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  • John Grey

The vulnerable

John Grey

Here we are

on the steamiest of July afternoons,

lolling on the tenement stoop,

encouraging others in our defeat.

Pastor says we need

to protect our immortal souls.

He speaks well

but doesn't account

for how we can safeguard our asses.

I lost one brother in a drive-by.

Another's behind prison bars

promises that next time

he won't let them take him alive.

So I feel strongly about

not following in those footsteps.

But what can I do?

There's this kid,

he grows taller and strong by the hour,

and he hangs on the sidewalk,

fondling his pistol

and steeling his backbone straight.

Though he is as much captive

as the rest of us,

his solitary voice says

how pure a thing

is putting one over on the other guy. '

He wants me to be friends.

He wants us to be enemies.

It kills me either way.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Ellipsis. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Washington Square Review and Red Weather.


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