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Michel Lee Johnson
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, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson is published in more than 2033 new publications. His poems have appeared in 41 countries; he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. He is the administrator of six Facebook poetry groups; he has several new poetry chapbooks coming out soon. He has over 533 published poems to date. Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018. Two hundred thirty-one poetry videos are now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089. Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings: The Best in Contemporary Poetry, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1722130717.
https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Michael+Lee+Johnson&type=. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/. Do not forget to consider me for Best of the Net or Pushcart nominations.
Showers & Rain
By Michel Lee Johnson
I’d like to see you in showers,
shadows, memories, final hours
that end this rain.
Daisies reveal your simple secrets,
yellow perverted pleasures, complicated,
often unseen mysteries like
Forget your sins & dance with me.
All petals at some point fall
in season come to despair
same as a desperate ending.
I focus on memories now,
represent all short stories shared,
a poem or two no one will remember,
a Hemingway legacy funeral,
one family member,
one suicide at a time.
By Michel Lee Johnson
We all wait for our death certificates—
aging bodies, sagging arms, necks with wrinkles.
We drag our bodies around shopping malls
in all shapes, funny forms, walk
around in tennis shoes early mornings.
Don’t stretch out here too far.
Just get our groceries, see our grandchildren,
Lucky Charms, no witchcraft, but Jesus
finds our way home.
Kansas, Old Abandoned House (V4)
By Michel Lee Johnson
(Photo Available/Ekphrastic poem)
House, weathered, bashed in grays, spiders,
homespun surrounding yellows and pinks
on a Kansas, prairie appears lonely tonight.
The human theater lives once lived here
inside are gone now,
buried in the back, dark trail
behind that old outhouse.
Old wood chipper in the shed, rustic, worn, no gas, no thunder, no sound.
Remember the old coal bin, now open to the wind,
but no one left to shovel the coal.
Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides all gone.
Deserted ghostly children still swing abandoned in the prairie wind.
All unheated rooms no longer have children
to fret about, cheerleaders have long gone,
the banal house chills once again. It is winter,
three lone skinny crows perched out of sight
on barren branched trees silhouetted in early morning
hints of pink, those blues, wait with hunger strikes as winter
that snow starts to settle in against moonlight skies.
Kansas becomes a quiet place when those first snowfalls.
There is the dancing of the crows−
that lonely wind, that creaking of the doors, no oil in the joints.
Michel Lee Johnson
Old Irving Park,
Jasper lives in a garret
no bigger than a single bed.
Jasper, 69, clouds of smoke
Lucky Strike unfiltered cigarettes.
He dips Oreo cookies in skim milk.
Six months ago,
the state revoked
his driver’s license-
between the onset
of macular degeneration,
gas at $4.65 a gallon,
and late-stage emphysema,
life for Jasper has stalled out
in the middle lane,
like his middle month
social security check, it is gone.
There is nothing academic about Jasper’s life.
Today the mailbox journey is down
the spiraling stairwell; midway,
he leans against the wall.
Deep breaths from his oxygen tank.
Life is annoying with plastic tubes up his nose.
Relief, back in the attic, with just his oxygen tank,
his Chicago Cubs, losers, are playing
on his radio, WGN, 720 AM.
Equipment, enjoyment at last,
Jasper leans back in his La-Z-Boy recliner.
He reaches for a new pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes.
Jasper grabs a lukewarm Budweiser beer from his mini-fridge.
Deep breaths, a match lit near his oxygen tank.
Early love is sundance
Just before the rays ravish earth
Just before they warm
The human hearth
It is dawn
Crispy clean, pristine, ,
New hope's sweet beginnings.
Early love is a dream
That puts out a bud
Tender tentative true.
Yet to blossom
Or connect with gnarly roots.
Early love is breathless anticipation
The thrill of the chase for some
For me, it is the slow promise of fruition
Riding the rising arc of the swing
Before it climaxes in
To start a swift downward spiral,
Touching base with reality.
Glimpse of bliss
Blue, white infinity,
Early love is trust, not a touchdown
A slow burn lingering start
Gnosis of the rich treasury to plunder
A tryst with sun entrenched kiss.
(c) Amrita Valan 2020
Photo Credit:Trent Haaland Unsplash
Forests - Restless New Leaves
Tender tight rolls of green leaves slowly emerge
Feeding off sunlight galore
Shy no more, they open up, budding
Green scholars of heavenly wisdom
The lovely moist green ripens, reaping
Bright sun stroked yellows,
The blazing fire of carnal cornucopia
Spread word through the forests,
Restless new leaves
Rustle and crackle,
Whispers in ephemeral woods
Of a rustic ravishing beauty
In a frenzy of yellow-red gold dappled fire,
These nymphs of nature conspire,
Run amok on Spring
Drunken with Sunshine saké
Bellissima leaves and leaflets are outdoing flowers today
They adorn woods and dales, glens and copses,
Tchaikovsky's bewitching ballerinas
Tagore's lovely sparkling damsels,
Even the bleached yellow old maids
And rusty red-cheeked wenches
Flitter and flutter
Glitter on their skin
flirtatious hot tamales
Chasing butterflies drunk on mead
What a bacchanalia
In the gold-hued breeze!
Who is coming,
In this eternal cyclic wake,
Of Nature's ephemeral tease?
© Amrita Valan 2021
Photo Credit: Kunal Shinde Unsplash
Cracks in the Faultline – by Del Gibson
There’s a Faultline and its running through my heart, and there’s a freight train coming for me, my love, the end the start, is always magic until it finally all falls apart, and I am waiting, watching, living a nightmare, hear my words as I depart.
The voices whisper and yell at me, telling me I will soon be dead, hey you! Is there a god? If so please, let me know that you are here, so I can be safe in the knowledge that I don’t have to live here in this fear.
The ghosts they live, and they are touching me, frightening me, creeping in the night, they crawl, they slither, creeping through my head, my body, and my sight, is inhibited, and blurred, there is something here not right.
Crack me open, open me up and have a taste of what I see. Am I the monster in the mirror there staring back at me? All the pain, all the love, all the torment in my dreams, turn into nightmares, turn into anguish, turn into torturous, vicious screams.
Coming from deep inside I try to hide I know this might end bad, all of these tears, my fears they screw with my head and I know it’s very sad when I see myself a shell of the person I have now become, no more rain, no pain, no moon, no more languishing in the sun.
I am afraid and my anxiety makes it so I can never leave the house, hiding away, pitter-pattering in this tomb-like I’m a frightened little mouse, too scared to admit I messed it all up by letting myself go, and I am too unwell and messed in the head to even let it show.
Life flows and ebbs and it has been said we seek what we miss most, in the dark, in the night, someday I just might leave this place and heal my soul, heal my wounds, heal the scars, though I think when I look I’ll see, it was me the whole entire time destroying my life for me.
It doesn’t take a scientist to know what we give out comes back to us three-fold, what we think comes out in words, what we say comes out in hurt.
Memories they break us, make us, feel the tears I cry, under the ground, and six feet deep beneath the soil I lie, it was fun while it lasted, now my words have just been blasted, and although my words are deep, we always sow what we do reap.
Copyright © Gibson, Del 2021
POISON – by Del Gibson
I’ve got something on my mind.
And there are people,
I’m gonna have to leave behind.
If that’s the way it’s got to be,
In the mirror, I see myself, and my heart bleeds.
Facing monsters in my head that are my family,
Ripping chunks and bits and pieces. Take it all from me.
Deep inside me,
The ghosts are coming home.
I feel them creeping, cracking, screaming, breaking every single bone.
The silence is deadly.
The night is heavy.
My head is splitting in two.
I’m getting really sick.
I think that I’ve been,
Poisoned in the head.
By your words,
Your broken promises,
And every word you’ve ever said.
It makes me sick knowing,
You’ve got a way with murder,
And now I’m dead,
Taking poison just to hide.
You took my soul,
You broke my heart,
You killed my dreams,
Ripped me apart.
You are toxic, violent, lying, hurting, hating on me.
You are not my friend or lover,
You are now my enemy–poison.
Copyright © Gibson, Del 2021
Save my Soul – by Del Gibson
In the night I scream, is this a nightmare or just another dream?
Counting shadows around my room, I fear their presence; feeling doomed.
Cast their darkness, spread their fear, at the end of the bed they near.
In my fright I cannot move, the lights flicker in the room.
On the ceiling, they crawl across the floor, along the wall.
Knock, knock, knocking in my head
Bang, bang, banging, am I dead?
The mist it spreads, it doesn’t take me long to discover that something is very, very wrong.
Distorted faces in my face it smells of death my heartbeat races in the darkness it takes me places through my fear I can taste it, my bed is shaking the room is spinning the ghosts are pacing my head is hurting.
Will I wake from this, I wonder?
Outside my window, the rain and thunder.
Lord, bring me mercy tonight, bring me back into the light.
Save my soul, I ask you this, give me release and endless bliss.
Copyright © Gibson, Del 2021
Michael D. Kellett
Upon a bitter dream, we live
A mountain echo we become
A shadow of what once we were
With nothing left to give
We stand upon a silent shore
The seagulls lofted high above
In a daydream, stance w idle there
While we do ignore
But soon we’re called to wakefulness
To strange sights never seen before
We fight and struggle mightily
And try and pass the test
All dream worlds always have their place
And oftentimes we must escape
To rest our tired and weary mind
And slow our driving haste,
But always we must ready be
For life is full of twists and turns
And any road we’re forced to take
Cannot be driven idly
Life isn’t full of red roses in bloom
It is not a game won by chance
And nothing worthwhile is ever done
If left to happenstance
Bumps on life’s roadway aren’t smoothed with a wish
And mountains aren’t climbed by a dream
An effort is needed for things great and small
And all of those things in between
Never a job will be started and done
If you think that you do not know how
And everything takes on a satisfying hue,
With a measure of sweat on the brow
Peace on Earth
“Peace on earth and goodwill toward men,”
The angel was heard to say
The message, alas, has now been lost
Discarded along our way,
Man is on a mission from which he can’t turn,
A mission too much in demand
As he works and works for brand new ways,
To kill his fellow man
Is all our hope gone in this fast-paced world?
Have things worked out for the good?
Could we right the things we know are wrong
If we did the things we should?
Or are we all doomed to our selfishness
As we rush headlong into the day?
And are we not guilty of stabbing wounds
When we don’t watch the things we say?
Answers don’t come from the TV set
Or from the writer’s pen
The angel said, “Peace on earth,
Peace and goodwill toward men.”
Sunset of Red Roses
By Rebeca Aguila
Beautiful nevertheless, thorny. The color of love, beauty, affection, and passion. What could this elegant yet delicate flower symbolize? A secret? Romance? A secret lover, perhaps? Woe is for me to let my mind wander in this manner. A rose can be mysterious yet compelling to the eye of the beholder. The colorful perfume of an exquisite and impeccable blossom infusing the timeless fragrance of a classy as well as dashing floret. Touching a petal from this fragile flower is magical. In the aspect of cloth, it feels as if you were wrapped in a silky cotton, hugging you like a summer breeze. Whenever someone sees a red bloom, what they hear? Robins singing? Paint doused on a canvas? A heart beating? To me, a rose means everything to me
KAREN RACHEL KENNEDY
What's it going to take to help you fight the blues,
Where in your mind, it's a snooze, & all you do is lost;
To fairy dust up your nose, it's ruining your life, a prisoner to the booze, which invokes the coke, & all you do is cruise;
From day to night, night to day,
It's all a blur, your heart is bare.
You're caught up in a snare,
A victim in despair;
When are you going to wake up,
To the people who really care,
While you kill all of your dreams,
Buried inside your screams;
You're only fooling yourself,
The coke has got you trapped.
While life is passing you by,
I wonder what makes you cry,
Not the fact that your kids are sad,
Where is our dear Dad;
Or your brother whose heart is aching,
For the brother who is forsaking,
The love & care he needs,
While the inside of your heart just bleeds,
For a time when life was bliss,
Don't you miss a tender kiss;
All I can do is pray, while your life's in disarray.
But you need real help now darling,
Pushing us away is not the answer for today;
Do I send this verse to you,
You can make fun of this, it's true.
But the person you're hurting the most is simply, only you;
So reach down deep inside, let go of your precious pride.
coz that ain't gonna help you much, you've got to get back in touch,
And face reality today, because life's too precious for you to stay.
in an addicted world that's fueled with fear.
Because the coke has made you steer,
Into a world of madness, sadness & mayhem,
You know it's time for help; you need a safe haven;
But it's up to you it's true, there's only so much we can do, while you deny the facts,
It's not too late to get off this beaten track;
But I fear for you, it's true, how can your body renew,
when day after day, you deny, while we can all hear, your heartbreaking cries;
By the silence that's so pervasive, your absence is not persuasive.
for it shows us all, it's true, we all know you feel so blue;
So reach out for us, we're here,
we care so much, it's clear,
But only you can take the first step. I know it's the barrier that's left;
but you know how life is for living, take a leap of faith, otherwise, the coke will start it's killing,
For you have much to do, start realizing it's true.
Then maybe life can help you too, on a better path that's new, I pray you take it too!
By Dhananjay Singh
Love is a string of emotions.
Love runs in nerves with strong vibrations.
Sometimes love hurts.
At other times, love bursts.
Remember that love never ends.
All lifelong love sustains.
People ask why do we love?
Friends, this is the Twenty-First Century.
Emotions are fake.
And love is imperfect.
THE CLIFF OF DEATH – by Del Gibson
Flying through a cloud of emptiness,
soft shadows of dark caress
my solo flight is becoming
the sweet solitude enriching
the pale glow enchanting.
Along a path of glass, I walk
lonely as a stranger in the night
and as lost as a blind man in the light
yet I have chosen to walk this path alone.
On a journey to pure simplicity,
stumbling gently on sands of fire
shall I stand on the ground so warm and familiar?
to stand on these legs would surely mean
that I will be walking alone again.
To wither like the autumn leaf
portrays a picture of satisfaction
I stand upon feet of clay
through a sprinkle of sunset dust
upon the never-ending road of desert stones
silently gathering frostbitten memories
of how grand life once was
and how beautiful it should have been.
Inside, we carried
two different seas
But when my palms
clenched your fingers,
our tides were
found in each other's