Poet of the month: Michael Lee Johnson

  1. Whispers from the Grave

 

(Heart attack 50 years of age)

By Michael Lee Johnson

What happened to 20 acres of farmland tilted toward sun angles,

those sharp stone edges cool fall comes

frost fields covered taking ownership of rented, abused, abandoned land−

10 years Phil has been gone, DeKalb, Illinois farmer.

 

Did he find salvation in those gold cornfields?

October orange colors, hayrides, and pumpkin harvest

of grey, grave bones buried near the deadly bicycle ride.

Mystery did his lover Betsy

(defense, prosecuting attorney, Elgin, Illinois)

stand by his site after she went through mourning,

the grandstanding at the wake at the farm,

the dimming of all candles, incenses, and memorial shrine

she held sacred within her bedroom walls, now faded.

 

2. Mount Pleasant Cemetery (V2)

(Toronto, Ontario Canada)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Gravediggers uprooting caskets

with sharp, steel shovels-

each slicing step downward

through nerve-rooted earth

cooper pennies jingle in change

pouches dangling by their sides.

 

They chat casually of Jesus,

His painless resurrection

from the sealed tomb,

money-changers being chased

away from God’s holy temple.

 

3. Everything Red for the Queen

By  Michael Lee Johnson

(Ekphrastic Poetry, Photo Attached)

 

Everything is red

in the kingdom of the queen.

Matador hat with barnacles,

witch white hair to the shoulders,

tickling the breast.

In her eyes are the blood shot

of many vampires;

in her heart the daggers

of many soldiers.

Five inky fingers

cross her throat

like an ill-fitted necklace.

Her dress is like heart charms,

scales of fish dripping

blood toward her toes.

Withy, twists around her throat.

Anglers of the court toss hooks

toward her cherry red lips,

capture the moment

of the haze of purple

surrounding her head.

Everything is red

in the kingdom of the queen.

Death changes colors from red to blue.

 

Author’s notes:  this poem was developed from a picture that is available.

 

 

4. The March of the Emperor Penguins

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Emperor Penguins never set feet on land,

straight up their feet on ice, tuxedo’s with short feathers

overlapped, waterproofed, inner down layers insulated with air.

Heads bobble fat fannies waddle, the march to the homeland begins.

70 miles the clan walks and slides away from the sea and back to the sea.

70 miles into the darkest, driest and coldest continent, Antarctica cradles up the South Pole.

High step, searching for partners for one year, away from predators, the mating party begins.

Mutual sex they turn check format a goal, breed their young, months of illness, hurt, struggles, isolation, separation face in the winter the great white ghost of death.

Starvation is a 2-way trip the male is the mother 120 days, mother goes for food-

at one point tough they all must go back to the ocean and sea.

Emperor Penguins they dance and huddle.

Back they go to the ice, to the flow, and sea 50/50, millions of years ago.

 

 

5. Whispers from the Grave

(Heart attack 50 years of age)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

What happened to 20 acres of farmland tilted toward sun angles,

those sharp stone edges cool fall comes

frost fields covered taking ownership of rented, abused, abandoned land−

10 years Phil has been gone, DeKalb, Illinois farmer.

 

Did he find salvation in those gold cornfields?

October orange colors, hayrides, and pumpkin harvest

of grey, grave bones buried near the deadly bicycle ride.

Mystery did his lover Betsy

(defense, prosecuting attorney, Elgin, Illinois)

stand by his site after she went through mourning,

the grandstanding at the wake at the farm,

the dimming of all candles, incenses, and memorial shrine

she held sacred within her bedroom walls, now faded.

 

 

6. Mount Pleasant Cemetery (V2)

(Toronto, Ontario Canada)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Gravediggers uprooting caskets

with sharp, steel shovels-

each slicing step downward

through nerve-rooted earth

cooper pennies jingle in change

pouches dangling by their sides.

 

They chat casually of Jesus,

His painless resurrection

from the sealed tomb,

money-changers being chased

away from God’s holy temple.

 

 

7. Reincarnation (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Next life I will be a little higher on the pecking order.

No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes,

or Ricky’s All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.

I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs, crickets don’t bother,

swamp flies don’t bother me-I eat them.  Alligators I avoid.

I urinate on lily pads mate across borders, continents at will.

Someone else from India can wash my dishes locally for me.

Forward all complaints to that religious office of Indian affairs.

 

 

8. Detective Poetic Johnson Here

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

December 1st 2016,

detective Johnson here.

I see my shrink for the 1st time,

I’m low maintenance, one every 3 months,

Dr. Pennypecker.  He is tight ass conservative type

with a raisin dry personality who tries to keep sober

and focused so he can focus on me.

I’m a grade 3 drop out with a degree

in elementary school bullshit.

I ask him how his children are.

“I only have one, let’s focus on YOU!”

Nice haircut, Dr. Pennypecker,

have you ever noticed how the poor people

who usually come here, are Mexicans,

and they all can afford a $60 a month cell phone?

“Let’s stay focused!”

I tell Dr. Pennypecker I love Jesus, I love the Holy Ghost,

I love the Father; most of these Mexicans do too.

With all these rain clouds up above outside this window here,

I believe we are all together until I pass.

“Now that is interesting, let’s focus on that!”

I tell Dr. Pennypecker when I get upset about something

I know is my fault and I do have problems

sleeping but I don’t dwell on that too much.

“Let’s focus on that!”

Is 20 milligrams of Citalopram, antidepressants, generic,

enough or should we cut it back?

Oh no, don’t do that Dr. Pennypecker.  By the way, Dr. Pennypecker,

how do you cut your hair in the back when you have your own Wal-Mart

Pro Clipper Haircutting Kit set on # 2?

“I put a paper back there and I put a mirror back there and I sort of do,

no, no, let’s not focus on that!”

I walk out the door ready for my next appointment 3 months down the road.

I open the door for a stranger ready for his appointment; I say, “have a good day.”

He is so self-centered, that his long hair and the way he moves back and forth

sways, swings, doesn’t say anything he is so damn self-absorbed in his own gray cloud.

 

This was my day with Dr. Pennypecker.

 

 

9. I Edit my Life

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

I edit my life

clothesline pins & clips

hang to dry,

dirty laundry,

I turn poetic hedonistic

in my early 70’s

reviewing the joys

and the sorrows

of my journey.

I find myself wanting

a new review, a new product,

a new time machine,

a new internet space,

a new planet where

we small, wee creative

creatures can grow.

 

 

10. Day Time Bitch & Nighttime Whore (2)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Fern Dickson life untrue to her marital vows, peachy,

what did you expect from the Indiana Rockville whore?

Daddy was welder man, sweat, bleeder bending

over hot steel rolls all day, he was a verb man,

Oliver farmer, noun, welder machine man.

Fern Dickson was a sneak out the door whore, peachy,

2:30 pm. daily was her homemaker check out time.

Waddling penguin style down to Kubiak’s bar

to write her own mystery novel.

Demolition of their marriage, started with table hopping at the bar,

peachy, free drinks and a celebration of wholesale sex.

Narrative, family circles and circuses run in the gypsies of whores,

daddy dog, dancing sin, with the Rockville whore.

Daddy comes home from work,

angered at the burned potato fries,

cold Sauerkraut, Bush’s fresh out of the can,

maple cured baked beans, cold Cole Slaw, A&P grocery store.

Narrative, old prostitute whore habits die-hard.

Coon hunting, fox hunting daddy, I’m the storyteller

of this Rockville, Indiana whore.

Her brass tits suck then stuck in the mouths of strangers at the local bar, peachy.

Fern has no regular job, bar hopping, table jumping,

became her unemployment check, salary, entertainment and career, peachy.

This cemetery now is Archangel Lucifer, secretary, note taker

for the Rockville whore.

 

 

11. Children in the Sky (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

There is a full moon,

distant in this sky tonight,

 

Gray planets planted

on an aging white, face.

 

Children, living and dead,

love the moon with small hearts.

 

Those in heaven already take gold thread,

drop the moon down for us all to see.

 

Those alive with us, look out their

bedroom windows tonight,

we smile, then prayers, then sleep.

 

 

12. Lilly, Lonely Trailer Prostitute (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson

 

Paint your face with cosmetic smiles.

Toss your breast around with synthetic plastic.

Don’t leak single secrets to strangers-

locked in your trailer 8 foot wide by 50 foot long

with twisted carrots, cucumbers, weak batteries,

and colorful dildos-you’ve even given them names:

Adams’s pleasure skin, big Ben on the raise, Rasputin:

the Mad Monk-oh no, no, no.

Your legs hang with the signed signatures

of playboys and drifters ink.

The lot rent went up again this year.

Paint your face, walk the streets

again with cosmetic smiles.

 

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