Not for nothing is God fierce

as the Atomic bomb on the one hand

but gentle as a porcupine

feeding in the roadside grasses

on the other.

And not for nothing is it Sunday

once a week

and not twice a week.

The days are not as arbitrary as

I was led to believe.

I met Gale on a Monday

so Monday it is

and ever shall be.

And there must be a purpose

to the battlegrounds of the menstrual period

and the relative calm of all else.

Even the death of someone close

doesn't grind the innards unreasonably.

She smiles her way through the worst of them

but I've learned to never trust a smile.

And Wednesday is the crux of the week,

neither beginning, nor ending,

like it's always Wednesday in my life,

no matter how old I am,

looking back, looking forward,

but unable to follow.

And not for nothing is time such a holy roller

with its limited choking life-spans

and its miraculous eternities for the best of us.

It puts people in our way on Mondays.

It gives us Wednesday to reflect on

how there's nothing worth reflecting about.

And on Sundays, we have ample time

to make our excuses to God

and sleep until the football games begin.

Not for nothing is the Atom Bomb

the ultimate in serenity

and the porcupine

the sharpest kid on the block.







Her head was ablaze that day.

No brush fire but a real conflagration,

a city block, ten thousand forest acres.

The fire brigade was out of town.

Or it was back in the past somewhere.

The fire plugs were busted anyhow.

And it had been years since water pressure

could spit more than a drop.

She was doomed

like one of those south-side tenements,

the greasy spoon with its oil-soaked grill.

Flames leapt out of her ears, her mouth,

up through the fissures in her scalp.

Didn't pay to get too near.

Apologies just seared and sizzled.

Even an attempted hug was smoldering ashes

before it could draw near.

In the midst of her inferno,

she picked up a Chinese vase,

flung it against the wall

where it exploded in a million pieces.

Like dynamite in an oil fire,

the noise, the shock,

that was what suddenly quelled the rage.

She simmered down.

Self-realization soothed her.

"Doesn't pay to get too worked up," she said.

She smiled the last of the glow, the glare.

A cinders halo settled on her hair.










his art

imagines anybody

in his own disguise,

his loin's philanthropy


into thin air goes its enemy . . .

it poses . . .

it's at this point . . .

it's got it all . . .

it's only then

it examines its own core,

like a Duke screwing with

the poor, the wretched


falls asleep,


feels his model,

finds himself formidable,

on the white sheet grass,

damp and naked

and pleasurably weary,

grand prize-winner

of gyrating gravity


naked on the couch.

like bad fruit

in poor light,

it's a trick of the senses,

as old, as endless;

as the apple,

as paradise on earth

when painted by a pauper



John Grey


Bio:  He has been published recently in The Talking River, Santa Fe Poetry Review and Caveat

Lector with work upcoming in Clark Street Review, Poem and the Evansville Review.