A Wakeup Poem | John Grey

Image: Krisztian Tabori

A Wakeup Poem

With great effort,
I crank open my leaden eyelids.
I open my mouth
at great expense to my jaw muscles.
I yawn,
threaten my upper arms with muscle tear
as I suck in my ration of air.
I lift myself,
first, at the waist,
then I swing my legs around,
cranky and creaking,
like a rusted weathervane.
I haul myself up
to the vertical state,
as wobbly
as some Olympic games wrestler
going for the record.
My knees tremble
but they hold.
Blood picks up speed.
Oxygen fights it way to my brain.
The hardest part of the day
is over.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, “Covert”Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.

so what’s left – john grey

after the parades die down
and three hundred million of us
are left with nothing to do
but pick up trash from the sidewalk:
take down the signs

as troops are dispersed
to go home
and look at themselves
in the mirror

and the presidents and senators
and colonels and capitalist
are secure in their counting houses

and it starts to rain
on flagstone on brown boot
on hair and bald head
on whatever flesh dare expose itself
even on a faded tattoo of a heart

and on rusted auto of course
dead junco live pigeon
even all over two people
who cross themselves
in a flamboyant Godspeak
then quote the desiccated Gospel of love

and rats tinkle bells
like old Rita’s cow
and ancient tongues speak
a diffused paranoia
and the young stir their names
in the muddy ground
with the last of the slicks
made of broken limbs
from trees once everywhere
now shipped in from elsewhere


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.  

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