re currently

up to their necks in work

deep in the Carpathians.

But look on the bright side.

You haven’t lost a daughter.

You’ve gained a folk belief. 




Art by Cindy Rosmus © 2019



by John Grey



I update my diary

in the shallow light of a candle.

All of what happened to me

is written down slowly, carefully,

with a nib that makes words like a weaver,

with large loops, elegant shapes to every letter.

Meanwhile, there’s a bat at the window,

beating on the glass with its wings.

It morphs into human form

as it steps into the room.

My visitor is pale-faced, red-lipped,

and bedecked in dark suit and cape.

He slowly edges toward me,

red eyes making an invidious play for mine,

mouth slowly opening

to reveal two fangs like honed ivory.

I’m just at the part

where I’m annoyed with my sister

and I threaten to punch her husband’s lights out.

That’s when the intruder lunges at me

and I strike out blindly, in anger,

at this interruption to my retrospection.

That nib plunges into his heart,

he lets out an almighty scream,

then his flesh peels away,

he’s nothing but bone

and, that too, concedes to

the number of years he’s been undead,

turns to dust before my eyes.

I’ve no idea why this incident

doesn’t make it into my diary.

It’s late. I’m tired.

The page is already near-filled.

These are poor excuses.

The truth is that everybody knows

the pen is mightier than the sword.

I’m dutiful when it comes

to getting the record straight.

But I do take an exception to clichés.



Art by W. Jack Savage © 2019



by John Grey



Something nameless exists,

outside human knowledge,

and yet, if you listen closely

to the people around here,

it is given a name.


And without it,

fear has no place in the world.

But with it, whether the thing

exists or not,

the locals can continue

to tremble through their lives.


So is it out there?

Or is somewhere in here?

Just don’t go looking for it.

It will not find you otherwise.

Art by Kenneth James Crist © 2019



by John Grey



Spider webs

entangle the mind

even as they wrap around the body.


I’m pulling that silky thread

away from my clothes

but deep inside the skull,

the strands are as taut as ever.


I don’t see the spider.

No wonder.

He holds court in

the center of my brain.


My thoughts dangle

at the edge of the web

like bugs.


He will consume them all

in good time.

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2019



by John Grey



Remembering shows no mercy

now I am on my own

and looking back dark and crimson

through the brain’s decaying thoughts,

caught up in dead conversations

with emaciated faces in a photograph,

master of a boyhood home

that’s rotting at the foundations,

sensibilities hacked to pieces

by misery’s inevitable wrecking ball,

I half-faint

into an empty chair,

unknown to anyone living,

amid echoes like the screams

of unnamed victims,

a total collapse of lifetimes

into this one I struggle to lead,

a child of the terror inflicted on me

and the horror I wreaked on others.

bolted into my own desolation,

pockmarked by blood and teardrops,

with a monster’s half-eaten profile,

in a plague-ridden dilapidated parlor,

at the pit of midnight

in the battered bawdy-house of coming death.





John Grey is an Australian poet, U.S. resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East, and North Dakota Quarterly, with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review, and failbetter.

In Association with Fossil Publications