Monday, April 1, 2019

History in the Telling

"HISTORY IN THE TELLING" by John Grey

The years of my life
are poems, dead fish, brown water.
They're hideous births,
wharves cut up caesarian style
to give me abandoned warehouses
and unused rail-track.
They stand on bridges
where wind whips bitter through their bones.
They're poems, traffic, carbon monoxide.
They're broken handrails
where the man fell
into the swirling sump of a river below.
They're refrigerated rooms
where the meat hangs,
cow rump, pig head, lamb of God.
They're poems, dried blood, cold carcasses.
The years of my life
are books on World War II
open at the concentration camp photo,
nameless bodies in a ditch.
They're poems, escape plans, the shakes.
They stand out in the middle of the expressway
anxious to be hit
but the cars zip right by, missing by inches.
They're the rickety garage
where they fix rickety cars,
heads under the hood, hearts in the brake lining.
They're poems, grease, tired pistons.
The years of my life
go to sleep with strangers,
roll up in newspapers,
press the doorbells of family,
eat in soup kitchens for free.
They walk to the edge of cliffs,
measure the sweetness of the dive
against the terror of impact,
then step back into the world.

They're poems, they get over, they get done.

***

BIO: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and Roanoke Review. 

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