Poetry from Michael Lee Johnson

Heaven is My Horse Fly (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson










A common horse fly

peripatetic traveler

vacationing in my world

into my bathroom,

(ride me cowboy, fly)

it’s summer time-

lands on my toilet seat

pit stops at Nikki’s Bar & Grill,

kitty litter box, refuels.

Thirteen round trips

buzzing my skin and skull-

he calls them “short runs.”

Steady pilot, good mileage,

frequent flier credits.

I swat his war journey,

splat, downed, then, an abrupt end.



Alexandra David-Neel (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson










She edits her life from a room made dark against a desert dropping summer sun. A daring traveling Parisian adventurer, ultimate princess turning toad with age– snow drops of white in her hair, tiny fingers thumb joints osteoarthritis she corrects proofs at 100, pours whiskey, pours over what she wrote scribbles notes directed to the future, applies for a new passport. With this amount of macular degeneration, near, monster of writers’ approaches, she wears no spectacles. Her mind teeters between Himalayas, distant Gobi Desert. Running reason through her head for a living, yet dancing with the youthful world of Cinderella, she plunges deeper near death into Tibetan mysticism, trekking across snow covered mountains to Lhasa, Tibet. Nighttime rest, sleepy face, peeking out that window crack into the nest, those quiet villages below tasting a reality beyond her years.


Painted Cat (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson











This painted cat

on my balcony

hangs in this sun,

bleaches out

it’s wooden

survival kit,

cut short-

then rots




widen in joints,

no infant sparrow wings

nestled in this hole

beneath its neck-

then falls down.

No longer a swinger

in latter days, August wind.


Oh Carol, Poem

By Michael Lee Johnson











You treat me like soiled underwear.

I work my way through.

I gave up jitterbug dancing, that cha-cha-chá,

all my eccentric moves, theatric acting, poetry slams.

I seek refuge away old films, nightmares

you jumping from my raspberry Geo Chevy Tracker

repeat you stunt from my black 2002 S-10 Chevy truck, Schaumburg, IL.

I toss tarnished photographs out windows of hell

seek new selfies, myself.

I’m a rock-in-roll Jesus, a damn good poetry man,

talent alone is not enough storage space to strip

you away from my skin, distant myself from your

ridicule, those harsh words you can’t take back

once they are out like Gorilla Glue, as Carl Sandburg spoke about.

I’m no John Lennon want to be;

body sculptured David Garrett, German violin masterpiece,

nor Ace Hardware, Midwest, CEO.

All I want to be respected in heart of my bright sun,

engaging these shadows endorsing these gray spots in my life.

Send me away from these drum beats that break me in half,

jungle thunder jolts dislodging my heart

popping my earlobes over the years,

scream out goodbye.

No more stepping on me cockroach style,

swatting me, a captured fly.


Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  Mr. Johnson published in more than 1012 publications, his poems have appeared in 35 countries, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites.  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/and 2 Best of the Net 2017.  He also has 150 poetry videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.  He is the Editor-in-chief of the anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762 and Editor-in-chief of a second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses which is now available here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089