John Grey




VARIATIONS ON A KISS                                      


Odd that I'm thinking

in the midst of a kiss,

how do I know what this means?

With lips firmly attached

and bodies upfront with needs and desires,

why does it suddenly get so cryptic,

as if I could just as easily

start a religion

as leap into bed with you?

I'm imagining how this would

look as a painting...

Goya, Manet, Renoir.

Or as a formula for

the interactions of spit.

What about that time

I was locked up in traffic

and it felt exactly like this...

if cars would only learn to pull away,

or get on with it, or something.


Just be thankful

my thoughts remain faithful in their way.

They're not replacing

the one who's on the other end.

No old girl-friends, no movie stars,

no girl on bus in red blouse, tight jeans.

You can be God, you can be subject matter,

key component, whatever,

or even the cop who rides to the rescue,

sorts out the jam.


What I'm telling you is

there's too much brain here

for too little passion.

The kiss does not so much

lead to lovemaking

as exhaust all other possibilities.



JUKEBOX IN HEAVEN                                    


They all cling to their music

even as the night

tries to pull their ears

and their tunes apart.

I'm a southern white male

in my mid-thirties,

says Michael.

I must have my

"Free Bird" please.

I'm a soft hearted

black guy in his

later twenties, declares Henry.

Give me my Marvin Gaye,

Art craves his psychedelics,

Joe his Hank Williams

and Peter, the Rolling Stones

like they were in the sixties.

What's on this damn

jukebox anyhow,

they snarl as they huddle

around its menu.

It's all the latest pop tunes,

nothing they know.

No wonder they're dead.

2011 John Grey

John Grey has been published recently in the Georgetown Review, The Pinch, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal.  He has work upcoming in Alimentum and Big Muddy.