by John Grey
The people of America
go crazy –
from fishing folk of the Maine coast
to the California
surfing crowd –
a baby emerges from a deaf-mute’s womb
and it’s still not promiscuous
or willing to kill for a living.
It is watched over by old names
and new slatterns.
Character is born
just like that baby
but with its own blood spilled,
not the mothers’.
Being bathed continually in filth helps.
Job or first love –
numbing terror is not the same as emotion
until it is.
Sadly, a woman being choked
to death by the rough hands
of a stranger
cannot answer your twenty questions –
luckily, the default in every case
And then there’s marriage,
a rash dash
and without cash –
three children are raised
by the state –
on a cross to be crucified
as it so happens.
So a house in the suburbs it is –
but what about the hundred foot giant
trudging through the neighborhood
planting the seeds of strip malls?
A water-pipe bursts –
the truth emerges –
rats too can drown –
they’re just not in it for the water sports.
Everyone is ungainly at ocean’s edge.
You toddle like you’re ten thousand pounds overweight.
Fat red flesh predominates.
You’re prisoner of the economic climate.
If the deal falls through,
you can always go back to bathing in filth.
The mind fantasizes
over hedge fund managers
in a great Wall Street extravaganza
that’s been sent to destroy you.
It is only in secluded places,
far from the trained eye of the television camera,
where anything of sense is being said.
And there’s nobody
to speak up –
and, to make things worse –
the car’s not an automatic –
at no time in your life
were you instructed
how to drive a manual.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review, with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.