She’s become like one of those government buildings
where I have to go through a metal detector if I want to see her.
Meanwhile, the snow is melting and the buried trash
in all the vacant lots is reemerging.
And the art show at the local gallery is a series of painted urinals.
The weather’s perfect – for revolution that is.
So here I go again, braving machine gun fire and mustard gas.
Everything stretches to infinity – the crow flies but I can only walk.
And she’s like a musician’s manager, the kind that can’t get him any gigs.
Did I tell you about the time she poured cooking oil into my hair?
Or set fire to my books? Or crowded the bed?
Or said to me, more than once, “Don’t bother coming to the party.”
“Or to the open reading.” “Or to Brooklyn Heights.”
I’m sick of love and the medicine cabinet hasn’t been paying attention.
I’m sick of love. “How can you be?” somebody asks.
That’s like being sick of the public library.
That’s right. All those books that figure they know the answer to everything.
I’m sick of tossing condoms into the waste-basket.
She’s disillusioned me. I thought the Civil War was over.
But that’s her, glaring up at me from one of those faded black and white photographs.
Whatever side she’s on, she insists it’s the winning one.
I’m sick of love like I’m sick of meeting new families and hating every last one of them.
And driving home on snowy roads in winter.
And yes, being the idiot who ends up whitewashing Tom Sawyer’s fence.
Or the second best one in the rom.
Or not knowing what my own drumbeat sounds like.
She insists on picking fruit from the vine for me that’s already rotten.
And when she finally allows me a moment to look up at the stars,
the clouds burst. I’m soaked to the very limit of my endurance.
Likewise, I’m sick of not seeing the butterfly.
Of roaming through the same old Godforsaken haunts.
The hissing green snakes in the trees. The stool and the cap marked “Idiot.”
She’s not above leaving me to my nightmares.
Or performing what she calls “occupational therapy” on my heart.
I’m sick of the politics. I’m even sick of the poetry and that’s hard for me.
And I’m sick of how Picasso’s most Cubist of portraits
really do resemble the people I know.
She reads me my rights and then ignores them.
She prefers that I remain shell-shocked at all times.
And then she has the nerve to toss me aside like placenta.
So I’m sick of open-mouthed wonder. Of B flat on the guitar.
Of speaking in tongues. Of arms and torsos, feet and faces.
I’m sick of love. And all else that comes of being alive and breathing.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Penumbra, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.