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.
THE ARTIST MAKES LOVE TO HIS MODEL
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
feels his model,
finds himself formidable,
on the white sheet grass,
damp and naked
and pleasurably weary,
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.