Previous Feature: John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Cape Rock, Columbia Review, and Homestead Review, with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem, and Spoon River Poetry Review.


Anna’s First Date in Years

Who would have thought
that she would welcome
the invader
after all these years
of sleeping with
the lights on,
of being too frightened
to go downstairs
and investigate one noise.

Who’d have figured
her head would drive out
all the fearful imaginings
of what a stranger might
do to her,
that a need would strike up
a bargain with the dread,
that the doorbell ringing
would presage such a different
kind of nervousness.

She’s journeyed back
from what will they do to me
to what will they think of me.
She’s looking in the mirror
not sinking into the bed sheets,
fixing herself up,
not locking herself down.

There’s a life at the door
that could add not subtract
from all it touches.
Sure he still might
steal her heart,
wound her deeply.

But he’ll be the first burglar
in years
that she takes from,
the first killer
to give her back her life.


Joe Average Watches the News

It’s on the news channel,
puppy trapped down a sink hole,
fireman’s lowered on a rope
to haul the Chihuahua up out of the muck
that half buried him.

Luckily, the little beast
licks the hands and face
of his rescuer,
doesn’t bite the poor man.

Otherwise, the scene
would have Joe Average
immediately wound up by
countries who hate us
and yet still get our donations
of taxpayers’ hard-earned money
or useless, lazy minorities
sucking on the public teat
and they can’t even speak English,
and his own ungrateful kids
who don’t realize all that sacrifices
their parents made.

the puppy merely yaps a little,
in whatever the canine version
of English is
and no doubt goes on through
the rest of its life
remembering that fireman
as the greatest human being who ever lived.

Joe opens a beer,
stuffs his mouth with chips,
sits back on his couch,
is content with life
until another news item decides otherwise.


August Ends with a Train Crossing

Turtles bask on silver rocks.
A leap, a splash,
brown water can’t contain its fish.

Leaves cling to trees,
overripe and heavy.

Here and there,
we spy the shreds of human occupation,
crumpled paper, broken bottles,
the name of someone called Trudy
forged on a stone.

A snake wiggles across
the stream,
head raised just enough
for calm to crack.

We walk the trail
along the bank,
under the bridge
just as the train crosses.

It’s the end of August;
darkness of the days ahead
is wearing on lights of now.

Blue smoke plumes
send a message to the sky.
We’re passed on all sides
by the shudder of trestles.


There’s Someone for Everyone

Go to where they congregate.
Take up some place
where you can observe unobserved.
No lies, no bribes,
no displays of masculine power.
Be patient, endlessly so if need be.
And humble: no waving your fat wallet,
no touting your work prospects,
no pants so tight, your virility
pounds like a heart.
Be soft-spoken, even silent.
Love them, respect them from afar.
Eventually, they’ll notice you.
They’ll say. “God, I hope I never get stuck
with a guy like that.”
Be a guy like that.
And yes, put on something sticky.


All Hail! Midnight Lane Boutique is dedicated to the memory of Joe Dunn, actor, impresario, poet, publisher, and friend.


          We will meet again   

          one day, we will

          gather at the river

          (Paterson perchance)

Robert Creeley 



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