The Price Of Fame | Poem by Ray Miller

The Price Of Fame

I like to peruse the charity shops

at least once a week.

I once bought a book by Roger McGough

for only 40p.

Today I happened to find myself

inside Cats Protection;

there, between Drama and Mental Health

I spied a collection

of poetry written by local bards

and the CD we recorded,

plus Ian McMillan, John Cooper Clarke.

But, could I afford it?

It sold for ten pounds when first published;

poets got one free.

My ex has thrown mine in the rubbish –

jealous, obviously.

I was just about to check out the cost

then thought, should I leave it?

If I take this volume from the shop

no-one else will read it.

I said to the girl at the counter, Look,

as I fished for money,

I’ve a couple of poems in this book

and one’s very funny.

Are you famous then? Show me which are yours.

I turned to the page;

there were complicit smiles, a few guffaws –

you should be on the stage!

I could tell her about the pressure

performing Spoken Word.

A recitation might impress her,

but I’ve lost my nerve.

I say, I ought to get this book for free

seeing as I’m in it.

She finds the price, it’s just 30p:

thus am I diminished.

Melcome | Poem by Jessica Skyfield


to my echo chamber.

I’m having fun, (right now).

And that’s what it’s all about, right?


Behold the meaningless rantings of a mad(whoa)man.

Sliding slipping sagging

as time warps and wears

picking up speed on the downhill slide.

Infinite neural networks

these/those/them/there/their/they’re sliding glass doors shut

but I can still see back through;


It’s cold outside.

Scaramouche is fandangoing

and nothing truly



at all.*

*Actually, everything matters/everything’s matter and this is just a coping

mechanism for reality because everything is so big and I am so little and

the forces that exist are so great and I don’t feel strong enough…said hurriedly with flushed cheeks and zero free oxygen anywhere.

But I’m trying.

In Ordinum ist Progress.

(What esoteric concepts!–whose order and progress towards what?!)

Literally all our plundering is in the name of progress, so…

& of course I moved to the state whose motto is Ad astra per aspera.

ad nauseam per Astrae, 

blundering through inumerable difficulties

tale as old as Time.

Hit me where the wind blows

& know that endless questioning is nothing but to beg for sorrow.

Adapted ahead of print from JP Skyfield’s Condensed Chronology.

About That First Love and other Poems by John Grey


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
Wordsworth from
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.


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.

The New World Order | Poem by Ray Miller

The holiday romance is wintering

in the blankets of her bestest buddy.

There’s an empty ring in the silver tin,

and candles light the depths of her study,

where she’s practising pole dancing and  TEFL;  

she’ll throw a dart in a part of the globe

and chase the arrow for some precious metal

while her lips and her legs remain in vogue.

It’s closing time in the gardens of the West,

we can’t afford the servants any longer.

She’s in a tipsy state and a flimsy dress,

bent over at the wrong end of a conga.

Foreign eyes are leering at your daughter

in the queue for the new world order.

“Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter, and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment”