ordinary days and extraordinary days
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Five Poems
by John Grey




Average Day


First the sun shined brightly

but then dark clouds moved in

and it rained heavily.

And, initially, there was no wind

but it finally started blowing gale-strength.


At work,

I finished that project

but, when I turned it in,

I was slammed with two more.

And Angela agreed to go out with me.

But she called it off before the time

we were to meet.


In other words,

the morning was full of promise

but the afternoon came off

as a disaster.


So, if you take the average,

it was an ordinary day

like every other.

It’s not the mean’s fault

that so much happened in it.





a line, (a short blue one)



Dead Canaries


What bird song is left to us –

dead canaries are buried in a perching posture –

no longer singing,

merely quoting phantoms

in the falling snowflake rays

of the moon –

it’s quiet as sprinkled water,

and as dark as the pauses between piano notes –

no one listens to the stories

of old soldiers anymore -

memory resides

in each personal clump,

tarnished medals,

unfashionable uniform

with holes in the sleeves 

where the bones poke through.




a line, (a short blue one)



To The License, Poetic And Gun


The poem kept a gun in the house.

It fired at anyone

who trespassed on its property.

It was careful just to wing

the intruders,

didn't want them

bleeding all over

the finely wrought metaphors,

didn't want language cops

asking questions,

dusting for fingerprints,

looking for motive.


The poem wasn't necessarily violent

but it had its secrets

and they were to be protected at all costs.

What poem wants readers

running all over it,

messing up its rooms,

violating its body.

The poem understood

the best offence is self-defense.


It was an ode

to a loved one,

gentle, romantic,

straight from the heart,

a gun packed at the hip.




a line, (a short blue one)



Geese Attack


Another argument with my beloved -

I struggled between raising my voice

and figuring exactly what the fight was over.


I strode off into the park

but came too close to a nest apparently

because a flock of Canada geese

suddenly flew out from the bushes.

in a semi-take-off,

necks waving like axes,

hissing louder than adders.


Sure I could grab every one

of those lumbering waterfowl

by the neck

and twist it like I'm tying

rope into a knot.


But I'm an animal lover

so 1 tried to bluff it out instead.

My expression went for.

"Look at me,

I think there's nothing sweeter on this planet

than fluffy little goslings."


The lead assailant stopped

and the others clumped up behind him.

But still their round black eyes

fired warning shots.

I've seen that expression on some women I've known.

"What do you mean, ‘sweeter’?"


I took two large steps away from the geese.

trying not to show any fear,

merely my mien of last resort - indifference.

They understood that apparently,

turned on their webbed feet.

and waddled back to their babies.


No question, indifference is a mighty weapon.

Too bad it only works with geese.




a line, (a short blue one)



Pillow Talk


Talk of love, last thing at night,

fought hard against gravel-raking yawns.

You were saying that

if you were any drowsier

you'd be talking in your sleep

while my consciousness,

starved of all energy,

could barely make excuses

for why I wasn't fiercely hugging you to me

like a bear protecting its young.


My eyes hung low,

your body contained too many errors.

the bed was soft

and the hour reduced my words

to those of an automaton,

yours to a flat-lining murmur.


But our emotion muddled though,

even daring to venture that

life together will always be like this

until you rolled over.

gazed toward your subconscious.

emitted a brief snore,

like a vehicle starting up.

headed for the highway of dreams,

in its rear view mirror,

pillow talk fading.





a line, (a blue one)


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