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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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Commencement (April 1971)


Taking a twenty

leaving the birthday hundred

in the drawer

(ethical 17)

I take the gold watch

(to pawn or to covet?)


Head for the highway

without a note

or backward glance.


                          —John Roche




Talking trash

'round the campfire

stoned as usual

in liberated Yale Park

couple weeks after the riots

bragging about minor skirmish

when a  group of us, belts held high, drove some

"bad guys" out of the park

what that was all about I had very little clue

just followed my friends

into the raw exhilaration of combat

mostly bloodless, luckily


Suddenly, in the midst of my narrative, a squat

bearded guy I didn't know

(Viet vet, reportedly)

grabbed me

sending glasses flying

pushed me down at the fire's edge

yanking my hair 'til I cried uncle—

a salutary lesson

for any future professor


                                —John Roche


"Commencement (April 1971)" and "Braveheart" reprinted from Road Ghosts  by John Roche, 2010, with permission [theenk books], for sale at: