John Grey – Another boy shot

John Grey LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.

Another boy shot, poems by John Grey.

Another boy shot

You could blame hot weather rage
except it’s the middle of January.
And boys will be boys.
Too bad they have to be sons.
And that shot could have even
been a car back-firing.
Then a loud cry
had to go spoil
that explanation.

You’d think
the more people that gather,
the less the pain
would consume the one.
But she’s out there screaming,
“Not Jamie! It can’t be Jamie!”
Nobody else says anything like that.
And if she hadn’t exclaimed
“Oh my beautiful boy!”
then his corpse would not have looked
so ugly.

State of the world

The storms are bizarre.
Question marks float up
out of stinking flesh.

The floods that used to happen to other people
are flush against my door.
What’s next? The murders?

Deforested is upfront in the lexicon.
Oil is the latest spill
it’s no use crying over.
The Arctic shelf is the new Titanic
and every polar bear
is John Jacob Astor.

How do people in Africa perish?
Let me count the ways.
Stop me if you’ve heard
famine and AIDS before.
Mexico must be eighty percent
drug lords by this.
And the Middle East is the Middle East.
I’m glad we got that straight.

In America,
the next one to find a job
will be the first.
At this rate,
I’ll be last.

And don’t try to tell me
I have a job.
Poetry’s not a job.
It’s just bizarre storms.
It’s question marks
floating up
out of stinking flesh.

The war on luck

Crouched in a tree,
eyes squinting,
the sniper sights his target
through thick green foliage.

A gleam of a gun barrel
is followed by
a flash of fire.
the crack of a bullet
grazing an enemy soldier’s cheek.

It could have gone differently.
Maybe next time it will:
one sharp-shooter with
another notch on the handle,
one bloody body in the jungle
not reclaimed for days.

The war is like that –
good luck and bad luck
forever changing sides.
The victor, as always,
is no luck at all.

The affair

All night the motel’s neon sign
flashed its way up to the drawn curtain
them flashed no more.
He was awake.
His mind was not a good place to be.
She lay next to him, stiff and silent,
like a body awaiting autopsy.

Anna will never know, he told himself.
Nor will regret.
For when it came to guilt and faithfulness,
need frustrated them all.
But the sex was the longest he’d gone
without feeling anything.
Monotonous, if the truth be told
and he prayed it never would be.

When the woman came back to his room,
he felt like a gambler
gathering his winnings off the table.
She sure was attractive.
It was a tasteless affair to be sure
but one with a fantastic view.

But now, it was so dark,
she could be anyone.
He didn’t have that luxury.

© John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

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