Greg Grummer

Art by David Vogin

Adam, In Search Of Music

     I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.

     I see my life in terms of music.Albert Einstein

Hmm, this bone would make
a nice flute, if only it had holes.

I’d carve some in it
if only I could figure out

how to get it out of my leg.


     God said unto the Snake, “Where are your brothers, Adam & Eve?”
     And the Snake said, “Whatever.”

We had a situation near the tree today.
We ate, blushed, and dressed in shadows.

But before that—“See,” she said, “look at this.
I was hungry, I ate, and now
the wind must be drained from my sores.

Can’t you hear how we’re screaming?”
(I couldn’t hear anything.)

Later that night a drink melted from between her legs,
the stink of vision in our prayer, my heat against
her fathom, a yes, lush, between us like teleology.

And then we ate another, everything, including
its seeds, dark, we didn’t know it at the time, with secrets.

Then she knits me this green dress,
but I don’t know how to use it.

When I saw her tonight, her stomach round,
summering, I knew she was no longer me somehow,
and so I tried to put her back.

I wanted her down over my heart, but already
she had these laws. She was singing (what’s the use)
but I kneeled anyway.

I forced open her future. I listened to her hair.
I said the first word I could think of: rain.

I said it way back in her throat, and although
I’m sure she heard it, I think she misunderstood,
for she took up a tablet and wrote:

God rested on top of me on the seventh day, and,
before falling asleep, said: Was it good?

Pawn To E4

     The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the
     Universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature
     and the player on the other side is hidden from us. —Thomas Huxley

There will be blood.
Even if it’s horse blood, or blood from the gill of a knight.
A pass of queen’s blood, like shadow from a wine bottle
spilt into a glass of sugar, or the cream of a rose
on the jowl of a dog, blood laid on dirt like glue
used to close the mouth of a church for leaking
too much alabaster, like a priest holding tight
to his fat so the god might be drawn to the jiggle,
blood from a cut made by a nun pulling a dirk
from her scabbard and slicing it through her lover’s black hair.
Blood from a virgin so as to ease the tension
between two old crows, standing on a cross beam
above the god’s son, who’s fallen asleep in his own arms,
who has despaired of ever being invited into heaven.

A Theory of Dirt Written by a Tombstone

     This is patently absurd; but whoever wishes to become a philosopher
     must learn not to be frightened by absurdities. –Bertrand Russell

Skulls ferment in depth as they once steeped
above shirts, the hand mostly in waves
of shrub and flowering charcoal.

Farness burning oak equals some mass.

The blown bowl floats (the moon) through the arbor,
stars falling around it, falling down,
circling out, like rings in search of the perfect marriage.

The “other” is also the rose that never gets a chance
to die because it’s in the next forest.

Sod provides storm so the jaw can swim. 
The mind finally breathes,
having detonated under a field of number.

The dead come up with a whole complex of sins and return
to lunch on some priest. Legs are in the snow or in the creek.

That one, there! See, death carries with it its own worm
so the living don’t have to do all the work.
Go with grace under the plow, into the torment, through the ditch.


    We develop new principles for the world out of the world’s own principles.
     We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish;
     we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world
     what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire,
     even if it does not want to. –Marx

The profit of a drink of water is the memory of thirst.
And when one sells a bag of stones one is lucky.

The blood of the arm goes to buy
slaves for the utopia.

Sometimes currency gets into the whiskey
and so the road must burn.

But it’s not the fault of oil that children commit suicide,
just as a natural gas can’t make the blind young again.

And when a soldier is struck by debt
war trembles in the pond.

Some say “profit” but I tell you history
lives in the skull but a bone would be better.

Profit, which has squatted in my dust
and left a museum there.

Profit, which lands on the poor like snow on a knife.


On the verge of America, Greg Grummer finds the voice of origin coming through its various pageants and is happy to allow it. He has been published in numerous periodicals and small presses nationally, among them the American Poetry Review, Rhino, Ploughshares, Fine Madness, and The Georgetown Review

Greg Grummer at Winning Writers

Greg Grummer at Verse Wisconsin

Greg Grummer at RHINO

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