John Grey



The city went everywhere I did.

It was not about to end on my account.

There were mountains sure

but far in the distance

and painted I expect.


It’s enough to make a man

throw up his flag in horror,

while swearing fidelity to another race.

No, make that sweating fidelity.


I saw the new century arrive

while marking pages in a book,

amused, amazed., by my own handwriting.


Fireworks, raucous sulfur,

a float reached six thousand feet –

mambo, samba,

nothing was invisible

but everything needed fire

to not be dark —

a man danced right by me

in his dead father’s only suit

down the streets of the village

and a woman in a tutti-frutti hat

reddened my brow with lipstick.


Something deeper was required

but everybody was too consumed by carnival

to leave the surface.

I was peppered with flame and homesickness.


Not knowing the local dialect,

no one had ears for me.

Even at a parade’s sincerest moments,

the truths could not take over.


Just sensual and loud,

the easy road to destination.


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