Poetry Drawer: Two Poems by John Grey

In At The Kill

Pigeons on the rooftops,
a body of prey,
hawk claws grip telephone pole,
take a hundred different forms,
a picture perfect pose
the right way to measure –
look up, a symbol,
changing at the blink of an eye.

If I ever had the strength
to peek through that book
of concentration camp horrors,
difficult words, unconscionable phrases
would compete with one another
for a better grasp of evil’s history
though for how long
could the mind still claim to be master?

I could trace iniquity, back and forth,
from the unborn to the living
to the relief of never having brought
a child into the world,
the darkness repeating itself,
maintaining both depth and surface,
in bodies draped across each other,
bald heads, dead eyes, that depart
from what I know of people,
then the ashes of the ovens,
the Nazi Auto-da-fe,
the acts that overstep even
the worst that I can imagine,
ordinary people
taking on this ghastly form of reality,
owed an impossible apology
to go with the sorry plots and crosses.

Pigeons on the rooftops
do not hone the mind’s values,
can never be noble,
like the hawk
that eyes the fattest of them,
is about to swoop,
satisfy its hunger.
I am fine with it.
I have learned that each kill is different.
Some must always be remembered.
Some grant the witness license
to go home and hug his loved ones.

Sorry But

Regarding making your home,
partly my home,
I’m afraid the furniture
is too ugly for my tastes,
likewise the colour of the drapes
and, most of all,
your expectations.

I find I work best
as a solitary man
who interacts with others of his kind occasionally
but finds that overdoing it
can lead to changes in dress sense,
in habits, clean or otherwise,
and strange food in the refrigerator.

So I find I must refuse
your kind offer –
same for your disagreeable demand.

Poetry Drawer: An Awkward Meeting in a Coffee House by John Grey

Inky Interview Special: John Grey, Australian Poet, USA resident

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