John Grey: Empathy Guy


From what I hear,
there’s this long, long epic of a tale
and my particular story
is told in one particular paragraph
out of a trillion trillions of the things.

And, within the paragraph,
my life doesn’t go beyond one measly sentence,
and, in the sentence itself,
it hardly merits a word.
or even a letter for that matter.

I think of myself
as being on the curve of an S
and in the shadow of the preceding apostrophe.

I’m part of the possessive case.

For what I possess,
for what possesses me,
read on.


Winter solstice rain,
dark at the window,

a flake of ice
skims down the glass.…

John Grey: Three Poems


You caught me in a lie.
I called you “my rose”
though you know full well
that you are not a woody perennial
of the genus Rosa
but a middle-aged woman,
young-looking for her age,
who dresses well
and has a decent-paying job
in the city.

But I can’t help myself.
Metaphors drip from my tongue
even the simplistic ones.
You’re not an erect shrub.
You don’t have thorns.
So as to avoid seeing
you as you really are,
I seed a garden between us.
Those roses sprout, grow and blossom
and I mistake them for you.…

The Siren and the Fire: New Poems by John Grey


The bird that has no song of its own
gets to choose
which sound will best represent
his fervent mating call.

From high atop a church spire,
he chirps variations
on the theme of a passing fire engine.

The mockingbird is eager
to have chicks.
He is both
the siren and the fire.



Yes, the earth looks sweet to taste
with dew pellets perched atop each blade.
Certainly, the rabbits believe so.
And the groundhogs likewise.
Each are out in the fields nibbling the juiciest shoots.

And no better cruising lanes than the sky
or landing field than the upper branches of the trees.…

John Grey’s Morning Toast: Two Poems


Waiting for the toast to be done.
Pouring coffee into a cup.
Morning dew like angel’s spit.
The sun – a critic who loves everything
it lights upon.
Apron of blue jays.
Sparrows suddenly on song.

The breeze.
The orange on the sill.
A game of solitaire not yet started.
Red queen on black king
sings the voice in your head.
Open the window.
Artificial pine scent meets the real thing.

Fish in the bowl
fed by fingers.
Mourning dove takes a dip in the bird bath.
Dandelions open-faced,
glad to steal the grass’s thunder.

The mirror.
Not bad for…
how many years is it?…

New Poetry and Recent Reads

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry from John Grey and Alessio Zanelli.


Michael Gorra’s The Saddest Words (2021) is an intellectual griffin of sorts: a serious literary biography, a thoroughly researched history of an era, and a thought-provoking, fearless, and moral accounting of our past.

Departing from most biographies of Faulkner, Gorra focuses primarily on how the Civil War, slavery, and its aftermath influenced his major novels and best short stories. In close readings of his work and life, he demonstrates how Faulkner was generally more successful in dealing with each issue through his fictional characters than in his own day to day existence.…

New Poems by John Grey


I saw people suffer
where the street ran near to quiet
and I heard them weep in Cantonese.

I have taken to flicking the light-switch
on and off, on and off.
And grabbing the cheapest haircut I can find.
I am looking for a way to say that I too am sorry.

A Chinese restaurant is floating red kites from its roof.
The colors are so bloody here,
I no longer speak to the horizon.
At a pause for reflection,
water bends my face.



I do not see the deaths of animals,
their skins made into shoes.…

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