poems by John Grey

Winter Child


City’s snowed in.

No one’s about.

Nothing to do but admire the night sky

through rippling red eyes.

Not so much the stars.

But the darkness that holds them in place.


He lives below street level,

a basement apartment.

The window pane

and a hovering streetlamp,

take some of his face,

reflect it back at him.

There’s just enough

paleness to the cheeks,

crimson to the lips,

for him to recognize himself.


It’s bitter out.

And icy as his mother’s heart.

His nightly alley-crawl

is put on hold.

There’s no one to stalk.

No clawing.

His hands have nothing to do

but rub together.


He is very much

a child of winter.

But there’s many a winter night

when he cannot be that child.






The disease is killing me.

My flesh is a pale yellow.

My hair’s turned aqua.

My fingernails glow green.

As for my eyes,

what once was brown

is now a myriad of colors,

from red to black to blue,

all swirling in the soup

of my failing sight.


I’m slipping away,

begging the doctors

to put me out of my misery.

But they’re enjoying the show too much.

They even invite their colleagues in

to witness my deadly transformation.


I’m worth at least

three papers to the academy,

a spot on TV’s “Illness Of The Week”,

and a Nobel Prize

if they ever find the cure.

I’d rather die

but rotting green is nothing new to them.




The Master


I say your name

on those dark nights

when clouds smother the moon and stars

and branches bow solemnly

at the insistence of drizzle

and I am totally devoid

of feeling for humanity,

on my crazy watch

in these isolated hours of the dead.

If I could only see you,

touch your robes,

sigh in reverence,

hear you speak

from the hollows in your face,

brow wizened,

white columned bones

poking through your cheeks,

tongue sliding over your lips

like a torpedo up its base.

I say your name

as drops slough like snakeskin

from the rim of my chin.

I am an irresolute, cold-hearted,

cut-throat denizen of this netherworld.

If only you knew

where to find me.

poems by John Grey

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