Camping Out & More…

By John Grey

Camping Out


The night is the sky mostly.

Trees are one heaped shadow.

The lake’s lost to its shore.

Mountains retreat beyond the eye.

Only high, do shapes remain.


My fire gives details to my face

but no one’s here to see.

My sleeping roll

unfolds to its edges

and no further.

Shadow, night, sleep, blackness –

I’m at the rim

of every known dark.


Hunger tells you stories

of hot wind across desert,

of sheet lightning,

of trembling guts and empty pockets.


When the city noise

is too loud for it to shout over,

it keeps the tale going from inside you,

becomes more circumspect,

speaks with a crackle,

like an old phonograph record

of a politician giving a speech.


Hunger needs an audience

and it always knows where to find you,

under the same overpass,

with the usual cronies,

all green teeth, ratty hair

and breath like gasoline. 


Sometimes hunger comes in disguise

as thirst,

and it encourages you

to take a swig from that bottle you found

that could be whiskey,

could even be kerosene.


Hunger can sing soft but compelling

in the voice of the one who last

provided you with three meals a day.

That’s years ago now.

Hunger has no memory

but it assumes that you do.

Death Valley


Sand abbreviates a ghost town’s story,

shutters the mine,

buries the roads leading in and out.


A lesser history gives birth to saltbush,

No trees. No shadows. 

The sun’s advance is unstoppable.


Grainy winds

blow from the West

Dust devils dance

on the rocky floor.

That’s it for movement.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.



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