Poems for an Open Mic by John W. Grady

Don't Know Why

I don’t know why

I’m sitting alone

by this fire

she left me here

said she had to go

over there

I guess she’s gone

so I’m on my own

Got nothin’ on my mind

got nothin’ else but time

wish she hadn’t gone

wonder what went wrong

bye bye bye

honey goodbye

but wait –

why why why

do you wanna make me cry?

this fire sure is warm

look at the flames dance

lickin at those logs

crunch crackling light

you know maybe she was right

I did her some kind of harm

burning up her dreams

with my evil schemes

didn’t want to hurt her

guess I should have just shut up

you know I think I love her

maybe we can work things out

Maybe I can try to get back to her

Got nothin’ on my mind

got nothin’ else but time

wish she hadn’t gone

wonder what went wrong

bye bye bye

honey goodbye

but wait –

why why why

do you wanna make me cry?

Why you wanna make me cry?


All Night Moon

Moonlight flows

like aromas through space

through darkness

so close

your light is on me

turning my skin

an unearthly glow

as if it gives life

bowing our heads

praising such an event

of the full moon

you look so close

yet I know

you are so far

out of reach

floating off

as you are

in the sky

shining light

on us all



Toda la noche luna

Tan cerca

de la luz de la luna

fluye como aromas

a través del espacio

A través de la oscuridad

Su luz está sobre mí

en mi piel

un resplandor sobrenatural

como si se le da a la vida

inclinando nuestras cabezas

alabando a tal evento

como esta luna llena

se mira tan cerca

pero sé que estás tan lejos

fuera del alcance

flotante de como eres

en el cielo

brilla luz sobre

todos nosotros

Todo bien

toda la noche luna


Go for it

Eyes stretch sand horizon

boosh blast shorebreak

long lines of desire waves

sparkle eyes follow wayward gulls

splaying, playing wild patterns

splashes crashes hopes

litter sky splotches clouds

oily slickness renders down

feel a gut boiling surge

reach deep into emotional ocean

your board your body your soul

this is the heart wave breaking

unexpectedly, in the wrong place

too close too soon

a long way from shore

alone in ocean, no one

watches me

paddle into

this enormity

this contradiction

I must go for what I fear

paddle paddle hope hope hope I can catch it

even though it means a danger slide...

wait wait wait

don’t go

don’t go

“I can do this, if I really try …”

despite setbacks or throwdowns

black and blue of inadvertent leap

or somersaults – somersaults!

seeing your precious body

stumped, thrust and spilled across

foaming edges of land and sea

unformed smudge of hair and flesh

finally reach up

stretch your arm out

break the surface

come up for air

"Oh you're too far out come back"

paddle fast-fast-fast-fast

you've got it. Feel the energy fall

hold on, jump, dance, push your body

this way and that

praise for lively surf,

electric sky drips light

fight and drive this mesmerize

across pure thread of sea edge

fall line of monster drop

scream across water wall

hissing heaving chasing break

tuck under unearthly glass

it’s a time stop

ocean secret place

“follow me this far, no further..”

keep going in ways unknown

the dark waves the dark waters

my moody soul fills the ocean with

churning, plunging energy that

is out of control - bobbing and pumping

this wish to whisk away

all impediments

to feel all

there is to feel

the tingle of an ocean wave

rush forward glide

in an instant

the motion of music

dance in balance

control the awful uncontrollable

fury windswept immensities of globe

sky and sea all stretched out and pumped

gliding white spray trails,

marks of our resilience,

skill and understanding

our willingness to venture out and, as ever,

go for it.

Dwighty would go.

Eddie would go

Franky would go

Chris would go

Larry would go

what about you?

would you go?


go for it


Fragments of Stars

As I sit on the cliff

edge of this ocean

watching the moon

illuminate the liquid

dancing lights

fragments of stars

scattered on vast waters

fleeting random

like what happens to us

as we try and try to live

for another fragmented day

I drink in the smells

deep brine huge salty summer

remember? those days of

brief bikinis and sand

cold drinks beneath hot sun

bang and crack of fireworks

in the distance

rush and whoosh of little waves

breaking and forming beneath me

come back summer love

those days of beach sand dancing

night whirls and moves

beneath summer moon

shine through to reveal

endless memories

your breath soft on my neck

as we embrace on this edge

oceanic oblivion

where sky touches stars touches sea

you touch me

take me my love

taste my salty lips

hungry for you

swallow my anxiety

in your comfort body

entwine these strings

of summer sensations

sunscreen smells and lotions

the muffled screams

of bathing babies

weaving and floating

far into the distance

merging in vessels

all shimmering fragments



Lakeside in this world of

alternating attraction

and repulsion

Now I love you

Now I despise you

Buffeted by waves

of inspiration

emotion reaction

each of us has

his or her own

ways to relate

or unrelate

engage or disengage

always we exist

in a state of combination


come home to me

my soul one time

the oars click

in their locks

as the boats make

their ways around

the lake the ripples

roll and beckon me

backed by the

towering skyline

of this, today, sunny

and bright city

It's just too much

"Aiiich" blurts the baby

in bemused delight

what's the cherry cheeked

tyke's amusement?

a fuckin pigeon


Night Mystery

A lonely night lost in a mystery
I can hear the ocean crying
Singing to me its vast, soul-swollen song
Tales of so many human hearts yearning
So many cries muffled in sinking bubbles
Flying people flapping their arms
Trying so hard to stay afloat in its hissing waves
Sailors lost to mermaids, sirens calling
Oozing mass of seaweeds and tangled kelp
Feeling moist vined leaves wrapping around me
Leafy fingers tickle my legs and ass, wrap
Their stringy electric ooze across my crotch
Blending stringy sea cords into my hair
Launching me up out of the water and on my way
Up, up, up above the glimmering moonlit sea
Diamond dance surface, avenue of sky
My goal is even higher and more beyond
Beyond this gravity-laden ocean weight
To the liberated sky and stars. I'm moving now
Oh how I really want to!
Making my own course freely through the sky
Making my own new constellations:
Here is the drunken bum under a dirty sheet
Here is one bright youngster riding a bike in the street
Here is a young mom bleeding
cut down in a cross fire, her infant crying
Here is the bright ferris wheel turning
Here is a tower, lights burning
Here am I entwined with my love

Here am I in the midst of the stars
Lost in a lonely night mystery

You're Cute

I felt like crying when you said it

Oooh it felt so bad

How could it be, I never did that

But it was true, true, true


Say what you want to say

spit it out

Truth never hurts anyone

don't run, it's done

Oooh it hurts like a fire

there is no place to run

the mirrors all look so scary

turn for help, there is no one

Wheel of life it is turning

we reap what we have sown

no use tryin' to deny it

Just grab it and call it your own

There ain't no sweet without sour

Seeds will turn into flowers

this is an immaculate hour

make it yours, you got the power

So here I am all alone

Forced into a life of my own

Knife of truth cuts deeply

But in the end it brings only peace

Joy will come after sorrow

today will become tomorrow

you played on my heart like a flute

thanks a lot baby you're pretty cute.


Antigone Come Back To Me

When I see that sail

moving alone

along the horizon

the soft blues of sea

mingled with the airy blues of sky

and you in between

it makes me wish

you were coming back

not going away

Antigone my love

caressing you in the night

tropical breathing

only insects and frogs

break the silence

nature sounds, amorous tweets

fragrant scents

ladies of the night

sing to me

sweet Antigone

your coconut brown hair

liquid brown eyes

soft wood color skin

gently touching mine

your tender fingers

lips, eye lashes closing

and opening

Sail away Antigone

Sail away into the sky

Sail away Antigone

please come back to me

My Antigone

so very high

and far away


please come back to me


Old Poems

Got No Time

Mine is a world of death,

anguish, defeat, grief

God it is sad.

I say “Why us Lord?”

But look, there is equally as much

Joy, laughter, love and repose.

God I need a rest.

Can you help me sort it out sometime?

All this confusion about what's yours and what's mine.

Is my life really my own?

Is this a place I can really call home?

Or does it blow up sky high

as a million lights take off and fly

Reaching higher, further, farther

in the holiest of dark night skies.

My soul flies away to be with you.

when I see that spark in my girl's eyes

And it ends up crashing into me

in the crush of death and things we do.

Then at the bottom of my life

when I just hate my hurt and want to cry

When I can't understand the reason why

and all I see is God making people die.

Suddenly a light appears

and I feel you tenderly touch my skin.

Something in me

makes me start again.

And I raise prayers I

know I send

and you can hear me Lord

I know you can

and I know this life can not be mine

it must be for you and all our kind

the spirit lives in love

you cant deny

even if she has

been taken from me

and I don't know how to live

or even why -

why bother going on in this world of woe?

Ain't got time.

It's a grey gloomy day today

been a while since you went away.

It was fun to laugh and play the clown

and know we'd always have each other around.

Our life was good, nothing got us down.

But all that changed

when you got taken away

and my life crashed down

into this sad way.

Oh I wish you could have stayed.

Hear the foghorn blow.

I guess I gotta go.

can't stay here myself

got too many things on the shelf

gotta pick myself up and go

ain't got time for feelin' bad

ain't got time for all we used to have

tomorrow's here today

I gotta go.

I got no more time.


Leave A Mark

Send the earth a message

to remember

Cracks of mud

or marks of high and low waters

furrows from wheel ruts

raw remnants of storms

piles of dead rotted leaves

the sweet deep smells of first spring

when insects repeat

fulfill legacies

squelch their personal sounds

low throaty gurgles

incessant calling

high chirping whines

magnetizing the air

attracting mates

to spawn – live - and die

in bodies no bigger than dust

falling to earth


Death waits at the bottom of the tree.

It's the same reason people

make things

to give to each other

so they'll live on in love

and when they fall

somehow leave a mark.


Angel Mermaid

Alicia Alicia

You float through the skies

you fly through the seas

you swim through my heart milky mermaid

your seraphic face keeps haunting me

your shiny scaled tail waving watery

I remember when you went away

there was something you forgot to say

I'm in love with these thoughts of you

how could you leave a heart so true

It's what you willingly give

that makes our love live

please come back to me

even though you are free

So near the sea

ah see those big waves rolling

feel those big waves rolling

feel the strong breeze blowing

hear the songs in the trees sing

ooh come back to me

please don't leave me angel

dont sail away through those waves

hitch your course to a brand new star

and make your way back here

please make your way back here

this sand is so lonely tonight

listen to this shell, it's crying

is that a red fire down the beach

somebody else all alone here like me