In and out of Spain


In and out of Spain

Spanish gardens, donkey trails.

Up steep dusty mountains we went, the four of us,

then we walked along rocky ocean cliffs, poking long sticks

in the waves. Whether it was an octopus’ play or anger,

tentacles wrapped tight around the tree-limb,

my brother screamed with excitement, pulled for a while

then let go.


Under surveillance at the corner store, we were

government-spied on

while buying popsicle rockets, licking,

lazily skipping back to the pool. I snuck

behind our apartment building

to feed dinner scraps to the desolate feline strays.


My mother bought us dyed pink chicks at Easter,

chick-feet running across a tile hard floor.

My father brought them back to the market

to face their inevitable doom.


Baby teeth, my brother’s and mine, tied to a string

tied to an open door.


Grandmother with her long

boney brown fingers, her fearful sins and Lucifer

always behind our backs, up elevators,

fueling the first of my many nightmares, and also

my morality.


A white Volkswagen. A massive pinkish sun,

making friends with Spanish boys breaking

bread beside Flamenco dancers.


There was a shark in the water.

I was lifted onto my father’s shoulders,

as he ran fast, past the menacing fin to the shore.


A diving board, lessons in breathing

and earning a swimmer’s endurance,

lessons in lifting my double-jointed arm to gain

front-crawl perfection.


Mother’s blonde and blonder hair.

Everynight parties.


Holland shoes

instead of stockings at Christmas.

Learning math at the kitchen table.

My father’s arms carrying me home

after a late night gathering of strange comic-book creatures,

laughing, making us little ones sit at the smaller table, ignoring

our just-out-of-toddlerhood need for adult attention.


Kindergarten handwriting at Bambi School,

Rice pudding everyday for lunch. Naranja-head,

children pointing, making fun because of my orange hair.

A pencil jabbed into my upper arm –

40 years later, the lead is still visible.


When we drove across the Denia boarder, into France,

then landed for months in London,

I could see my father’s memories coming back, his disappointments

overtaking. Maybe it was because it was in London

where his own father died, left India for, only to die

two weeks later in his wife’s arms,

leaving five children behind.


The first year back in Montreal,

my father started drinking heavily while my mother gave up,

got involved with her celebrity journalism and multitude of friends. 

I remember going to get breakfast, my father passed out

on the kitchen floor. I remember

in and out of Spain.



Copyright © 2014 by Allison Grayhurst

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Make the Wind cover


First published in “blackmail press issue 39”

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Published in “Think Pink, Issue 2” Pink.Girl.Ink. Press, May 2015

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Published in “Section 8 Magazine” June 2015

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Allison Grayhurst


Make the wind contentsMake the wind In an out of Spain 1 Make the wind In an out of Spain 2

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You can listen to the poems my clicking below:



“Her (Allison Grayhurst’s) poetry appears visceral, not for the faint of heart, and moves forward with a dynamism, with a frenetic pulse. If you seek the truth, the physical blood and bones, then, by all means, open the world into which we were all born,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.

“What a treasure Allison Grayhurst is. Her gift? To unfold for us life at this intensity of feeling and revelation. Who knew truth and beauty could be so intertwined and so passionate?,” Taylor Jane Green BA, RIHR, CH, Registered Holistic Talk Therapist, and author of Swan Wheeler: A North American Mythology, Swan – A Planetary Mythology, and The Rise of Eros, 2014.



Before Atonement


Before Atonement


At night I was full

like others are in summer,

myself, just a silhouette at dawn,

part of a church, but never part of

a calling.

I would look for owls as I canvassed unfamiliar roads

in winter, when everyone was lonely and the vein

of fulfillment pulsed obscure. I would knock on doors,

smile as though I was innocent, young in my hope

and inspired by ideals. Sometimes I would have tea and talk

as though I understood something, secretly carrying my

pink powder in a small golden tin,

desperate for any kind of magic.

The smell of that powder – sweet, unusual and old – the feel

of that powder – like rubbing thick blood between

finger and thumb – I was someone with that powder –

maybe a witch, maybe a prophet – someone

who communed with the gangs of cats that would

emerge past dinnertime; sit under cars, behind tree trunks

watching me as I watched them.

At night, the van would pull up and I had so little to say,

except to the driver. We loved our silence,

the awkward closeness

of agreed non-personal communication.

For me, there was only those nights and books,

there were only incoherent surreal images

storming my brain, longing to be submerged

in hard hard substance.



Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst


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.First published in “blackmail press issue 39”, March 2015

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Published in “Section 8 Magazine” May 2015

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



“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.


Reviews of ‘The Many Lights of Eden’:

“’The Many Lights of Eden’ is a journey: a journey of the heart through youth, anguish, struggle, spiritual awakening, grief, death, love, loss, guilt, struggle, despair, hope, surrender, God, sensuality, imperfection, motherhood, aging, the vanquishing of the devil, indeed, many devils, the inevitable fall from perfection and the casting off of old wineskins for a new one. Perhaps speaking of this book as a chronicle of spiritual maturing would be more accurate, the realization that there is spirituality within imperfection and that handmade temples cannot hope to compete with the spiritual temples within each of us. ‘The Many Lights of Eden’ is a diamond. It is a beautiful collection of insights. Allison Grayhurst’s thoughts and writings are a deep well. Drink from it, for the water is clear and crisp. This collection is a MUST-READ,” Eric M. Vogt, author of Letters to Lara and Paths and Pools to Ponder. 

 “I have been slow at responding to reviews for Allison Grayhurst due to summer’s busy days, however she brings life to each poem, heart to the images and everyone should have a collection of Grayhurst Poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet.