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 1032 publications, his poems have appeared in 37 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 163 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 available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089. Michael is also editor-in-chief of Warriors with Wings, a smaller anthology due for release in early summer 2018.
Leonard Cohen My Friend (V2)
Death is a bitch and a whore
comes with hat on or off,
Jewish, Christian or lover years ago called Nancy.
Death is a passport, a left behind baggage note.
My leverage sinks, I see you pass human.
These my fears, your fright, being broke, old-royalties stole Suzanne.
Now branches, extended limbs, point outward nowhere-
doors Montreal collapse tomb, dance with me,
end perfume love, a few dead flowers.
Restless Hawk (V2)
The angels of wings are always in flight
be the devil or archangel Michael.
I'm a hawk, I'm a night owl night
barroom flights, fighter,
seeing eyes that eye me contact,
not blind, a rhythm of sensuality.
I take my shower, deep breath,
scrub good off my skin, breathe
in the single night, air alone.
These shadows highway unknown
Jesus crosses my night path
Jesus crosses my sky early morn
with a paintbrush, a rainbow
and a promise when
I wake a new dream begins.
Single life is a barroom bitch.
Lorie, you want to see me clearly
through this joy of my naked body
avoiding the sweat of my emotions,
just breathing on my neck
rubbing this baseline of my groin-
will not find us here again.
Go away, leave me thinking
louder than your breath-
body moves quietly
in a lazy sway of indifference.
Classic 70's Chick (V2)
Classic 70's chick
scent of these times
gold digger want to be.
Poet & scholar stuck on
T.S. Eliot “The Waste Land.”
She tracks down a few stray men,
prospect hunks, & greenback dreams.
Her long legs stretched out
beneath this dinette table, these
high wooden heels hang out
@ Dusty, Dingy Bar & Grill.
She's drenched-Charlie by Revlon 1973,
high hopes 4 sugar daddies,
fragile body, insecure but lean.
She wears that hot apple, sex red, jumpsuit.
That yellow bandana hangs
around her neck lowered downtown
below her bosom with a grin.
Her head stuff, insulated with cotton candy dreams
cramped in a Chinese fortune cookie aphorism.
G-String strung up itching @ her buttocks
positioned in spot her world for a change.
In action verbs flow,
this dance, these melodies,
Walt Disney world,
her magic pen, her ink that flows.
just a preview of love,
an edge of
chip an edge off
They-lovers, find themselves
near evening bush fire-
great seal fish and open lake,
so wonderful there-
where she comes from,
where did she go to
Jim Zola is a poet and photographer living in North Carolina.
Your Other Life
What does it matter what reality is outside myself – Baudelaire
You want to live your other life in a room
with blue bottles, where the light outside
is understood, where words filter through the blueness
and cover you with a new kind of need.
My Last Poem
Fuck nostalgia and its bony fingers
stroking my wrist like a lover.
I once pined
about a time
when everything I owned
fit in my car.
Now our days move
like invisible freight trains.
I count them and then
I've stopped writing poems again.
There's war. but that's not the reason.
Debt - should I die today
they'll bury me in it.
Perhaps health and love so casually mulched,
or the dexterity of greater wit.
Sometimes I can understand
the sad fabric that floats
like chaotic lace.
Other times I know one word
is too much.
The Children’s Crusade
Jon Etter is a writer and teacher living in the American Midwest. His works have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Entombed In Verse: An Epitaph for Salem, Uncommon Lands, and Tales of the Once and Future King, and his first novel, an all-ages comedy/fantasy entitled A Dreadful Fairy Book, is due out November 6, 2018 (Election Day!) from Amberjack Publishing. For more information about Jon and his work, feel free to visit him on the web at www.jonetter.com.
A Study in Winter
A blank canvas.
Shadows of smoke from a nearby chimney
Begin to drift in ever-shifting patterns
Up and over and away, up and over and away,
Purple-blue swirls from an unseen brush.
A gaggle of geese gracefully descends;
Webbed feet hatch the field with white-on-white.
Their huddled forms dot a far corner
With pleasingly asymmetrical daubs of black, tan, and gray.
Yet paradoxically full,
his rough sculptor’s hands freed me,
shaped me into a flawless form
to love, to pamper, to worship:
free of all the “vices” and “flaws” of my sex,
which he despised.
He put me on a pedestal.
And for his passion and his silent prayers
(and unmitigated misogyny),
the Goddess of Love made me flesh
and gave me
And now that I am alive
I am filled with fear.
What if his critical eye
finds some overlooked flaw?
What if time steals too much
of the beauty that would have been eternally preserved
by cold marble?
What if, now that I am truly alive,
a woman of flesh and blood and mind,
what I say or do displeases?
What if, in his eyes,
like all the rest of my sex,
I am found wanting?
I often wish some other goddess,
one not made of sea-foam and blood and semen,
one who valued respect or kindness or equality
instead of erotic obsession
had heard his prayers.
What reward would he have received from her hand?
And what would she have made of me?
Would I have been free to leave,
my own woman instead of his,
to teach him the price
of possessiveness and unreasonable, uncharitable expectations?
Or would I have been allowed to continue to sleep
and dream cold, hard dreams
in unyielding marble flesh?
O Goddesses, grant my prayers!
If I must be an object, let me be as I was:
If enslavement rather than freedom be my lot,
free me at least from knowledge of it.
My Minor Exigencies
nags for what it needs. Nails
uncut, my fingers oblige, pawns
of the mind that yields. In the cold
shower, the strong soap stings
the claw-marks down my skin.
But it’s superficial. I’ll be fine
in an hour or two. Won’t deny me
sleep. Another epidermal irritation,
and I’d do it again. I look forward
to your warmth tonight. Won’t ask
where you’ve been. You know
that I take tenderness in lieu
of truth. Sometimes. Some nights.
When the body, not knowledge,
draws out my docile claws.
My Bedroom Door
To have heard, bat-like, the reluctant creaks as mousy squeaks,
and discerned the protracted countdown of the staccato ticks,
and thus avoided the hand that alternatingly turned the key
and pushed the lock (habitually till finally).
If I only knew that this hinged piece of wood sufficed
to mechanize, magnify, and measure
all departures and temporary tenures,
clasped around your neck,
or being within the confines of a barrel:
Dawn, and I witness
dew on leaf gasp,
tremble, upon formation.
Now, the winding river
slackens its current and moans,
pleads, to overcast sky
for more clearings, more hues of blue,
to breathe, to sigh...
A Den of Mannequins
Neither musical statues/
There's only music
and statues: no dance.
And they remain frozen,
whether the music plays
SECRETS IN DEATH
But when I think about you
And miss nobody but you
I fall in love with my tears
Because every drop owns
A scent of times we shared
I adore talking to your shade
That I could create it nearby
Your tomb that ends our love
Tonight, I will pull the trigger
To fold our romantic story for
No reason and burn the pictures
This life can’t bring you back
A lover like me suffer till death
And jokers will still ignore me
My poetry is not readable cause
My wounds are growing up and
I’m the young and drunk sailor
Sailing over my blood and tears
Witnesses see me and never give
Me a napkin to feel the blessings
I will finish drinking my aches and
Get myself drunk with a bit of pain
Maybe, I shall smoke a cigar to die
Like a homeless on the dirty street
Nor like my poor grandpa who died
In his house alone by the dusty bed.
O God why I’m suffering with a broken
Heart that beats like a weeping clown
Let today be a greatest day to breathe
Life and forgive all haters and forgive
The cause why do I feel powerless with
Or without someone to trust my keys with.
On my own with cold hands
By the car lights and terrific
Yet, you are still in my mind
Nobody wants to hear me
People are busy with their own
Daily routine and bit of problems
And I'm weeping for missing you
The winds blow lots of leaves
And the autumn clouds drop rain
With lovers dance under the moonlight
While I'm singing to all the stars
The street gets less busy and
Kids' sleep on grandparents, old tales
Meanwhile, I'm drawing of your perfume
And smiling from your smiles in pictures
I prepare myself a warm cup of tea
With a few cigarettes left in the pack
I smoke and write about the days we loved
I warm my lips to recall your words
One thing keeps me stronger is that
You are in paradise and it feels good too
See you beautiful without makeup nor
Tears from all the years I waited to kiss you
THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS
The purest air is now toxoid
My choices are quite down
I had to breath of the sinner
Since then I am always wrong
Visible mouths smoke cigars
Bring tears and dark bubbles
Cause I recall my father smoked
His suicide from the same pack
Of lung cancer that I shared with
Can't get enough spring below the
Lost garden and the blood of flowers
The woman who caused the moon
It's the first hostage and last destiny
In the road to the emergency room
Oprah drinks of the sweet water and
Dies and nobody stays by his dreams
The guns of Baghdad have chosen me
As the body deserves the death penalty
I wonder who moved my beats of my heart
I HAVE ONE KISS
Who offer me a religion in forgiveness
And peace with myself and to others
I am who I am I love you for the way
You are and not the way others judge
You for the freedom of speech they own
I have one kiss to the running tears
For making some of my dreams true
For offering me a beautiful woman
Who taught me a lot about myself
Who showed me the realistic me
And stopped me from digging a hole
I have one kiss to my lifetime queen
For making the rain into a symbol for
Bliss and blessings and not a day worth
My death and creating above my mind
A little daughter running 'tween the borders
Of Guatemala and Iraq happy forever
I have one kiss to the writer about love
For making him into a sweet and pure
Tree with green branches and loving
Fruits to taste and making alcohol to
Drink all the leaves to get drunk later
And wake up with a bigger sunny smile
I have one kiss to the sea of no regrets
And mini kisses to the grain of salt in it
Who help the refugees to sail safer and
alive to a greater land to their little kids
And adults as well, and leave their worth
To start a life facing the face of racism
I have one kiss to the church and temple
For letting me praying to my God without
Holding weapons behind my head with a
Question if I am Christian, Jew or Muslim
And accepting me the way I am myself and
Didn't ask me questions to change my believe
He has a bachelor's degree in statistics with a minor in mathematics from SUNY at Buffalo (UB).
It affects her greatly,
Through relationships and holding a job,
Mental illness is real,
It took her a while to understand this,
Her life is different now,
She spends most of her time alone,
Most people don't understand her,
People are hard to figure out,
She will continue on with her life,
She is unemployed,
She writes a lot and goes with the flow,
Disability is what she has as an income,
Illnesses affect people differently,
This is the case for this woman,
Time will continue,
Her life will continue forward, too,
This is bipolar,
This is her illness,
There is nothing more to add,
I wish her well and hope for a better tomorrow as well.
Would we need a military, if creationism was true?
Would the military be needed if God really cared about us?
For that matter, does God even exist?
Look at all of the tragedies in the world,
You see it in the news a lot,
Or even personal experiences,
The military is needed for extreme cases,
Yet, I never see God or Jesus swoop from the sky to help out,
Not even an iota,
People still believe in this stuff,
Yet, wars happen and all kinds of mass destruction,
To me, creationism is chock full of stories,
None of it is true,
Let's face it, we will always need a military,
For human problems and the weather disasters,
Yet, God keeps being spread to us,
Again, believe in what you want,
This is all you can do,
Humans love problems,
You can't change humans,
Look at the schools and what comes out of there,
This is just how it is,
The bullying is rampant in schools,
Yet, no real changes,
We as humans need to be better,
By spreading goodness,
Creationism is brainwashing to many extremes,
Take care for now and just go down a path you feel is great and carry on.
Imagine if life did exist in heaven
Imagine if life did really look upon us,
Imagine how greater the world would be,
No crime or poverty,
No wars or destruction,
Natural disasters being taken care,
Maybe, just maybe world peace,
It is great to fantasize,
But realistically, this will never happen,
People are brainwashed into believing in fantasies,
We live in a world of rules and regulations,
This is how it is and will always be,
People, in general, are warlike, barbaric, devious and ignorant,
This is really how it is,
Believe in what you want,
It is a free world for the most part,
Yet, these bad things will continue,
Take care and spread goodness,
Try to be nice, I emphasize, the trying part,
You are forced into things in life
You are forced into things,
Dealing with relatives,
Even making friends at a limited level in school,
I hated high school,
It made no sense to me whatsoever,
Think about college for a moment,
People that wouldn't give you the time of day,
Suddenly want to be friends if you see them in college,
This depends where you go,
I could never have kids,
The world is not a warm place to many,
Yet, if you go on Facebook, everyone has a great life,
It is life a fantasy on there,
I find it like me having a one night stand with Snow White,
Think all you want to about this,
There are no right answers,
Being good is a lot better than religion,
And as I have said before, carpe diem.
She has penned around 43 poems. Writing comes naturally to her as she set her foot in the world of literature. Some of her short stories and poems were published in some newspapers like The Hindu, Bangalore City Plus, Kannada Prabha and periodicals.
or the shower of gifts from the heavens up high.
Either way, I am in love with the rain,
since it helps so many creatures who are thirsty or in pain.
I agree that it stops the fall of sunshine onto the ground,
but doesn’t it light up people’s lives and keep them sound.
The rains are so diligent for they travel high and low.
They condense to form fog and freeze to form snow.
Rains fill up vast oceans with pure water
so much that no scientist could measure with a meter.
Well then, do tell me a reason why some people complain,
when such a wonderful art of nature falls down as rain.
and kills your kindness like a dart.
It brews and blends and kicks the walls.
It controls you as if you were a doll.
It hypnotises your mouth and your mind
into calling others deaf or blind.
It makes you think you’re doing the right thing
in spite of all the sadness you bring.
In fact, anger is not a big deal
unless you gobble it up as a mid-day meal.
You must learn to trap it in a can
and send it far away with the postman.
Then, you’ll find your life 10 times better
because you are now more caring than ever.
Is no longer mine
Now, who shall tend
To my lovely grape vine
I have no money,
No family, no home
Not enough friends
To take me to Rome
When I shiver
In the cold, starry night,
I smile at the sight
Of the warmth of the streetlight
I feel like
I am forever alone
While I lie on the road,
Hearing the dogs moan!
I love you.
I give you needed things,
Like food, water and pure air, too.
But you turn it into evil,
And let it affect you.
So what should I do?
Should I help you?
I’ll just give you a hint.
You are destroying two.
Not just you,
But me, too.
I just need a decision,
For this question:
Should I let you,
Destroy yourself and myself, too?
SEARCH FOR MUSIC
Found in every corner of the universe.
From the gushing of a waterfall,
To the tiniest cricket chirps.
I find music in a baby's cry
And in the pan when I fry.
Even in the jingling of a wind chime
And the tick-tock of the clock when I check the time.
I find music in the rain pattering,
And in the Sunday church bells chiming.
I even find music in silence,
Where it ought not to be.
ADAM LEVON BROWN
CARL "PAPA" PALMER
CAROL LYNNE KNIGHT
J D TREJO-MAYA
KJ HANNAH GREENBERG
LOIS GREENE STONE
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON
RENEE B. DRUMMOND - BROWN
ROBIN WYATT DUNN