John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.


  lilting gargantuan refrains of music 
 that cross Bach with Schoenberg,
 millions of frequency modulations
 crisscrossing the deep-sea -
 the largest creature to ever have existed,
 the biggest brain on earth,
 giants of self-awareness, empathy and expression,
 behemoths of playing, teaching, learning, inventing,
 leviathans of love, colossi of caring –
 okay so let’s kill one
 shall we -
 those that remain:
 goliaths of grief, mammoths of mourning. 


 I’m not trying to listen in,
 but what can I do,
 with the tables close,
 and some couples so loud,
 their incessant chatter
 can be heard 
 three blocks away.
 And, besides
 our prolonged silences 
 create a vacuum
 that sucks up surrounding sounds.
 So, as I settle back in my chair,
 I become this perfect antenna,
 pulling in the electromagnetic waves
 of her complaining, his anger,
 vibrating enthusiastically 
 as bitterness turns to sorrow
 to apology and finally to smiles.
 The broadcast ends 
 with protestations of affection
 from both parties.
 Our date concludes
 with someone loving someone. 


 Not the usual mindless entertainment on TV
 but the thundering roar of the Nuremburg Rally. 
 Can’t say this is what I want to be watching.
 Not the super-race goose-stepping on parade.
 Not the little loud man with the moustache.
 Not the ten thousand salutes.
 Not the big lie. 
 If I want violence and terror,
 there’s always cop shows.
 If I need to see what arrogance 
 looks like in the flesh,
 then it’s politics as normal.
 But my hand is frozen to the remote.
 I can’t change the channel.
 Or even turn away
 as people are loaded onto trains.
 Or at the unveiling of the death camps.
 Then the trials.
 The pleas of ignorance.
 “I was only following orders.
 My job.
 Why blame me?”
 And I was only watching 
 what public television was broadcasting.
 Don’t blame me 
 for adding to the ratings. 

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