Tornado Country

Two Poems by John Grey



Kidney failure.

No way.

First kid on the block

with an electric guitar

and amplifier.

Not forgetting the motorbike

he drove at impossible speeds,

just to prove his immortality.

Something to do with

glomerular filtration rate

not how many whiskeys he could down

and still stand.

Or his dive from the bridge

into the swirling river.

Toxins backed up?

Don’t believe it.

He should have lived two hundred years,

climbing and punching and running

and splashing and braking to the loudest,

most ear-splitting halt.

He was always a brave,

and reckless adventurous spirit.

And only incidentally a body. 


tornado 2

where airplanes stand on their noses,

and the air is jet-fuel rife,

the bowling lane crumples like a matchbox,

and the wheat fields jump out of their husks,

think cancer in the shape of funnel,

and swirling across land at great speed,

and Jake is now Myra and Laura is a tree trunk,

while Billy and his skull are no longer on thinking terms,

and bodies are ever so light, so flexible, so rickety,

and cars, long and proud and American made

explode like firecrackers in the heat of day,

and some small town like Millville is razed like it’s Babylon,

and pastors are sprouting about Armageddon

right at the moment they finally get it right

and stars may not fall from the sky

but a violent up-thrust of a bus brings them that much closer.



John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

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