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  November 2015
volume 12 number 2
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  paulo brito
  Don Kingfisher Campbell
  Michael Aaron Casares
  Emily Fernandez
  John Jay Flicker
  E.L. Freifeld
  John Grey
  Christopher Mulrooney
  Kushal Poddar
  Jan Steckel
  Wanda Vanhoy Smith
  mailing list
John Grey November 2015



art by the feral artist

    John Grey is an Australian poet, and US resident, and has had work published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review, with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Examined Life Journal, and Midwest Quarterly.



Wedding Duty

It was a wedding of strangers.
We were there to make up the family numbers.
What did it matter that I'd only seen the groom once,
and that at a funeral.
Weddings, funerals, those were the only time
the outer branches of the rotting family tree
acknowledged each other.
It's got so I can't imagine my male cousins
in anything but a tux or a heavy dark suit.

I knew the bride not at all.
Blue satin and veils of white lace...
lovely, you said.
Un~favorite aunts asked after my job.
A red-nosed uncle complained to me
about the watered-down beer
while Cousin Lecher thought it might
be fun to pat your ass.
Aunt Gloria's face flushed red and wet.
She was the family clich',
the only who only ever cried at weddings and funerals.
Like me. she probably found them indistinguishable.
Meanwhile, lights flashed, bulbs popped.
Nothing like posing for a photograph
we'll never see.

I whispered in your ear, "Let's leave."
You said that wouldn't be polite.
After the chewy chicken entree,
I repeated the suggestion.
This time you acquiesced.
"We're off to another wedding"
I lied to the startled people at our table.
Meanwhile, to the clamor of forks on wine glasses,
the happy couple kissed.
Why not. It was their funeral.

copyright 2015 John Grey



Regarding Marriage

It's a battle
but without the uppercuts to the jaw,
the swinging haymakers.

There's no broken noses,
no bruises, no blood,
no searing pain in the mid-section.

We don't differentiate by weight class.
I'm not heavy. She's not cruiser.

We don't wear wrist straps or mouth guards or gloves.
We don't warm up with a punching bag.

There's no ring in the bedroom
nor baying crowds.

The kitchen has never seen the likes
of Ali-Frazier or Johnson-Burns.

We don't even raise our voices
so that rules out all orators, debaters,
strikers, and people screaming help.

Okay, so we don't raise our voices
except for the last.

copyright 2015 John Grey