ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Grey



Nobody gets it.
I don’t want to deal with anything right now.

I sleep late.
At least, I lie in bed late.

And I don’t bother to close the window
despite that curtain of rain
sweeping in.

The phone rings.
I let it.
Someone is at the door. 
Good place for them.

I’m not being indifferent exactly.
No, this is as aggressive
as my passivity ever gets.

I lie on my back with sheer venom.
I ignore people vehemently.
My hostility toward interruption
is so palpable
you could cut the air
with a feather.



When it came to the arguments,
I had an obstructed view,
namely the wall that separated
their apartment from mine.
But the audio was loud and clear
even if I didn’t want to hear.

I didn’t even have to cock my ear
for her sobbing,
or his stumbling through the door
late on a payday evening.
Even if the couple didn’t live with me.
their relationship did.

The night she overdosed,
the whine of an ambulance
occupied my kitchen.
Heavy footsteps down the hall
spent time in my parlor,
as did his voice crying out.
“Will she be okay.”

When she was released from hospital
a day later,
they were so quiet
that they moved completely out of my place.
But they were back a month later
with more fights, more drinking, more tears.

I abandoned those digs for a complex
where my next door neighbor
was a ballerina
who played her music in my shower stall
and whose toes,
soft but squeaky,
shared living space with my own bare feet.
As a roommate, the sounds she made were perfect.
Rent was cheap, utilities included:
gas, electricity and pas de deux.




kingly wielder of magic marker
resident-in-chief of room with white-board

dimwits  fools  smart asses

this could prove to be a true panacea
to your ongoing stupidity

I will be drawing a map
so bend your pungent meat in my direction

maybe there'll be a latitude a longitude
you recognize

or a river
or a lake
or   God help us   a town

maybe the one where you live

you are alive aren't you?

and if you are
then it's required
that you be somewhere at all times

it could even be where I'm pointing now

that's right
your head

though   from experience
I know that's not a given


Author Bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, U.S. resident.  His work has appeared in Homestead Review, Cape Rock and Columbia Review, with more work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review. His poems appear in Offcourse Issue #63, December 2015.

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