Two Poems by John Grey


Back alleys, dye works,
factory-crawling brown river,
drunken melancholy of the bars,
loneliness of traffic jams,
flashing sign with three letters missing,
burnt-out tenements,
shuttered grocery-store,
hookers and junkies
and beggars
and homeless hunched together
underneath the overpass –
and still the stars come out.


On a trip to the city,
I walk through
early morning
subway fog,
pass an old beggar
with an empty cap,
women, painted, formless,
against a concrete stoop,
trace the light
of late shift traffic
to its natural conclusion –
a young girl’s waking face
in a basement window,
hear distant sirens
like wolf howls
deep in the skyscraper woods,
and muffled voices –
shadows speaking
and then slowly speaking less.

File0005 V3 (2)

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

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