Poetry By Carolyn Gregory

ARM IN ARM (for Oscar Wilde)

Oscar, I would have loved
to have a date with you
on Valentine’s Day.
We would have walked
arm in arm in Dublin,
dressed like dandies.

Your wit would have floored me
as you picked on the cell phone junkies
and girls in stilettos.
You might have pointed out a boy
or two with promise.

You talked about hypocrisy
as your chin jutted out.
I loved your brassy humor 
and kissed you on your lips,
our fantasies taking off
like flash fiction.

–Carolyn Gregory


They will try to do whatever

they can to sell you the whole thing —

teapots wishing you courage, 

tee-shirt dress at one hundred dollars,

birdbath offering care to all

the birds visiting.

Perhaps a pillow saying “Be Still”

will amplify serenity

and if not, the reversible raincoat

should do the trick.

Velvet jackets sit beside paintings

from the Vatican.

A happy birthday elephant should cheer

anyone with its floppy ears

and a brass band installed,

and if it does not, there is always

a singing bird clock 

and a spinning ballerina garden stake.

Times are good!

–Carolyn Gregory 


They scratch and scratch at back tables

until their fingers bleed on paper. 

No matter. It’s a daily deal.

Maybe one will win something

and buy a new house

or pick up a mistress with a pot full of 

thousand dollar bills.

Standing in line for new tickets,

they wear patched jeans

with holes in the pockets. 

One dreams of fat cigars

in his own nightclub

though his car has been towed.

The woman buying cat food

calls this a den of iniquity

on her way to Bible study. 

–Carolyn Gregory 


Sitting like a queen
with red hair flying
above a heart-shaped tattoo,
she took in my sorrows
and flights of fancy,
impartial as a small stone
Buddha on her shelf.

She heard my troubles
with alcohol and jobs,
isolation of northern winters
listening to the lake blowing
across my childhood,
understood my wish to disappear
in mandalas and wild dance.

We only hugged twice.
I will miss her in her long gowns,
sitting in her very tall chair,
offering solace where there was none
and the photo of two hands opening
in acceptance above her.

–Carolyn Gregory


I am a writer with no keyboard

in a year full of fires 

and dark surprises

My fingers burn with the need

for self expression 

in the city of masked strangers

staring at cell phones

I learn to talk to myself

sometimes in riddles,

sometimes more profoundly

trying to imagine

my place in the cosmos

whiles fires flare out west

–Carolyn Gregory


Up and down the stairs they go,

carrying bouquets and mattresses

to the third or fourth floor

in high heat. 

They came here in U-Hauls

with great expectations

that will not be met

for quiet walks in the arboretum,

decent neighbors.

They are never ready 

when the hardwood floors are 

drilled and hammered overhead

or when a husband punches a wife.

How can this idyll be broken?

One day a suicidal neighbor

finally snuffs himself

and someone else has a baby.

We wear our masks, we watch 

our step, no matter what comes next.

–Carolyn Gregory




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