ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Grey


I punch the wall
and leave no bruise
on its flat cement.

I kick the rock
and it darts to my right,
lands among weeds

But my fist is sore.
And maybe I broke my toe.

Some men get angry
and take it out on their women.

My rage
always makes a beeline
for inanimate objects.

I seek a confrontation
where only one can feel.



Cold stifles the house
like a legal ruling.

Eggs in the morning.
Firewood at night.

Wander out
and wind corks
the temperature
at ten below,
or blows westward,
hastens the fading light.

Fireplace lit,
bodies huddle close.

It's the indoor equivalent
of roadside assistance.



If you love it
but it doesn't love you back,
get rid of it.
The ceramic diving horses
from a forgotten Atlantic City.
The complete works
of Sir Walter Scott.
Even the man
whose arms you wrap around
in a misguided quest
to resurrect old feelings.
It is time to downsize,
to rid yourself of clutter,
make more room for yourself
and less for out-of-style dresses,
postcards from the distant past,
bronzed baby shoes,
and even peopleā€¦
especially people.
Life is complicated enough
without it being chaotic.
So simplify your surrounds.
Remember, nothing is needed
if it doesn't need you.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Muse, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes Review.

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