John Grey

A Farm in Trouble…a Dying Woman, a Missing Pig, an Obdurate Couple and a Cat The cat is peeing on the carpet,your mother died before we could evenhope that she'd survive this latest bout,the prize hog escaped but we no longercare enough to chase after him,there's something of the unspeakablein our faces - sorry about the cat,sorry about the lack of respect,the way couples scratch and claw at each otherlike newly paired apeswhen the quietest character in all thishas nothing to apologize forthough she passed away under our nosesand the sun is already settingon the fate of the farm - he's not even our catbut she was your odd elation tells usshe's now at one with the old maneven if they didn't speak muchhis last two yearsbut. as for the hog,he's someone else's bacon by thisand the bank insistswe sell off or go under - so we must leaveand make a life together elsewhere,a farmer's daughterand an iterant worker.with no farm and no work -but we do have a cat -he pisses on carpetshe pisses on lives if you let him.

The Hendrix Thief You were sixteen when you stolemy Jimi Hendrix album. I was thirteen.There was bullying involved.You went off to join your friends,laughing all the way. You said I wastoo young to appreciate Hendrix. I called you all kinds of names butonly behind your back. I wrote somedown on note paper. I even thoughtof scribbling one or two on the wallof the high school bathroom. At eighteen, you were workingin a garage. You were caught pilfering supplies.No surprise there. The owner threatenedto prosecute so you busted his nose.You got off with six months' probation. I laughed when I heard the news.It was as if I had gotten my copyof "Are You Experienced" returned to me.But then, less than a year later, you overdosed and died.But it wasn't like having the album backplus all your other records besides.I just felt inexplicably sad.Hendrix was dead by then as well.Strangely, it was your death that killed him for me. I don’t even listen to Hendrix these days.The thieves got away with everything.

Minefield The world revolves,sun casts the fields pink and yellow,in small finite stepsa young boy takes on the tint. The remains of past warsoccupy the between layers,a tuft, a small button, another tuft -there's no accounting for this surface. He puts his feet in ruts,trips on stones,somehow makes it to the riverwithout stepping on a landmine. He's a natural born soldierveiled in a childhood shroud,not a border to his nameor, at least, life and death only John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.