Tag Archives: John Grey


by John Grey

Hormone steroids, treatments for fertility disturbances,
shots in every part of the body, much probing,
small incisions in the abdomen, up close and
personal with your fallopian tubes –
so, you ask the doctor, am I a woman or not?

So the lab is where our future lies.
Not in the lovemaking, not in the yearning
for a family, but something called progesterone,
its sister-in-arms, pergonal.
In comes the cannula. Time to interrogate the eggs.
My touch is not enough.
I don’t have an ounce of science in me.

Then they turn to my body. But it’s easy meat.
I either have it or I don’t.
For a man, it seems, not having babies
is as easy as having them.
You wait for the results
as you dream your belly
growing like a hot air balloon,
your body floating over all
your sister’s children,
or the one where blades shine,
gloves and smocks are splattered with blood
but you can see the grins,
the exhalation, through the tight blue masks.

In bed, you curl up inside my shoulder,
as I gently whisper, “They’re doing all they can.”
I don’t tell you Bill Gates has just invented Windows,
Steve Jobs is tinkering with Apple.
She wants the brains trust focused.
The future can wait until we know.



by John Grey

shimmer and shadow,
treads the cold floorboards
in anticipation of the sun.

Wake to her
like you would a streetlight,
formidable face,
majestic carriage,
her beauty, the dawn.

Then get ordinary,
make the coffee,
burn the toast,
crack eggs in a pan,
the simple things
so she can leave.

Life’s a tiny tableau,
can only hold so much depth.
So wipe her away
with a cloth on your face.
Yawn her to oblivion
with your blood rising.
Kiss through her loveliness
to get at your wife.

underworld royalty,
and you,
knave of the undergarments.

Time to get practical,
join forces with day.
Whims can only proceed,
on a need to feel basis.


by John Grey

Bus, racing greyhound on its side, painted over
my face at the window, smelling of bathroom

and fake leather, my chin overgrown, reading a battered
Kafka paperback while steel gave way to house to pond to hill.

Traveler, the word’s like a “For Sale” sign on a guy’s past,
a free-ranging arsonist who doesn’t stop at the

dreaded high school but torches the cafe and the
laundromat and the street signs and the unlocked doors

and the rooms they led to, the most intense flames
for the people waving goodbye at the airport,

their hands crackling, their faces grimacing to ash.
Customs, immigration didn’t stop me, encouraged

me if anything with all those questions:
are you bringing in anything illegal?

are you the illegal thing you’re bringing in?
And then a pocketful of cash and a bonanza of country,

and a map of towns broadcasting as curious faces.
I found geography by the rock-load, history

in a thousand roadside plaques, sociology, psychology,
every “ology” worth its moment in the rain-washed sun,

I came to class but refused to come to my senses,
retrace my steps, find my way home,

pick up where a stranger to me left off, job, friends, lovers,
not with my hope overwhelming my sadness, joyful

hollering drying my tears in bus station, diner,
over a moment dunked in coffee. I was lost in some

demented sense of the word but found by the driver,
the waitress, by the guy in the line behind me,

he headed for Omaha, me showing up on its doorstep
so Omaha could take a right, a left, and come to me.