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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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A CITY STREET IN SEARCH OF A POEM

The Undoubtable Son

To invoke ancient myths organized for family cohesion
           and propound familiar puns
           and include natural and unnatural notions
of liking and disliking memories he still has of
the reach of context to rule a life...

Merely noting new declaratives from afar–
secure with smaller meanings–
grateful for few truths to be said once–
he follows principle into paraphrase.

The Misanthropes

Not thinking what they must do in return
         for the persuasive gift of adventure–
getting dressed without thinking what they wear...
Naked                barely conscious of public nakedness–
circling day to day–
making use of games...
Not thinking what they do but what they have done.

Sound of a Wing Wafting

The quiet do have the most to say:
They gather and garnish
and brew and bear
and do not spew;
and, most likely, gentle
find gentleness the only toxin to bitterness,
not bitterness
nor an unconcerned turn
             nor a deployed ploy...

                                          -J. Chester Johnson



A GARDEN BEYOND

It’s so easy to make you
Into one I couldn’t forgo,

A mountain I’d prefer once more, but for
A thousand reasons, I couldn’t go further

Or as far: I was born too early, or
Circumstances didn’t permit, I couldn’t warn

Myself early enough or spot my
Tour-lust so well; oh, hard steps have rough

Ways of excusing us from good stairs.
Famously, the stranger will bring

More sense to bear than you, as I’m sure
You remind me of a silly rendezvous

With myself in such a room–as
Gardens outside ourselves have that touch

Of greater order than we know ourselves
To have or, for good reason, can.

                                         -J. Chester Johnson
 



UNDER THE SKEIN

                                Therefore, I’ll now
suggest you always let your exterior

star be found and rated without your
stressing it; let it effuse in understated

ways as the means and measures to
distinguish you from others. If routines

claim it is being pressed,
I’ll know you must admit

that you don’t know how to
use it, and, more, you won’t

escape the charge that you misuse
it and, therefore, will have won

the right to lose it.

                                   -J. Chester Johnson



THE KINGDOM OF FAILURE

To wander, convey, to act pearlescent, to survey
generous rounds of random reckoning, and
stay in moments of ordered disarray surely
underwhelm the vital chance of achieving nothing...
At the seduction and the simple ways of failure–
letting second choices exist with passion,
hawking ardent remakes and half-lives
with an unwavering daily ersatz...

It’s not enough to enjoy that place of one-half;
one must enjoy a path for getting nowhere
and the power of instinct–that’s the ethos;
a quest for failure to raise the power until the end
becomes the very end, the very one, that one
henceforth the favorite; for everyone to go mad.

                                                   -J. Chester Johnson