ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Grey


She peers out the window
of a commuter train.

It's my day off but I'm
willing to work with blonde hair,

blue eyes. My romantic nature
is a workaholic. It should clock

off once the locomotive
pulls out of the station

but it keeps on working,
even engages imagination

to help. They don't stop
until I crawl into bed that night.

And, even then, they want their
input into how I should be dreaming.



I've been blocking out
what the other men here are saying
and, instead, have passed the hours
giving their hands a going over.
What a treasure trove for the eyes.
As rough as rock beds, all of them.
Scars, blotches, knobs, warts
or places where warts once prospered.

I suppose there's some
might find the crinkly fingers beautiful,
the palm mutilations,
authentic as a lumberjack's
or founding father's.

I appreciate their unwitting storytelling,
have borrowed, adapted, vandalized,
those tales for years.
Yes, I've made much of them
with a pencil, pen or keyboard
and these smooth artistic hands.
I can tell that they've done the heavy work,
continue to do so, even the oldest.
The job is there to do and they do it.
It's hard on the flesh, the bone.
But easy on my imagination.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly. 

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