John Grey‘s trio of poems

Regarding Identity Theft

Strangers know my name.

They may even have my social security number,

my credit record, my DNA.

There’s this vast otherness out there

that’s as crooked as a million politicians.

And it hones in on the unsuspecting,

like me, alone in this room

but not alone in the world.

For my computer’s switched on.

I’m connected to the internet.

I could be being mugged

and I wouldn’t even know it.

There are the sweet talkers.

And the shysters who wield a weapon

of human stupidity and greed.

And the plain old hackers,

disgruntled nerds who

would be less than nothing

if they didn’t know more than most.

Identity theft is weird.

My life’s ordinary

yet so many want to live it for me.

Matter of the Heart

I once considered cutting out my heart,

handing it to a lover bloody and raw.

More fool me I figured if it was still beating.

Or if she tossed it in the closet

with the other gifts.

I thought perhaps the church might want it…

for one of those secret religious ceremonies

carried out when the congregation’s back is turned…

the tender meat for God,

the gristle for Mammon.

Even as the main dish at a family Sunday roast would do me.

pass the potatoes, the peas,

the love pump before it decays, gets rancid.

Try as I might, the more I think of heart in the abstract,

the more I make it flesh, muscle, machinery.

What’s a feeling without its complementary organ,

an emotion that a tricky operation can’t cure.

Ah love…it’s like a claim ticket for a body part.

Welcome to the Machine Shop

Jack, my greeting committee,

looks warmly at me 

with two good eyes.

His grin’s not lacking for teeth.

“Excuse the mess,” he says,

referencing the messy table 

in his tiny office.

“New baby on the way.”

So his genitals are intact then.

He takes me out onto the floor,

down each loud aisle,

naming all the equipment

as he goes

He has the requisite two legs

to do just that.

But, when I go to shake his hand,

his proffers his left awkwardly.

The right is nowhere to be seen.

“Lost it in the machine,” he says.

“So they stuck me with a desk job.”

His grip means well 

but feels unsteady.

“Of course, my pay got cut.”

By the bosses

or the machine,

he doesn’t say.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

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