September 15, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Marc Asnin



John Grey



The Cigarette and the Suitcase



He sits and looks into the room’s spaces,

smokes a cigarette.

His heart burns like tobacco

down to his filter-tip shoes.


His guilt is as complex as

a grain of sugar.

It should never have happened

but stunning her with his true feelings

was sweet

thank you very much

short-chain soluble carbohydrate.


He still can’t imagine a room

with so many spaces.

That cigarette smoke doesn’t go halfway

to filling them.


Meanwhile, she’s taking herself up on that offer

of a life of her own.


She’s in the room upstairs

packing her stuff

in the clunky suitcase that came with her.


It’s somewhat flat, rectangular-shaped,

and closes on hinges like a door.


It shuts with a snap

just like some people do.









The Woman Who Strayed



Yes her situation could have been mistaken for Hell

and there is the touch of Orpheus about him,

mostly the guitar he strums in lieu of conversation,

and he did haul her out of there, no doubt,

when it looked as if death’s claws

were driving their lurid and unbeatable bargain.


But for all his unguents, his promises,

his deft touch, the light he shines in her direction,

she feels no better off above ground,

a world just too plain ordinary unless it’s under threat

and how many times can she wallow in her own degradation

without making that her life’s work.


So she stays with the hero who is not her hero,

with a man determined to make a go of it

even when that going goes nowhere.

There’s been a concerted effort on his part

to make the everyday a cover for heaven.

Any attempt at escape has got to be kidding.










john grey

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and Nebo.


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