Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Commute’ and other poems by John Grey

By: John Grey


An alarm clock rings on the side-table.
My head rings in harmony.

The cat jumps upon
my curled-up body,
tears my dream to shreds.

I flick on the radio for company.
The station plays a song
I’ve heard a thousand times before.
The thousandth and one time
knows no better.

I pour coffee into
the unwashed cup
I retrieve from the sink.

Yesterday’s stains
meet today’s fresh blend –
that’s always the way.
Like a new start
that knows how all the old ones ended.

I dress, bundle up until
I’m bear shape and size,
head out for the freezing bus stop.
That feral cat of a temperature
still finds a way to scratch at me.

It’s another day just like any other.
I haven’t it within me
to make it any different.

For the life I’ve planned
is like a car stalled out in the driveway.

Here comes the bus.



There I was
singing to your photo
on my dresser

while you were
on another mattress
with some giggling girl
you met at the laundromat.

I would have even
laundered your sheets
had you asked,

maybe sitting next
to that same girl,
on the bench,
me singing,
she giggling.

the best you can
make of a situation
is a pretty picture.



He said he was a photographer
which was why snapshots of women
were scattered about his apartment.

But he hated the thought of doing weddings
which was why he’d never
set up shop as a professional.

He loved women.
Those glossies left no doubt of that.
And he despised weddings.
His comments were all I needed to hear
in that regard.

So he was no different
from a whole bunch of other guys I’ve met.
Except he had a camera.



In winter light,
trees and brush stripped bare,
there are no secrets
from my sight.

And then it snows,
fences, rocks,
trunks, roots and boughs,
become nothing more
than shapes.
Everything’s a riddle,
an enigma.

Finally, a thaw
and, in my eyes,
all returns to what it was.

As always,
the purpose of nature
is to be just as
I remember it.



Thunder too loud, lightning too emphatic –
there can’t be one thing more in the world.
And then there’s the pouring rain
battering window panes and rooftop.
Inside is just a dryer version of outside.

Finally, it stops. Sky clears.
The world reverts to my troubled thoughts
and the next-door neighbors arguing.
Disruptive in their own right
but a long way from being weather.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Plainsongs, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.

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