A Poetry Showcase for John Grey

photo from Unsplash


She was jealous
of Amanda’s perfect skin. 
And the way she wore
the highest heels imaginable
and yet never lost balance.
not even on the slippery dance floor.
And then there was 
the woman’s slimness,
her waist as tiny as a doll’s.
Even the vision
that she just knew
would never need glasses.
And the perfect rosebud mouth,
tinged pink with lipstick,
many times kissed
but many more times 
on the wish-list of 
every guy she met.
Amanda’s crown never
knew the meaning  
of a hair out of place.
Even the wind was 
on her side,
tossed her fringe
gently, alluringly,
from side to side,
to save her the trouble
of doing it. 
Amanda’s teeth gleamed 
like she was the star
of a toothpaste commercial.
She was no glass-ceiling buster.
Worst of all,
Amanda was forever in her thoughts.
She had jealousy for neurons,
constant synapses of frustration.
There was no cure. 
Amanda could only sigh,
“ah, if only Amanda existed.”


Glaciers crack like 
the world’s weary knees 

while suburbia’s backyard
is plagued with bee corpses, wizened crickets –

bergs melt,
fuel a creamy red ocean
bursting its banks - 

sun can’t help itself,
melts and scorches
despite its legendary indifference –

buildings split like axed trees,
a hungry desert feeds on
the jungle at its edges,
cantankerous plates shift below –

the religious prepare 
to be whisked off to heaven

while a child burns
in the fire 
of her father’s sins.


I was too young to be on my own

hence the baby sitter
who, I'd heard, had no boyfriend
was considered safe
by my parents –

seated cross-legged on the floor

I watched her fat hands
manipulate the channel changer

from cooking shows
to soap opera reruns
to a thriller with loud music
and then a cartoon

that inspired me to shoot up my hand
and scream out "yes"

but she blinked right by it

finally settled on a mushy romance -

she side-wiped my complaints
with "it's time for you to go to bed anyhow"

so I slunk off to my bedroom
though I didn't want to

and she got caught up in something
of which she had no personal experience -

so I dreamed
under protest

and she dreamed
because what else was there. 


I have my dark days, my dancing across
the polished floor days, my emaciated days,
and always, of course, my glittering
sun on snow days.

There's days when I can charm
the bell off a bicycle,
and others where I merely am,
in the background somewhere,
counting down the days to the next day
that wants to have me in it.

There's days I can't get out of my own head.
And other days I barely notice I'm around.

There's days I want out.
And days I want to stay in this forever,
even if it's just the day that I'm in.

I experience days when I float with the crowd
and days when I'm brazen enough to raise my hand high,
announce myself to my audience.

Some days are relative.
Others are intuitive.
1 can get as much out of one as I can
but leave the next to its own devices.

And then there's these years
that gather up the days like fish
on a long, long line.

And beyond that the lifetimes
that cook and eat that catch.

Some taste good.
Others have no taste at all.

And then, at the end of that meal,
I rub my stomach.
Or I rub me out.


I could have been big, he says. 
Big as Elvis and the Beatles. 
Just didn't get the breaks that's all. 
I've still got a voice better 
than three quarters of the ones 
you hear on the radio, see on TV, 
and I'm fifty four years old.
And I could play guitar, really play.
And I could dance too.
I should have moved to Nashville
or to L. A. or to New York
when I was younger.
I'd have made it.
I'd be worth a billion now.
He works the night shift,
restocking shelves at K-Mart.
I see him through the window now and then.
Kitchenware or sporting goods,
he's got all the


14 across I get
but 14 down eludes me.
It's a five letter word
and I have three of the letters.
How difficult can it be?

It's like your moods.
Your 14 across I welcome,
literally, with open arms.
But your 14 down
had finger rushing to head
for more infernal scratching.
And I think 1 know you
so why won't any letters fit.

But I’m the same.
My life is 95 percent 14 across
but that other 5 percent
starts at square 14
and down we go.
So how can 1 blame you
when I'm no different?

I have the whole thing completed
but for these two damn squares.
And we'd get along perfectly
but for two other damnable squares
that neither of us can figure.

Crosswords and cross words...
the word "puzzle" doesn't even come close.


all the lightning in the trees
sears and steams
the rainfall 

all the jag in 
the gray swirling sky
makes whipping boys
of branches

all the air
and whirled
cries out in raw pain -

but if you can feel beyond
and battered trunks 
and splattered roots

there’s a magnificent release

the wetter the better 

A Fevers of the Mind Poetry Showcase for John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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