April 13, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Emanuele Toscano photo



John Grey








Someone who knows more

than me is coming.

Should I hide

to avoid embarrassment

or follow, at a safe distance,

maybe pick up

a tidbit of two.


The gap between

what’s in his head

and mine

is monstrous.

Knowledge, so they say,

is power,

which makes him

a billion times more powerful

than I am.

He could blow me to pieces.

with a fact or two.

open his mouth,

and drown me in statistics.


I really should avoid him altogether.

I don’t want to begin

my education with

an inferiority complex.

I’ve plenty of time

for that later in life.


Meanwhile. I find my way

to a room with desks and blackboard.

There are others in there just like me.

I take a seat, pray it’s low enough

so that I can never be seen.

But in he comes,

points at me,

says “what’s your name, boy?”


He doesn’t know it.

Could there be other stuff he doesn’t know

but I do.

Thanks for giving me this name, mother.

It’s where the revolution begins.





When Two Into One Won’t Go



They go from the mall to the playground

at twilight, then the high school parking lot.

They’re trying to figure the best way to be alone.

He’s seventeen, hair falling in his eyes,

a tiny earring shining in a lobe.

She’s a year younger, slim and pretty,

a silver crucifix dangling down between

where her breasts will someday be.

He’s aiming for cool but it comes out as nervous.

She starts off jittery, shakes from her navel ring

to her tiny brown eyes.

He strokes her thigh.

She looks up at the familiar, admonishing school building,

pulls away from him.

It’s like she’s peering over her own shoulder.

doesn’t like what she sees.

She asks him to drive her home.

The ride is conducted in silence.

She doesn’t know it

but he’s as relieved as she is.

She invites him in.

He reluctantly takes up her offer.

It’s early evening but her mother’s already

asleep on the couch with her mouth wide open.

Her father’s conked out in his favorite chair.

It’s the kind of situation where no two people

make the perfect couple.

A coffee and a fumbled conversation later

and she’s off to bed,

he’s back in his car.

joins his friends at the burger joint.

A girl and her pillow.

a boy and his buddies –

for a time at least.

made for each other.






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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