Your Instrument John Grey Poetry

local_library Your Instrument

by John Grey

Published in Issue No. 298 ~ March, 2022

Rotten street, early December, like I’m in a wind tunnel, the coldest,
the bitterest, and music is blowing out the speakers, like I’m
in an instrument, somebody blowing I can’t see, fingers
pressing hard against me, trying to make melody.

Terminally thinking of you I am, pacing the sidewalks, on the hills above
the city, obsession headaches, and a full moon launched from the
towering bank building, a canvas for your face.

I duck into the last remaining record shop, flip through the
second hand vinyl, maybe figure album sleeve art can feed
my hunger. The Grateful Dead try but can’t sate me.

What about the 24 hour store? Surely there, a candy bar to erase
your name. Nothing but college kids overloading aisles.
Some pretty enough to be the you of tomorrow. One even
thumbing through the year end Rolling Stone.

I keep seeing you even when it isn’t you. Did you know you’re
majoring in economics? That you sell for $3.99? And you’re hazelnut. or
was that barbecue and maybe envelopes and even a gleaming silver razor?

You’ve got a gruff voice at the register, a whisper over by the soda case.
You laugh like a man, chatter high pitched in woman’s tongue. And yes,
spider, you crawl across the ceiling.

You’re this cruel off-shoot of my imagination, that’s the problem.
Outside, you’re neon. Inside, vanilla or strawberry.

You’re even playing saxophone with your cap at your feet collecting coins.
You bestride the street with Christmas bells. You’re on the menu in
the window of the restaurant the pseudo-intellectuals frequent.

How have you come to be so ubiquitous? I could blame my head but
that doesn’t do yon justice May as well hold my feet responsible.
They’re the ones that pace up and down, drag my heart along
for good measure.

It’s crazy. The Patsy Cline song pumped into the street. The infatuation.
Ah, ex-lover, pretty young flautist wannabe, with your shoulder length hair
and your gentle fingers struggling to find the holes in me.

Did I ever tell you how they sweeten when you blow.



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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.