John Grey


It gets no better – hammock, warm Saturday afternoon,
relaxing so much better than doing.

Such lack of eagerness, a motivation dead spot,
not quite dozing, but no waking in me either.

Breeze feathers my nest of hair.
Birds flower my border with song.

I rock gently side to side, 
an anchored boat in an ocean of air.

Head as empty as shelled pea scraps,
nothing in the world to puzzle over,

sightless, even as I look about me,
a dream without content, without sleep.


I'm the kind of guy who takes it personally when, despite the baffle on my bird-feeder, the squirrels still leap from branches onto the dish of sunflower seed.
The woman at the wild-birds store guaranteed me that those pesky rodents would spin around on that expensive contraption like it was a carnival merry-go-round
before giving up on the effort entirely.
But squirrels know false advertising when they see it.
Like with the cayenne pepper.
And the grease on the poles.
Yes, I could cut back my trees
but I worry that it'll just encourage them
to take longer leaps, that evolution will step in
and provide them with wings.
The initial idea of the feeders was to support 
my wild feathery neighbors through winter. 
Then it became a show-place 
for the wickedly cute chickadees and nuthatches,

the dour doves, the trilling sparrows. 
Now it's a compromise between 
nature and myself, in which I still 
indulge my anger from time to time

with moments of savage, rodent-chasing hose spray. 
Unknown to itself, the squirrel partners with me 
in unintended consequences. 
It's a no-win, no-lose, no more bird-seed situation.


It's spring
and its defiant colors,
from the barn roof
to the sods of earth.
Fog spills into rain.
Cattle chew the newness.
Bored horses almost
kick their door down.
Dog rounds up chickens
into some place dry.
It's time to churn the soil, to seed.
The world rolled over into sleep.
But now it's awakening,
rubbing its eyes
until the sun breaks through.
Cooped up so long,
the family step outside
and breathe the year ahead.

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.

Flights, Issue Four, April 2022