MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON - POEMS
Virus in the Air, Spasms in my Back
There's a virus in the air, but I can't see it.
People are dying around me, but I can't save them.
There are spikes pierced in my back,
spasms, but I can't touch them.
Heartbeats, hell pulsating, my back muscles,
I covet in my prayers.
I turn right to the left, in my bed, then hang still.
Nails impaled, I bleed hourly,
Jesus on that cross.
Now 73 years of age, my half-sister 92,
told me, "getting old isn't for sissies."
I didn't believe her--
until the first mimic words
out of "Kipper" my new parakeet's mouth,
sitting in his cage alone were
"Daddy, it's not easy being green."
Leaves in December
Leaves, a few stragglers in
December, just before Christmas,
some nailed down crabby
to ground frost,
some crackled by the bite
of nasty wind tones.
Some saved from the matchstick
that failed to light.
Some saved from the rake
by a forgetful gardener.
For these few freedom dancers
left to struggle with the bitterness:
move you are frigid
bodies shaking like icicles
hovering but a jiffy in the sky,
kind of sympathetic to the seasons,
reluctant to permanently go, rustic,
not much time more to play.
It’s going to rain tonight, thunder.
I’m going to lead the group tonight talking
about Rational Emotive Therapy,
belief challenges thought change,
Dr. Albert Ellis.
I’m a hero in my self-worship,
self-infused patient of my pain,
thoughtful, probabilistic atheism
with a slant toward Jesus in private.
Rules roll gently creeping
through my body with arthritis
a hint of mental pain.
Sitting in my 2001 Chevy S-10 truck,
writing this poem, late as usual.
It’s going to rain, thunder