Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Dear Ramona” by John Grey. Grey has been recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One, and Columbia Review and has work forthcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex, and Midwest Quarterly. Originally from Australia, Grey currently resides in the United States.
I'm broke. I'm still here.
I live alone
and I do all the talking.
Week by week, looking older.
A little ruined maybe.
And if you could see these eyes
you'd know they've wept some
in their time.
There's photographs in this place
that show me as a young man,
a new man.
But that's just the camera's opinion.
There's children playing in the park opposite.
And trucks still rumble by,
try to shake down these walls.
The guy below,
you know - the one with the yellow suit,
he went missing for a while.
Turns out he was in hospital
and no one knew.
I mean how many things
can a guy stand to do
with no one knowing about them.
And the woman on the first floor -
I admit I cannot comprehend her
one little bit.
She's in her seventies,
dresses like a teenager,
wears makeup like caulk
to fill the cracks in her face.
Those were who I woke to Christmas morning.
I'm in between jobs
but not love affairs.
I write when I can
and when I can't,
I get this icy run of fear
that there'll come a time
when I stop even doing that.
And what comes after writing?
I have a sense that there is nothing more.
Poet’s Notes: “Dear Ramona” harkens back to a time when I was living by myself, trying to eke out a living against the odds. The place in which I was staying at the time was a typical tenement apartment in the poorer side of town, the kind of place where the other tenants living so close just underlined how solitary my situation was. The details are just scattered memories of local color. Was there a Ramona? Maybe, maybe not. But there was a desperation, a sorrow in the writing to her.
Editor’s Note: The loneliness, fear, helplessness, and despair seep out of this poem as blood would from an abrasion that refuses to heal. There is a universal quality to this poem with which most people, particularly writers and artists, would readily identify. The title is wisely chosen, begging the reader to wonder whom Ramona might be.
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