Sex Under The Microscope


Your parents give me the once-over.

Where do I hide these fingernails

that have scratched your naked back?

Into which pocket, do I slip the sex?


Smarten up, you’ve been saying to me,

anything to frame the beast in civilization.

You’re worried that something grotesque,

decayed, survived the last time we made love

and is showing somewhere on my person.


I comb hair, knot tie. straighten creases

and still you are afraid.

I must remember to shake their hands

without moaning.


Yes, if we are to survive our own bestiality,

we must be able to fashion it into fine living.

Cover our animal skin,

suppress our mating fervor,

fall in politely with

pass the ketchup,

how’s your appetite,

what do you do for a living.


Just don’t let on that

we are as much genitals as brain,

predators whose biting and gnashing

may someday spawn them a grandchild.


After the wedding, of course.

Ah, the wedding…

some words said in church

and a feast to obscure the real feasting.



Victim Stares Up At His Killer


to a knife-stabbed heart,

to an utter dizziness of the head,

to those flashing triumph,

is to understand how the unordered mind works,

like a bird’s unkempt feathers,

a kid’s cap skewed to the side,

the way these maples die in winter

though no one’s knifing them



The Truckers


In a diner, some truckers grumble at each other –

it’s the long miles talking –

while others gulp coffee

or spread jam across dark toast.

One says he picked up a hitchhiker,

his first in over a year.

A pretty blonde he adds,

though nothing happened.


I’m at my usual table

scribbling some of what I hear –

the pretty blonde makes the cut

but not some no-name ball-game

played on the west coast.


I like it here

because it doesn’t involve my own life.

My argument with my wife doesn’t get a mention.

Nor does a sick sister

or my latest work project.


I overhear the jokes, good and bad,

though none are aimed at me.

I get insight into the hardships

of a trucker’s life

but not the ulcers.

The waitress refills my cup.

But it’s not the only cup being filled.

These men, and occasional women,

lay their world open.

And the best part is,

they do not know that I’m a freeloader.


I could go on but that’s their job.

They’re substance, living jewels,

the suns that ignite my upstairs window.


John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Paterson Literary Review, Southern California Review and Natural Bridge with work upcoming in the Kerf, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.

Cover Photo: Jack Callil