The bridge rumbles as I drive across,
Below me is yesterday's town:
brick crumbling, machinery rusting,
the industrial revolution's terminal ward
by the slow brown river.
It's the barren heart of winter
so there's no pretense in the bare trees,
the icy sills of the boarded up union office,
the snow dusted vacant lots.
the silent white-capped scrap metal yards.
At least the hospital has a new wing
and so, it seems, does the cemetery.
The ones who used to hold down jobs
The peeling paint of
the house I grew up in
is a different color of course.
And there's a mere trace of a garden.
Or a fence.
To be honest, memory has a hard time
with what I see before me.
I spy a woman's face in an upper window.
She is as strange to me as anything else
in this town.
But I am where the strangeness ends for her.
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.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.
She’s been sitting in the passenger seat of my car for a week.
She won’t wear her seatbelt and she won’t come in at night.
We are the easy targets
to the men who hide behind
the thin veil of life
the men in Washington
who pretend that they care.
It’s nice to scream
“This is what democracy looks like”
With a hundred people you’ve never met before.
Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down