GASLIGHT

Some people
will take a spark
from the fire inside of you
in their small, trembling hands

and they will say
you did not do enough
to kindle the brush,
that the glow is not light
or that they cannot smell smoke
or hear in yesterdays
your grandmother’s soft “mmph”
as you warmed her atop her lap.

What do they know
about heat,
the refusal,
the wine-dark way
from path to journey?

Listen closely:
fire is meant to burn.
Scald their palms,
let their scars remind them
of who you are,
but do not
ever
believe them.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

THE DELUSIONS OF A NAIVE SOUL

Most early mornings,
I sit alone with a cup of coffee
and wear my privacy
like a second skin.

I think of Wordsworth —
“Lance, shield, and sword relinquished” —
I think of those I love.
I think of the great work before me.

Sometimes, I play music.
Today, it was Tatiana’s letter to Onegin
that I puttered around the kitchen:
“...with one word, revive the hope in my heart”
or something like that.

Perhaps this is all meaningless,
like Tatiana says.
This is not my best poem —
certainly not this early —
not because I don’t know what to say
but because how can you capture
the world exploding inside of you
while the rest of the world sleeps?

I stare out the window.
I will wait, then.
I will wait to begin.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

TODAY AND TOMORROW

I hope I can continue
writing songs,
making pictures,
laughing over food,
talking loudly,
breathing,
remembering friends passed on,
celebrating silence,
forgetting,
forgiving,
loving to be hurt,
aching to be admired,
becoming angry,
pushing a pencil against the paper
until the breaking point,
placing my foot on the sustain pedal,
minding my own business,
pleading without words,
admonishing myself and others,
diminishing my importance
against the unwieldy immensity
of this universe,
pressing my thoughts into the wayside
of all of my days

until the end
(which must come)
arrives to take me by the hand,
to lead me in a sleepy waltz
out into some decorated balcony
shortly after the sun has set,
to gently lead me into darkness
where I can no longer be seen
nor heard
nor felt,

my existence unknown
but not forgotten —
a small distinction
among the chirping crickets
and the vast operation
of all things before me
and after.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

A POEM WITH EVERY POINT

Ask yourself
in the midst of your obscurity:
are you longing for justice
or lusting for revenge?

A puppy licks his paw.
A mother bird buries her head
under her wing.
But the human animal
has yet to sequester its hatred,
to learn to forgive,
to acquit,
to weigh the world in its hands
without the heaviness
upon which it needs to sustain.

To love is difficult work,
and men have climbed mountains
kissing the sky
before they have
learned to love
or be loved,
which makes one consider
both tragedy and circumstance
in the glow of a sleepless night.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

EXPERIENCE

Sometimes,
I wonder
what kind of man
I’ll be today
from the boy
who was yesterday,

and simplicity says
that tomorrow
may have the answer
(since it’s what
I’d like to become)

but I still don’t get it most days,
after years and years of
listening to the wind
who sings the same
of stupidity and chance:

“Maybe open your eyes a little wider,”
she says,
“and the heart will hurt less.”

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

A VERSE FOR EDGAR

What is the stuff you see in me?
Veritas? Facsimile?
A busy room? An empty chair,
placed gently here or over there?
A fork? A glass? A book? A pen?
A first? A last? A “not again?”
A lilting song in distant keys?
A lonesome ship on stormy seas?
The reds? The yellows? Mostly blues?
Or peace and quiet? Mountain views?
Or puzzling moments dressed in doubt?
The complicated acting out?
The years, the days, the moments gone?
The sheets pulled back? The curtains drawn?
The listless waltz on endless nights?
The lowest lows? The highest heights?

My point, alas, is strange but not:
what we have is Camelot,
and while you pack for Timbuktu,
where is the love I see in you?

It is here, my beating heart:
in small, irregular moments,
and if this were a stage direction,
I can only breathe
while you — the wind —
travel from coast to coast,
off to greater adventures
without any
pompous change of tone.
Alone,
you are a soft footstep in the dark,
and sleepily,
I roll over to one side,
hoping (deep down)
you’ll be the first thing I see
when the sun should rise
and should you return.

The coffee brews.
The blinds part.
And, perhaps, that’s enough.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

THE POTTER'S FIELD (OR, A PLAY ON WORDS)

One day,
all shall vanish
and fade
and recede into some
potter’s field for memory,

but I will not stand unknowing:
I myself have placed
my hands in the earth
and into the air.
I myself heard
the soft purr of the wind
radiating at night
and fear intermittent.

I myself know the fear:
it is not for what has been
or what will be,
for what has been
is already in the earth,
already buried in a
nameless, unspeakable way.

The fear is for what is still left,
of which you may see nothing,
and good,
good for you, friend —
but I hear it
on nights like these,
when, still,
there is only time to lose
before what ends up for naught
becomes unreachable
and goes as the brightness flashes
from touch to frightened,
impenetrable touch.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

LOVING, AS AN ACT

Mary Magdalene
did not need to utter one word,
for her eyes wept volumes.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

COMMERCIALISM

Sorting through
a sea of blue
button-down
poplin sport shirts,
I wonder
(in the following order)
how many hands
sewed on these buttons,
how many war torn countries
have shopping malls,
and if I left on the coffeepot,
when struck by
a fantastically likely
thought in polyester:
that there is no real way
to handle
everything we can lose,
and our only choice,
really,
is to sit on a bench outside
and watch the masses
quietly leading their lives,
earbuds in
and drifting about
in a sea
of a false fluorescence.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

TEN OUT FROM FORTY

Alas, poor Noah:
two of every animal,
yet silence — 
on those nights
when the rains
would hit
the poorly constructed
tin roof of the ark —
his only friend.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

A STRANGER AMONG OTHER STRANGERS

Where is the map
that connects me to you?
The stops for water
and shelter
and years?
Is there a ground plan for grief,
for the loss of “might?”

Where are the moments,
the days
spun in “should”s and “shouldn’t”s?
Will you ever know
what you need to know before
or will it always come later?
If it stared you in the face,
would you know it now?

Yet, here I am,
now:
I have spent my short little life
searching for love —
I am a stranger
among other strangers —
but all I seem to have found
are fists rising
from a few yellowing pages
full of ink that never dries.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

(A) MASS (FOR) SHOOTING(S)

Seven weeks in, eight:
may the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands;

Eight unexpected evenings
borne from quiet mornings:
for the praise and glory of his name;

Congress refuses,
money changes hands:
for our good;
and the good of all — his holy Church.

And now, the routine:
Take this, 
all of you, 
and eat of it
for this is a body
which will be given up for you.... 

Bless the bulletproof backpacks
and metal detectors
and our worst fears manifest.
Bless the now child-barren parents
and teacherless children.
Bless the firearm of our anger,
a deep shout into the dark.

Take this, 
all of you, 
and drink from it
for this is the chalice
of our collective blood, 
the blood of a new
and eternal covenant, 
which will be poured out
for you and for many.

Ite, missa est:
Ready.
Thanks be to God.
Aim.
It is right and just.

Fire.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

BLISS

May it be
the mysteries of figure skating,
or a child moved by Mozart,
but the thing that stirs your heart
is only perception,
that cold wind that tells you
a sweater is necessary
but fails to mention
if the colors are
right for the season.

 


Copyright © 2018 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

TALKING TO MYSELF

You are driving home again —
it is night after a long day —
glasses on your forehead

on top of thoughts for tomorrow.
But there I go again.
I am the rain on the windshield,

the lights coming into focus
(the grocery, the pharmacy
marquee) and I become

the others who surround you,
those who love you
and those who fill you with a still loneliness,

with what is inevitable:
a cataclysmic morning
when you stare doubt in the face

and some days you conquer it
and some days you vomit
and then there are the days

I will hold you and say, breathlessly,
that it won’t always be this way — 
everything will be okay

if you think so —
and if I.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

TROUBLES

There’s a lot of noise
from lots of boys
about girls they wished they “knew.”
Read it how you want:
is it jest or taunt
or injustice that we all accrue?

A daughter will grow
while her mother will know
inside of a gentleman’s heart:
kindness, respect,
basic things you’d expect —
it all ends before it can start.

Now, a girl passes by,
and I see her sigh,
the light gently stroking her hair.
Her eyes look out, sad,
resolute, ironclad:
perhaps, hopeful — for what isn’t there.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.
 

FOR FIFTY-THREE MINUTES, I WROTE THIS POEM IN MY HEAD

A long drive
through West Texas
can make your head funny
because the mountains never yield,
never, never change
no matter how many times
you’ve galloped past them
with half a tank of gas
and radio blaring.

Blurry eyes.
Time granulates
like sugar falling through your fingers
which is a weird analogy
but didn’t you and Nana
make snickerdoodles
once in a memory
with shag carpet
and a basset hound?
That’s what I mean,
if you’ll go there.

Blurry eyes.
Time pools
like blood from an open wound
every time you remember
shag carpet
and the basset named Tinka.
That’s what I mean,
if you’ll go there now.

The sun sets on a purple horizon:
blurry eyes only see
a long, uneven line of yesterdays
and — in the rear view mirror —
the dark immeasurable
peppered with a few headlights
and (here’s the part
that’s remarkable)
the eyes of a doe
and her fawn
waiting patiently
several thousand yards back
to cross the highway
once the coast is clear.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.
 

QUOTATION MARKS

Once, I tried to write a rhyme:
my head was full of rage.
And though I tried to put it down,
my heart bled through the page.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.
 

A RHYME ON THE WALL

Some days, you slay a dragon
or turn princes into kings,
but days that prove most difficult
are made from simple things.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.
 

ONE THEORY

I.

Take all that mad that you feel
and pry it from the back of your eyes
and put it in your hands
and run it under water
and work it along your scars
and make some sculpture
of the achingly beautiful
that few can understand
(and even less will appreciate)

and do it not because it is wanted
or because you must
but because we will all need it
on a lonely morning
like this one
in this broken world.

II.
You must allow others time to grieve
for things they have lost
and for the people
who have not yet left them.

III.
People are the strangest animals,
but in my short walk,
I have met animals --
birds, dogs, horses, fish
(even cats) --
who are more human
than the face peering back at me
from across
this tiny window
as I write these poems,
hoping to finally understand
why it feels like it should be raining
when all that surrounds me
is endless sky.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

TWO LINE POEM INSPIRED BY THOREAU (OR, WHEN THE TITLE OF THE POEM CONTAINS MORE WORDS THAN THE POEM ITSELF)

Perhaps men lead lives of quiet desperation,
but the wallpaper always knows.

 

Copyright © 2017 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

www.johngrimmett.com