Poetry from Michael Lee Johnson

I Age (V2)

Fire in the background, image of an old man walking at night hunched over a cane in the foreground.
I Age

Arthritis and aging make it hard,

I walk gingerly, with a cane, and walk

slow, bent forward, fear threats,

falls, fear denouement─

I turn pages, my family albums

become a task.

But I can still bake and shake,

sugar cookies, sweet potato,

lemon meringue pies.

Alone, most of my time,

but never on Sundays,

friends and communion, 

United Church of Canada. 

I chug a few down,

love my Blonde Canadian Pale Ale,

Copenhagen long cut a pinch of snuff.

I can still dance the Boogie-woogie,

Lindy Hop in my living room,

with my nursing care home partner.

Aging has left me with youthful dimples, 

but few long-term promises.

Crypt in the Sky (V2)

Grey image of drawers of smooth stone boxes for ashes in a cemetery, marked with names and years. A few flowers attached.
Crypt in the Sky

Order me up,

no one knows

where this crypt in the sky

like a condo on the 5th floor

suite don’t sell me out

over the years;

please don’t bury me beneath 

this ground, don’t let me decay

inside my time pine casket.

Don’t let me burn to cremate

skull last to turn to ashes.

Treasure me high where no one goes,

no arms reach, stretch.

Building for the Centuries

then just let it fall.

These few precious dry bones

preserved for you, sealed in the cloud

no relocation is necessary,

no flowers need to be planted,

no dusting off that dust each year,

no sinners can reach this high.

Jesus’ heaven, Jesus’ sky.

Note:  Dedicated to the passing of beloved Katie Balaskas.

Priscilla, Let’s Dance (V2)

Woman with a halo around her hair facing a wall and touching a piano. She's in a long black dress.
Priscilla, Let’s Dance

Priscilla, Puerto Rican songbird,

an island jungle dancer, Cuban heritage,

rare parrot, a singer survivor near extinction.

She sounds off on notes, music her

vocals hearing background bongos, 

piano keys, Cuban horns.

Quote the verse patterns,

quilt the pieces skirt bleeds,

then blend colors to light a tropical prism.

Steamy Salsa, a little twist, cha-cha-cha

dancing rhythms of passions, sacred these islands.

Everything she has is movement

tucked nice and tight but explosive.

She mimics these ancient sounds

showing her ribs, her naked body.

Her ex-lovers remain nightmares

pointed daggers, so criminal, so stereotyped.

Priscilla purifies her dreams with repentance.

She pours her heart out, everything

condensed to the bone, petite boobies,

cheap bras, flamboyant G-strings.

Her vocabulary is that of sin and Catholicism.

Island hurricanes form her own Jesus

slants of hail, detonate thunder,

the collapse of hell in her hands after midnight. 

Priscilla remains a background rabble-rouser,

almost remorseful, no apologies

to the counsel of Judas

wherever he hangs.

Willow Tree Poem (V2)

Painting of birds in a willow tree's top branches. Blue sky and yellow hazy border and yellow willows.
Willow Tree Poem

Wind dancers

dancing to the

willow wind,

lance-shaped leaves

swaying right to left

all day long.

I’m depressed.

Birds hanging on-

bleaching feathers

out into

the sun.

Older white man with a coat and a tee shirt in his living room with a houseplant in the background and a picture on the wall.
Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 283 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/.