Thursday, July 26, 2007


At night, dreams flash by like slide shows.
But the frames are alive and move to a ghostly cadence.
Figures of the past dancing in and out of the picture
In cinematic jump cuts.
A dimly lit flicker of nonsequiturs.
A woman I once loved and lost appears and speaks softly,
And the only song I can hear is my own sorrow.
Then, flash -- the scene changes,
Like someone flicked the carousel
To a rural homestead, with Mestizo hired hands in tow,
A clan of people so poor
They only know essentials.
And the sky over the homestead
Turns from a deep cool blue
To a swirling cold gray.
Twin tornadoes dig viciously into the northern horizon.
A woman in the kitchen, a grandmother,
And a man in overalls, a grandfather,
Gather us, hired hands and all,
To crawl into the cellar.
But I can't take my eyes off the storm,
Even as they call and call for me.
The twisters draw closer and closer,
And the only song I can hear is my own madness.
Then, flash -- the scene changes.
And I hear the suburban concerto of an old friend,
A boy too privileged to know anything of essentials,
An innocent heir to a soiled fortune.
And in my trance I've forgotten that he no longer exists.
But the lyrics linger in the dream theater
As we down ancient beers in honor of the lost day.
And the only song I can hear is his naivete.
Then, flash -- the scene changes
To a dingy room and the flicker
Of an old TV set, black and white,
The kind you have at the beginning
And the end of your life.
I'm alone, watching the ghostly parade.
And the only song I can hear is my anger.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written in 2000.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


As my cool, efficient car
Cut a metal swath
Through a brisk night
Of early spring,
I saw a muscled mastiff,
A strong, joyful machine,
Dart across the road
And narrowly out of peril.
Suddenly I saw his mate,
A virtual clone,
Eyes dazed and gleaming
With the pleasure of the chase.
I dared not stop
To see the living
Complete the race alone.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written in 1988.

Friday, June 8, 2007


We all serve the same firm
It just has different names
Draftees in an army
Playing the same war games
But today you got commissioned
In trenches I'm confined
You've sold your soul to Lucifer
He's only renting mine
We all must feed ourselves
And so we compromise
There's very few above the game
And hence we swallow lies
For me, it's been necessity
For you, the party line
You've sold your soul to Lucifer
He's only renting mine
We've heard the tales of death
In gulags and the purge
There's other ways to kill a man
When subtle powers merge
The many you put on the street
Drink vodka as if wine
You've sold your soul to Lucifer
He's only renting mine
Yes, it's only business
And business must be done
I've played my own less crucial roles
In battles that you've won
So feast upon the flesh of fools
In finest restaurants dine
You've sold your soul to Lucifer
He's only renting mine

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written in January 2002.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


In spaced-out Houston, Texas
Stands a stately pleasure dome
That opened with a towering home run
By a sober Mickey Mantle —
A dome now vacant, save for occasional
Tractor pull, or private party,
Its manmade turf curling with age,
And Mantle’s ghost haunting home plate.

Not far away, on Death Row,
Hundreds of killers, and perhaps a few others
Wait their turn to draw wretched last breaths,
Shuttered away, at the end of a pitiless needle,
With sober, victimized few to witness.
As Camus once said,
If this is being done in our names,
We should be permitted to watch.

So, sell tickets! Raise money for the dome,
Fill the bleachers, and raffle off retribution
To beer-bold executioners,
As condemned are strapped to gurney at home plate.
Perhaps I’ll win! And save the Astrodome
Like a drunken Mickey Mantle with syringe,
And show the wildly cheering fans
How glorious is revenge.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


They say they found his body
In a bathroom, bloated and shit-smeared.
Fell off the commode with a coronary
While reading some kind of sacred text.
I think he might be in heaven now,
But I'd bet a rock star's drug budget
That his house don't look like Graceland.
Twenty years after they found his obese corpse,
The faithful flooded Memphis
For the biggest velvet-painting convention in human history.
A reporter asked a man on the street
What he thought about the shindig.
He said, "I think it's all very nice,
But I prefer to worship God."

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Published in The American Dissident, Summer/Fall 2007. Written in 1997.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

PIGPEN PIETY (Dedicated to Robert Tilton)

Now is the time for all good pigs to come to the aid of
their poke.
The master beckons, and you all
must come,
rooting and grunting with porcine joy.
The day of judgment is at hand, and you all
will atone.
The Durocs will be separated from the
Also the boars from the sows, 'cause master don't want no
needless sin.
And if you're right holy hogs you'll go
to that Great Smokehouse on
master's estate.
O Beatific Bacon!
Hallelujah Hambone!
I is borned agin!!

Copyright 2007 by Jon Gregory. Published in The Dallas Review, July 1992.


I'd slept most of the day away
And suddenly found myself atop
My roof, inspecting a metal screen
Held onto the chimney top by three bricks.
The business wasn't interesting.
But a rapidly changing tree
In a neighbor's yard was
Turning red, setting off the yellow
Of our backyard trees.
And I suddenly felt like it
Was worth it to have lived this long.
Standing atop my house like a king.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written in November 1998.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Death is the candyman
Who lurks beneath the sugar coating.
And by and by,
We all taste his brittle sweetness
On a day when leaves
Turn a sickly yellow,
The color of a lifeless
But well-preserved worm
Pickling near the bottom
Of a bittersweet bottle
Of Oahaxan mescal.

Death is the candyman
Who leads a procession
Of portly mourners
Marching to a sweet mariachi beat.
Most didn't know the deceased,
But sometimes a wake
Is one hell of a party.
So, let's have a shot
And praise the departed.
Death is the candyman
Who sugar-coats the night.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written on el dia de los muertos, 1998.


You tell me you're so lonely.
When were you ever alone?
You never left home
Or roomed among strangers.
You never went someplace new
To reinvent your life.
Even your hardships,
Many as they numbered,
Always were familiar ones.
You never knew the starkness
Of night's open road,
Or predatory faces
Of nameless fears on lamplit streets.
You never took warm pizzas
Into cold massage parlors, porno shops,
Or the blackest alleys of midnight.
As death lurks in the next room,
You'll learn in your old age
What I discovered young.
Our souls are all quite alone,
Even with family and friends.
So learn to savor quiet.
There may be much more of it.

Copyright 2007 by Jon Gregory. Published in Contexas in 1992.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


They worship at the monolith of mediocrity,
The bland tower that the river of invention below
Cannot dampen, let alone flood.
And it shelters many.
Atop skeletons of common sense
And the blood of angry prophets,
It stands undaunted.
Even mosses and mold cannot surround its windows,
For it permits nothing new to grow
Except paunches on the servile,
Those who dwell safely inside,
Shielded from cleansing elements.
The sheltered gorge on platters of spiceless chicken,
Toss bones and gristle
Down to malcontents outside
And belch up homilies for each other.
Revolutions come and go below,
Markets boom and bust.
Genocides and pesticides
Befoul the waters outside,
But the monolith stands,
Sheltering many,
Oblivious and undaunted.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Published in The American Dissident, Fall 2001/Winter 2002.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The rapture of light
And shadow and muted color
On the human face
Has given our lives
A fourth dimension,
While tearing our soft bellies
From the umbilicus
Of the other three.
It seduces and destroys
While bringing beloved myths
Into luminous view.
It makes stars
Of beautiful illiterates,
And computer clerks
Of would-be bards.
It frees the imaginations
Of good peasant stock,
Yet as surely ensnares
In a flabby, living room prison.

Copyright 2007 by Jon Gregory. Written in 1991.


They're sending up a press release
On the Minister of Pleasure --
Recently deceased.
The boxing days of Nebraska
Are over on this island.
We are adrift with no compass,
The world in sweet reverse gear,
And logic a luxury we can ill afford.
I would sing of the death of reason
As if it ever really lived,
But I can't make sense of the melody.

Copyright 2007, by Jon Gregory. Written in 1994.