She reads new poetry in old settings,
antique store turned coffee house,
dressed in black sweater, skirt and stockings,
perched on the edge of a table.
a lotus sipping coffee between words,
priming an internal state
with Kona roast or a dark brew
from the highlands of New Guinea.
So little flesh clings to her bones,
she declares war on what remains of it
with tattoos, with piercings,
and with her art school black,
in honor of Leroi Jones
or the starless night.
She is not some cocoon, she insists,
that our listening can make butterfly.
She will give us no trinkets,
no sweet things.
If we applaud,
that’s our business,
or our relief
that we’re not writing
what she’s reading to us.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.