Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, IL. Mr. Johnson published in more than 925 small press magazines online and print. His poems have appeared in 27 countries as of this date, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites, with over 96 videos on YouTube. Michael Lee Johnson, was nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, and Best of the Net, 2016.
The Seasons and the Slants (V2)
I live my life inside my patio window.
It’s here, at my business desk I slip
into my own warm pajamas and slippers-
seek Jesus, come to terms
with my own cross and brittle conditions.
Outside, winter night turns to winter storm,
the blue jay, cardinal, sparrows and doves
go into hiding, away from the razor whipping winds,
behind willow tree bare limb branches-
they lose their faces in somber hue.
Their voices at night abbreviate
and are still, short like Hemingway sentences.
With this poetic mind, no one cares
about the seasons and the slants
the wind or its echoes.
Iranian Poetry Lady (V2)
The first time I saw your face, cosmetic images, dust, dirt, determination
fell across your exiled face. Coal smoke lifted with your simple words and short poems.
Your meaning drawn across a black board of past, rainbows, future
fragment, still in the shadows.
Muhammad, Jesus twins, only one forms a halo alone.
One screams love, drips candle wax, lights life, shakes, love.
I encrust your history in the Ginkgo tree, deliverance.
I wrap in the branches the whispers in your ears a new beginning.
I am the landscape of your future walk soft peddle on green grass.
I will take you there. I am your poet, your lead, freedom clouds move over then on.
I review no spelling, grammar errors; I lick your envelope, finish, stamp place on.
Down with age I may go, but I offer this set of angel wings I purchased at a thrift store.
I release you in south wind, storms, and warm in spring, monarch butterflies.
Your name scribbles in gold script.
Night, mysteries, follow handle, your own.
Sundown, Fall (V2)
Fall, everything is turning yellow and golden.
No wind, Indian summer, bright day,
wind charms with Indian enchantment,
last brides marry before first snowfall,
grass growth slows down, retreats,
bushes cut back with chills, retreats,
haven of the winter grows legs, strong,
learns baby steps, pushes itself
up slowly against my patio door, freezes,
and says, “soon, soon, Spring I’ll be there.”
Winter is sweeping up what is left of fall,
making room for shorter day's longer nights.
I hear the echoes of the change of seasons,
until next sundown sunflowers grow.
Coastal warm breeze
off Santa Monica, California
the sun turns salt
shaker upside down
and it rains white smog, humid mist.
No thunder, no lightening,
nothing else to do
forward into liquid
into eternal days
Common Church Poem (V4)
Sitting here in this pew
splinters in my butt
I spend hours in silent prayer.
I beg Jesus for a quiet life.
Breathing here is so serene.
Sounds of vespers, so beautiful
dagger, so alone, unnoticed.
You can hear Saints
clear their eardrums
Q-Tips cleanse mine.
I hear their scandals
I review mine.
If I Were Young Again (V3)
Piecemeal summer dies:
long winter spreads its blanket again.
For ten years I have lived in exile,
locked in this rickety cabin, shoulders
jostled up against open Alberta sky.
If I were young again, I’d sing of coolness of high
mountain snow flowers, sprinkle of night glow-blue meadows;
I would dream and stretch slim fingers into distant nowhere,
yawn slowly over endless prairie miles.
The grassland is where in summer silence grows;
in evening eagles spread their wings
dripping feathers like warm honey.
If I were young again, I’d eat pine cones, food of birds,
share meals with wild wolves;
I’d have as much dessert as I wanted,
reach out into blue sky, lick the clouds off my fingertips.
But I’m not young anymore and my thoughts tormented
are raw, overworked, sharpened with misery
from torture of war and childhood.
For ten years now I've lived locked in this unstable cabin,
inside rush of summer winds,
outside air beaten dim with snow.
Flight of the Eagle
From the dawn, dusty skies
comes the time when
the eagle flies-
without aid of wind,
like a kite detached without string,
the eagle in flight leaves no traces,
no trails, no roadways-
never a feather drops
out of the sky.