3 Poems by John Grey


With the blink of your eye, a word from your lips,
you can transfer up to ten million milkies
across the galaxy.

No need for a banking planet,
a floating cash machine station,
writing and remitting a 3D check,
or even software implanted in your thigh.

Your identity, your worth, are known to us,
wherever you may be,
from cruising the space lanes
to relaxing in your hologram home.

And we don’t just satisfy your financial needss.
We can pick you up and take you places.
Fill your foodbank.
Send exotic flowers to loved ones on anniversaries.

We can be your lawyers, your doctors,
even your courtesans when you’re in the mood
for a little alien spice.

We can plan for you. We can act for you.
We can think for you. We can be you.
With the blink of your eye, a word from your lips,
we’ll do the blinking, we’ll say the word.


They burst in on my sleep, a crowd of fellow men,
their nightmare interrupting my dream,
rough voices, foghorn sneezes,
with real foghorns for accompaniment:
old tars in oilskins, some long in their graves,
others newly missing,
tramping or chugging motors through the veils of salt.

Yes, some on foot, some steering their rickety jalopies,
following their lights to the docks,
their ears to the throb of winch engines,
avoiding the drunk in the gutter,
the howl of coyotes in the hills.

They’re old hands at disturbing the morning peace,
stealing the soft wash of water on gravel,
replacing it with heavy boots, hard breath, ancient autos,
anything to erase the comfort of those who dig in their heels,
do anything to remain safely ashore.

There’s a statue in the square, a chiseled tribute
to lives lost at sea – but it’s not enough
according to the restless hour before the dawn.
A sculpture merely means many men emptying their pockets.
But for souls to be emptied out,
the dead must put to sea.


Coffin sits on a stone slab. Simon kneels
Solemnly before Frank’s stiff body, weeps
At how his life-long friend seemingly sleeps
So peacefully, but in his torn heart feels
For what will never be again and steels
Himself for all the anguish to come, keeps
Vigil, vows to never forget the deeps
Of sorrow that a man’s passing reveals.

Simon was there at the end of Frank’s life
Observing, from next door, the stretcher he
Was carried out on, and the blood-soaked knife
In his chest, the result of treachery,
Simon’s ire at Frank’s affair with his wife,
Just reward for unabashed lechery.











About the Author: John Grey is an Australian poet, US 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

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