photo from Unsplash
Amanda 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.” REGRETS, WE'VE HAD A FEW 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. MY BABYSITTER I was too young to be on my own hence the baby sitter Julia 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. LIFE, THE ONE WITH ME IN IT 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. COULD HAVE BEEN 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 WHAT'S A FIVE LETTER WORD FOR A BAD TEMPER? 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. A DARK AND STORMY 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 uprooted and whirled cries out in raw pain - but if you can feel beyond storms 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.