Mar 12, 2013
FROM A ROOM/A TENNIS MATCH TO LOVE/IN FACTORY SHADOW - John Grey
FROM A ROOM
You figure the native is restless
in his small jungle of a bedroom.
He torn toms email.
Or earplugs himself into
a downloaded cave,
before a make-shift altar
where his Gods spit fire
or take turns swapping solos.
He does not speak to you.
unless the bumps, the bangs,
the mattress boings, cell phone
whispers, the breeze from his
air guitar, is a language.
It is. You spoke it once yourself,
though with less technology.
Yours was the bone you prayed
that one day would take
your toss at its primitive word,
turn into a spaceship.
He has the spaceship.
But not the steering. Little navigation.
It's not a jungle like yours was.
It's a universe.
He's moving forward —
one digital bleep to your pound
of a base drum,
tapping the invisible, the world-wide,
not your letters, your late-night radio.
But it's all in a room like yours was.
An isolation like you knew.
It's what you were
bewildered by what you've become.
A TENNIS MATCH TO LOVE
I'm staying at the old house for the weekend.
She keeps my old room in a time warp.
Banners and posters. A couple of books.
The single bed I gave up for the double life.
Window is the best match for what I'm feeling.
It's still much more looked out of than stared into.
So what do I see.
Aliens on the old decrepit tennis court.
Less gravity where they're from.
They're not used to lob shots
dropping back to earth.
Maybe they're ghosts
and are whacking that spectral sphere back and forth
on what used to be a court
but is now just a field,
overgrown with mist and weeds.
That's my mother, a prime-time player in her youth.
She's battling a second cousin.
Someone's yelling "Love!" or was that "Deuce!"
Or are these just real people
on a freshly laid tarmac,
its service lines drawn like a new city grid,
net bobbing, umps focused,
crowd roaring, and top seed battling
second pick for the tournament.
No, it's just memory.
I was twelve and found this racket
in a cellar trunk,
within its frame, more gaps than string.
I ran up and down the backyard of this house,
slamming that ball at no one.
This is the window with the best view of the games:
the dearth of real players,
the service not returned.
IN FACTORY SHADOW
Factory shadow can't quite reach
the two of us, lying together
in the least of the great outdoors.
It's more a parcel of land
than a meadow
but the dandelions don't know that,
cap the grass like sun.
Gray, mournful doves
rustle through dead leaves.
Toads squelch in brown mud
like fingers tapping jelly.
Crickets warm up
their unseen orchestra,
click and clack
between nearby gear and belt.
For all our deep breathing,
we can't out-exhale the funnels.
A purr, a sigh is lost.
Our sounds of being
can't hold a note to industry.
So you impress my chest
with your throbbing,
a pulse on a par
with bellicose assembly lines.
Ears to the ground,
we hear the rumble of trucks,
the hissing of smoke,
crackling of fire -
strange are the heart's commissions.