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John Grey: What You Are


Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/PHKgQSGzwpw) 20.05.2023.



IN THE BLACKOUT


Thunder, some rumpled steps in the next room Lightning. Bulb blown Quick, pump up the wax prophets. In the mirror, dark face like an unlit wick, body crunched, hands clasped to cheek-bone But take lights are as fragile as feelings. Death drags candle-flame offstage with a hook of wind. then scouts the glow of the head with tamping possibilities. prepares the way for a grim, inhuman solstice.

Nothing surer in life than blackouts and black imagining

And heat, Bawling child heat. Dragon's breath heat. Take your pick of the heats too overwrought to warm you. Heat that sits on your skin like bricks, that not even rain can mute into a lover's touch.

This is what you are when the lights go out. A reaction to noise and temperature Those people in the next room won't come into yours Like you, they prefer to stay put than lose their way.


You can't adapt to new surroundings. can only shrink until old ones return. You find no joy in the time before there was anything. All you admire can't beat back one good thump of storm on window. All you believe is racked and blotched like it's a rooftop. You okay in there, somebody says. Thoughts melt on the stove of the mind.

Ear stirrups bleed in the dog's jaw of noise

None of those is an answer.



About the Author: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Rathalla Review. Latest books, “Covert”, “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.


 

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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.

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