These three poems by John Grey reflect the poet’s initial forays into the world of the arts as both audience member & participant, and also ask the question: How and why does the singular person subsume themselves into the couple?
by: John Grey
COMPASS POINT When the great poet stepped onto the stage, the room spun like a compass needle, everything pointed in his direction as if he was a literary magnetic north and everyone in the audience was metal. To be honest, his voice was a dull monotone and the stuff he read, nondescript. But we were all a little lost that night. We turned to him for navigation.
GUITAR MAN Yes, I mastered the guitar by strumming a child's tennis racket before the mirror. My sister joined in on drums or, at least, various pots and pans. In the spotlight of my imagination, I quickly mastered Jimmy Page riffs and Jeff Beck solos. The applause was immense. At least that's how my ears heard it. Then a cheap acoustic model found its way into my hands and, far from the crowds, I was forced into lessons, strumming the same chord over and over, picking the notes to 'Aura Lee.' When it came time to make actual sounds, my fantasies were horrified. And yet I persevered as kids do when their mother keeps reminding them that she's shelling out money she can't afford just so their fingertips callus and their version of "Horse With No Name" can entertain at family gatherings. Finally the hard body arrived and the amplifier and a real band formed around me. We stepped onto a silent stage before a bunch of strangers and proceeded to make the kind of noise that they could dance to. Okay so my licks didn't go over as well as did that tennis racket plunking many years before. But what I achieve has always been just a warm-up act. The world still hasn't heard from all that I intended.
TWO WHO WILL SOMEDAY MARRY Day after day, we deceive each other. Both of us are working toward full-blown treason. Trust has mutated into lies, into treachery. In everything we do, we're plots, cloak and dagger, skullduggery and double agents. We're ruthless spies, our assignment: each other.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Rathalla Review. 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.
Header art by Sandra Veillette.