By John Grey
The Toyota Concert
I admit it. I sing loudly all the way home. Beatle hits from my youth. Standards from Broadway shows. Anything from the great mind morass, that never has to wonder why this tune, why now, as I pull over to the exit lane and the other cars zip by me, when the songs have nothing to do with the street I’m on, all donut shops and used car lots and strip malls and traffic lights and pet salons and a car washarama. It’s the jukebox brain. It can’t be explained. There’s melody with more baggage than the Vanderbilts on summer vacation, and other ditties that pop up out of nowhere and, after I hum a few bars, go back from whence they came. Sometimes, I surprise myself with how well I know the words. But with others, I either mumble something incoherent or make up lines and verses. Then, as I pull into the driveway of my house, the show is over. I am no longer the sounds of years gone by but the ordinary conversation of the moment. My wife asks me “How was the ride home?” “Same as always,” I reply. She shows no interest in my current set list.
At the Coffeehouse with a Poet
He shoves a few sheets of paper across the table at me, says, “Tell me what you think?” They’re his attempts at poetry – clumsy, misspelled, cliché-ridden, stuff about some girl called Heather, who gave him the brutal brushoff. I mumble my usual lies in such situations. “Interesting. Promising.” It takes a brave soul to tell some poor poetic wannabe what they really think. Someone like Heather for example.
Driving by the Battlefield
hot June day driving by the ballfield with my windows down REM on the radio laughing young women in softball strip strolling from the field, gloves under armpits, bats swinging at their sides there's something about the sweat, grubby faces dirt on knees, the easy banter in my mind, it's as close as females ever get to being men and still I love them more than any guy you could name
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.