ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Grey



I know this is not heaven
but try telling that to the lake,
the cabin, and the enclosed porch
where I take my coffee in the morning,
catch the first rays of sun,
as they pass through trees,
bless the last rites of fog
with thick drips of light.

I hear the chickadee call near,
see the loon pair far.
The leaves are in their early stage
of doing Fall’s business,
with flecks of red and gold,
hinting that green is not all there is.

I could take anything
if this was the end result.
You could break my heart twice over,
clean out our bank accounts,
drive the car some place
I never could find you,
if my heart, my accounts,
even my loneliness,
could just wait awhile,
while I enjoy this Adirondack morning.

Luckily, you’re beside me.
My heart’s in good shape.
Money’s secure.
The car is parked under
the nearest pine tree.
I can stay here,
work on a second cup.
Thanks, my love,
for your faithfulness.
Thanks, my love,
for buying me more time.



My stomach makes noises,
heart beats unabated,
            this has nothing to do
            with words,
nor do shoulders,
not even when they rise and fall,
nor the back, the sternum, the lungs,
            for the fountains of words
            looks elsewhere for inspiration,
like the eye, the fingers,
the mind’s dimensions
            but not elbows,
            not body fluids,
these things just happen,
like my ears
that hear the doorbell ring
but don’t pass the news along to me,
            and the mirror –
what can a mirror do that a monitor can’t do better?
            I am a writer,
            on the job,
            beating back the commonplace,
            soaking in memory,
            feeling pain
            but only the kind
            that reveals patterns,
no feet,
no toes,
no smile stolen from happier people,
no unnecessary sins of the flesh,
            not while my mind’s in orbit
            around the blank page,
            not if a sense of sky
            is like the taste of oranges,
            or bits of sense
            beg to be made into something,
            not while my hands
            on a keyboard
            move the story along
and my body has no story to tell.

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.

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