ABOUT THAT FIRST LOVE
It did not feel like they had told me.
Less emotional, more like somebody
gifting me a brand new red sports car.
Hormones, I barely understood.
But horsepower was a cinch.
I didn’t lose my heart.
It was more a great flap in my head.
And it wasn’t war of course.
Not unless I wanted the other side to win.
It did strange things to conversation.
When I spoke to the girl,
it was like offering her a bite
of my candy bar.
Words had to taste delicious.
Or she had to be prepared to make a sacrifice,
devour them spit and all.
It was dividing myself in two.
One half still threw footballs.
The other was careful none landed
unsuspectingly near her.
And she wasn’t even the real thing.
First love was just rehearsal for second love.
And all I knew of second love was
that one of them was me.
He rode in on a
glorious steed of Rilke,
alighted like pick-pocketing
a crowded shelf of prose.
He was dressed in a fancy, glittering suit
of Flaubert and Fitzgerald,
though his weapons were Russian novels,
“War and Peace,” “Crime And Punishment”.
he sure had me covered.
When the villains arrived…
Grisham, Clancy and
some Harlequin hired hands,
he was waiting for them
with Racine, Pushkin and Cervantes.
It was all over before you could say,
“For Whom The Bell Tolls.”
No, he didn’t take me in his arms,
but he did recommend I read
Durrel’s “Alexandria Quartet.”
We would have rode off into the sunset
together but, luckily, there was
a Starbucks next door.
THE RITE OF COUPLING
It’s Saturday night, a glitzy nightclub,
and I’m feeling useless and lonely
until I spy an attractive woman
sitting all alone at a nearby table.
I’m thinking to myself,
this is the angel who will restore me
to the very pinnacle of manhood.
She has long blonde hair
and I appreciate the way she tosses it.
And her eyes are surely blue
though the cross-breed lights,
the boogieing shadows, won’t yet concur.
I stand and stare in one motion.
A few confident steps,
some of my best one-liners,
and before you know it we’re dancing…
we’re a couple even.
If only it were that easy.
If the angel, precious as she may be,
weren’t just some replica of myself –
embarrassed by the past,
concerned for the future.,
and stuck here in some kind of perverse present
of money worries, family issues
and relationship anxiety.
My nerves fail me.
I return to my forlorn drink and chair.
The dance-floor is a throbbing, buzzing hive
of men and women.
Those guys andme-1can’t get over how alike we are.
And the women —no different from her, surely.
Before the approach,
I wonder how secure they were in the knowledge.
Did they imagine perfectly matched twosomes,
here, there, in all directions?
Are we meant to be together, that’s what I want to know.
The song that’s playing keeps implying yes.
And yet it’s not one I know.
She’s not singing along.
I’m not either.
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.