Dispatch #073


by John Grey

I’m wary of doorknobs
and the breath of others
but this wood I’d trust with my life.
I’m nervous putting my hands most places
but not on this fretboard, these taut strings.
Outdoors, these days,
I’ve been social distanced into loneliness.
Inside, however, 
the round body of my Ovation
sits on my lap like an old girlfriend.
But with one strum of a chord,
one gentle pick and pluck of a melody,
one hum from tuning peg to bridge to sounding board,
it’s the woman I married.
I can sit here, go through my repertoire 
from love songs to humorous ditties
to protests against wars long since ended.
I do my own stuff,
and even ballads written in depressing times,
are a comfort.
Or I dip into myriad cover versions,  
and it’s like their composers,
living or dead, are in the room with me.
I feel, so deeply, the absence of others,
but solitude and sanity
are not irreconcilable. 
I have my guitar.
I know how to play it.
Even if I’m the only one listening,
my life can still be heard from.          


by John Grey

Room is quarantined
by darkness,
by Covid-19.
I open my eyes
to the first lemon squeeze of sun.
Today is yesterday
and the day before.
And the day before that.
Beyond the window,
where once were possibilities,
people stand
six feet apart.
The day has begun.
And there's nothing I can do with it. 

Photo by Harry Cooke on Pexels.com


by John Grey


The trees,
are stripped down to the bones.
Sure I know it's April
but it never used to be.
And the seaside town is shuttered.
But since when did "out of season"
mean "out of luck."
I walk the streets
unaware of the cold
or, at least,
certain there's no escaping it anyhow.
There are no restaurants open,
no home for locals
to gather and drink,
and make enough noise
for a summer full of tourists.
For the locals
are afraid of other locals
these days,
terrified of catching
what they haven't even got.
People still long for summer.
But not the one coming,
the one past. 

Sent to us in Feb. 2021

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