Rain on the Brain and Other Poems by John Grey


You drank away a third of your life,
slept a third,
and wrote in what remained.

No, for a third of that last third,
you tried to make a go at something else.
And then, the second third was all about women.
Bui the third third…that’s when you really
came into your own.

But even that third
was not all yours
to sequester away
before a typewriter
or a computer keyboard.

That was the third spent eating,
the third of throwing up,
but that left you something at least…
your art, your creativity.

But you had family to contend with,
a good third of that third.
And the law, and the government,
and even your hellish landlady.
Now that’s a third that went up
in damnable smoke.
But that last third you managed
to squeeze out of the
bloody commitments of your life…
now that’s when you would write.

Except you always felt
such a dire thirst at that time.
So you drank a third of it,
slept a third of it,
then wrote that note you left for us.


He was forever in the starting blocks.
The first raised voice,
the first shattered tumbler,
and he was out of the house,
halfway down the street.
He was always ready,
there was no set,
and every clang, every thump,
every slammed door was go.
Sometimes, the sprint was
a middle distance run,
up into the hills,
the finish line, a favorite oak
and a body crunched down beneath it,
the reward, a garland of tears.
One day, he swore
it would be a marathon,
no more of her slovenly meals,
her sloppy temper,
her constant whine
about how did she ever
wind up with such a pair,
useless husband
and deadbeat son.
Forget the twenty six miles,
it’d be twenty six years,
ten thousand miles if need be.
No hills,
but the world.
No oak,
but a life.
No tears,
just the praise of all reason.


An army of clouds on each horizon decamped,
massed toward the middle.
From over the northern mountains,
came reinforcements, thin but gray as tank metal.
The south sent wind that began with a sigh
but was soon an all-out exhalation.
The trees caught their breath.
It’d be a long night’s ride

My horse raised its head,
sniffed at the unsullied scent
of the oncoming rain.
I knew what I was in for,
shook with bliss at the imminent hostilities.

The black battalion tramped slowly overhead
to the bugle-flare of lightning, the drum of thunder.
And there was not a bird to be seen.
The weather would show song no mercy.

And so the rain began with a few
plump souls cascading down the leaves.
Lightning bucked the heavens.
Thunder belted the pigskin of the big bass,
played tap-tap on the timpani.
Drops grew smaller and closer,
smacking off each in heathen splash..
My shirt, jeans, were soaked in a minute
and the horse glistened with water.
What did we care?
I was liquid enough for ten large lakes.
My horse bubbled up from itself,
snapped in the cool thick air.

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Sanskrit and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Freshwater, Paterson Review and Nerve Cowboy. Read John’s previous work on In Parentheses: Pregnant and Alone Meets Sure Enough of Himself.

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