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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Déraillement des Plumes



Destination you, gingerly across the guitar strings

inevitable fall by early blossom

my pessimistic cottons unravel, your

invincible hands will always catch me.


So tired, the season tweets incessantly

just nonsense the calluses on friends’ eyes

last Tuesday’s menu. My doctor is certain

I don’t have 5 diseases, ups my pharmaceutical regime.

Merrily loose, my snugglerug

is carpetbombing the suburbs.


                                   -Les Wicks



Chattering Glasses



Sewing on a button

while a storm comes up from the river.

Eucalypts wring their hands

I was retrenched by words.

Winter has applied for a new post

created by my absence.


Threading one needle,

going deep into inclemency,

the job writers do


& (every one of us) poorly...

less grace than this soggy postman

with his promisaries & demands.


My suburban birds are

lazy, frantic, homeless.

That is the pledge

& payment for the gab.


                           -Les Wicks




19th Birthday



He was naked somewhere

strung up, slumped down between

the fable of one summer gone

teenage pump & ruin


to the promise of summer way too late coming.

Wedged down by a cabin wall hoarding the sun,

a war with the wind that cuts like some dwarf surgeon

with a public health grudge, Jim is certain he suffers.


Thinking will never end -

city hums, worry hums.

Stupid books make big promises.

Girls make him mad, he hates his sister.


It all seems very recent.

One time his fist ran away,

he vomited on the grass

aroused & shameful.


Friends are dangerous

because they know him.

Their mockery stains a fragile assertion of self-beauty.

Is everyone as stupid as me?


Cigarettes occupy his hands,

beer his mouth - important

to distract these accomplices of love.

Apology lies open on distant sheets.


He wants to travel

but all the planes change nothing.

There is no home, nor anything exotic.

The fever is in the fabrication.


But time still laughs at the periphery.

‘A work in progress’.

Hates his father.

Even that wind has given up.


                      -Les Wicks




Valley Man


School holidays squeal above the waterside park

there is some tide

a narrative of sorts

as another friend dies.


He drank, heartily without qualification.

Knew there was a price

& took his taxes seriously.

What art is there in old men? He

farmed his hobby pages

laughing at our tinny wars down in the city.


A coal in the liver

his days woodened in winter sunshine

as yet more children careen across timetables.

By a condolence of rivers

fish shrug onto the rapture of capture.


                                                  -Les Wicks




Frankie & the Monuments



Teenage pain &

plenty of pills.

Every part is yours

not working properly.

Team Uncertainty

hopes for colour in the jerseys, hugs at half time

that blessed wafer you're okay.


You know you'll envy your 20s

in those dreary decades to come

but in it, seems mostly like a drag.

Time to start worrying

when you have to decide

whether to wash or shave the bed linen.

You talk about love.


Didn’t invite yourself to your 30th birthday. Everyone

wants a slice you're Pizza-Jesus

feeding multitudes hung

out to dry. There is a beat but no music.

Respectable as a stiff wool,

despite unguents & soaking continuously

that stiffness becomes a callous.


The Roaring Forties whisper past, who can remember?

50 saw you fitter than ever

& falling apart.

60s it's your lungs and heart-

decades are small things, the

timorous hopes brace the knees

then you say please.


                -Les Wicks