Posts Tagged ‘John Grey’

All the Better, Dear Wolf


Look, I know I’m a predator.
I’m five years of age, in my prime,
hairy all over,
with teeth six inches long
and sharp as rapiers.

Do you think I’m really going
to spend my days
munching on berries
the size of a titmouse eye?

I’m a quadruped of course
but, for the sake of a fairy tale,
I’m willing to stand.
And speak as well
though in a deep gruff tone
in keeping with my native growl.

Some young thing
comes hopping and skipping
through my home territory
dressed redder than a whore’s lipstick
and waving a basket of goodies –
of course I’m going to drop everything
and accost her with my tried and true,
“Where are you going, little girl?”

I could just grab her there and then
but I’m willing to go along with the plot
even if it means swallowing
a bony and tough old grandmother,
cross-dressing and having to listen
to all that “What big teeth you have” etc etc.
just so some little kid
in a farmhouse in the middle of Nebraska
can near wet herself with tension
as her mother reads to her at bedtime.

What I’m saying is that
I play by the rules,
both of my own nature
and the story as it was explained to me.
Which brings me to the total unfairness
of a poor defenseless beast like myself
being slit open by a huntsman’s axe
just so that tasteless biddy can go free.

Look, I’m a wolf.
We’re on the verge of extinction.
And the world’s overrun with
silly little girls in red
and grandmothers.
That I come out of this whole affair
fatally wounded
is a public disgrace.
A change of attitude is sorely needed
So poet,
what big words you have.
What a big emotive, evocative medium you have.
What a big bully pulpit you have.
What a big audience you have.
Okay maybe not so much, these days.

–John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

Image Notes: Finding an image where Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t the innocent victim wasn’t easy, by this Pinterest image by Kevin Kunkel just might work.

Progress

The large brown beasts
drew closer.
The people fled.
Only I remained.
I shot a few stragglers,
just to show these creatures
that I was on their side.
To be honest,
there was a perverse beauty
to the way the beasts
stomped on panicked city folk
or grabbed some with their massive jaws,
shook them like cloth dolls.
And it was a shame
when, having witnessed
what my weapon could do,
each wanted one for its own.
So blame me if,
when they get to your town,
they don’t come
trampling and gnawing
but hold back
and pick you all off
one by one.
My advice is
don’t fear progress.
There’s always a place for victims
in its heart.

— John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.

Editor’s Note: Steve Ryfle, author and historian of Godzilla, described Destoroyah as a ridiculous mix of Predator and SpaceGodzilla comparable to Megalon and Gigan. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destoroyah. The image is from a movie trailer.

The Exorcist

We were ushered out of the room.
Only the stranger stayed behind
and Beth, of course,
still writhing uncontrollably on the bed.

Strange how the Christmas stars and streamers
still adorned the walls.
And the tree glistened.
It was the Savior’s birthday
but not within earshot of Beth’s tortured cries.

My mother sat us at the kitchen tableJohn-Grey_The-Exorcist
to sip milk and listen to her
cigarette-stained voice cackle some
random Biblical passages.
Beth’s screams grew even louder.

A month before, Beth had said
she’d seen a cross-eyed crow in the woods.
And met a peddler in the lane
selling odd trinkets—half-animal, half-man.
And during a particularly virulent storm,
a gruesome face had flashed in her window.

Ever since then,
she’d been coughing up bile,
swearing like dad’s old drinking buddies,
and eating nothing but cockroaches and flies.
Whatever she was suffering from,
it sure wasn’t the measles.

We asked questions
but mother said it was none of our business.
Just a stage our big sister was going through.
She handed a crucifix to each of us
with the instruction to clutch it to our breasts.

An hour after we left Beth’s room,
we heard a giant whoosh.
then a burst of laughter
followed by a booming cry
and a sound like a rocket taking off.
The stranger stumbled out of the room,
collapsed on the floor before mom could reach him.
“It’s done,” he whispered.

Beth remembers none of this
and I still don’t know
how mom explained away
the dead guy in our parlor.

In a way, knowing what I know now,
I feel kind of proud
that the devil chose my sister
out of everyone in our little town
for a full-blown possession.
She was never that pretty or that smart
and she couldn’t cook or sew.
My mother used to say she had a good heart.
And an even better exorcist, thank God.

 

— John Grey

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and Nebo.

During the Depression

men in ragged shirts,
soiled trousers,
ratty hair tucked under caps,John-Grey_During-the-Depression
in the middle of winter
sit around a fire
near an abandoned quarry,

others ride the rails,
slipping in and out of boxcars
one step ahead of the cops,
travelling rough
from one jobless place to another,
eating out of trash-cans,
lining up at soup kitchens.

In the castle on the hill,
coffins stay closed
well beyond sunset,

in the old abandoned mill,
the doctor shutters
his laboratory,
unable to get body parts,

in the waters of the black lagoon,
the creature is speared for food,

in a graveyard near Pittsburgh,
zombies starve
for lack of human flesh—
either their visual prey
is worn down to the bone
or they can’t tell a homeless man
from their own kind,

hungry for his next meal,
the wolf-man slinks down the hill
toward a cottage—
too late,
the wolf’s already
at the door.

 

— John Grey

 
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and Nebo.