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 Male. A Poem by John Grey

I’m driving down Main Street.

My wife is in the passenger seat.

A beautiful young woman

in tight dress and high heels

is sashaying along the sidewalk.

How do I look

and yet not appear to be looking?

That is a question that often arises.

It came up the time

when I first saw my wife.

I was sitting in a coffee shop

and she was at the next table.

My book was open.

It was “Tender Is The Night:”

by F Scott Fitzgerald.

That novel and I

were married at the time.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrival



It’s a long long night –
we bypass attraction on the way
to indifference -.
the beer is flat,
the bartender won’t refill our peanut bowl
nothing left to say
moves on to staring in each other’s face,
wondering what it takes for two people
to find even the merest attraction
in each other
and why the alcohol-fueled
loss of inhibitions is no help –
we’re just two different people
and, for all the liquor,
all the come-ons in the world.,
we’re fated to remain that way –
but I say, “It was nice talking to you”
and you reply, “the pleasure
was all mine” –
more hours wasted
on absolutely nothing —
sometimes I think
life was never meant
to happen.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review. To view more of his work www.motherbird.com & Poetry Life & Times

goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Last Walk and Other Poems by John Grey


On his last painful walk
across his land,
he stopped for a moment
at the sight of something moving
on the far edge of the field,
a canine shape
but too big for a fox,
too small for a coyote
and, in the way it loped,
paused and raised its head
as if about to howl,
no dog.

With air almost too humid for breathing
and Summer haze
watering the distances
and his weakening eyes
drawing back inside his head,
there was no way
he could see it clear.

But they stood there,
face to face,
neither willing to make the first move
to come closer.

They were like estranged lovers,
a father and son who hadn’t spoken in years,
something that needed to be done
and the someone who didn’t do it,
an opportunity and the one who didn’t take it.

It was his land.
And, most probably, it was his creature.





The snails are crawling across the pathway
from weeds to blue star cultivar.
A spider creeps across the leaves.
I hover somewhere between work to be done
and contemplation.
A fine drizzle says it’s April.
The birds trill courting songs.
1 believe the insects do as well.
I could seed the garden.
Or feel the fine drops on my cheeks.

Bees buzz down to business.
Embedded in paper huts,
it’s still not the wasps’ call.
The clouds are flat gray
but not ominous.
The water they spill is nimble.

It’s not a lovely scene.
That’s why I can go out into it
and get a job done
without fear of spoiling someone’s
oil on canvas.
But there’s enough there
to engage the heart,
to inform the brain,
that it’s not all about being useful.

A titmouse flies down to the feeder.
as if its sparkling cheery cry
will tilt the scales
to the side of wonderment.
It doesn’t
but I’m spellbound by the attempt.





In a dark war-zone,
a snake crawls through
a trench of twigs and leaves
in search of hard rubbing implements
to scrape off its tired outer layer.

But the demon of many a mouse hole
is now a prey animal itself,
exposed by shafts of moonlight
in the land of the predator’s trained eye.

The reptile chafes against
the rough edge of a rock,
insect boudoirs of bark.
Anything to pry itself free from
three months’ worth of keratin.

A distant hoot of a great horned owl
sets off vibrations in the snake’s skull
but it still continues to grate and grind,
tiny sounds that implicate itself.

But instinct’s wired for life and death.
Survival doesn’t differentiate.

John  Grey

via…………..Split Lip

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Oyez Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift with work upcoming in New Plains Review, Big Muddy Review, Willow Review and Louisiana Literature.