This vice I keep

is like a limb, blistered

and useless. I swallow

it down a bloody throat,

into a pocket of stubborn hurt. There,

it unmuzzles my scream

and shrouds the sun in tar.


Why do I harvest the fear, the desperation,

in dreams where the bonds of love

collapse and I convulse

in betrayal’s shock?

Why won’t it go when my lover is true,

and honest tenderness

is the substance of his heart?


This vice I drink like

a hallucinogenic, obscures a living vow.

It has a face like an abscess, reeks

like an earthworm’s underground home.

This vice comes cruel

as a hunter’s bullet, comes like vinegar

in the eyes, baptizing my nerves

in a thieving rage, until I am

overwrought, fractured, ambushed

by its primal illogical cry.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst





First published in “Chicago Record Magazine” March 2017




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“Allison Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author.

“Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort. Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces. Grayhurst’s poetry is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author.


Review of The Longing To Be: 

“The contents of Allison Grayhurst’s book The Longing To Be are both personal and universal and are described in such thematic and golden terms that one can see that a lot of thought has gone into each line. The poems are written mostly in free verse throughout, with both rhythm and soul weaved into them. For some poems, the layout seems experimental, and there is definitely a playfulness in the way that the words and verses fall onto the page. Others do conform to a “norm”, whatever that is. All are dramatic and thoughtful. These are layered poems with new horizons presented to the reader in every re-read. The effect is to keep things fresh with poems that constantly surprise in spite, and because of, the number of times being read. I thoroughly recommend The Longing To Be as a poetry book to study carefully and cherish far into the future,” poet Brian Shirra.



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