width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Michael Lee Johnson


Tiny Sparrow Feet

It's calm.
Too quiet.
My clear plastic bowl
serves as my bird feeder.
I don't hear the distant
scratching, shuffling
of tiny sparrow feet,
the wing dances, fluttering, of a hungry
morning's lack of the big band sounds.
I walk tentatively to my patio window,
spy the balcony with detective sensitive eyes.
I witness three newly hatched
toddler sparrows, curved nails, mounted
deep, in their mother's dead, decaying back.
Their childish beaks bent over elongated,
delicately, into golden chips, and dusted yellow corn.

 2008 Michael Lee Johnson

I Trip on My Poems

In the night when poems
are born, I search for no one
but the hidden words.
Conjunctions are just meeting places
like personal ads for wild women.
Even my lady friend criticizes me
for being uncreative, disconnected,
a time degenerate.
The secrets stretch inside my metaphors, I can't find them all.
I miss spell check;
grammar is a liar;
syntax is drug substance I refuse
to understand.
I'm a trouble-free minded poet
with the training of an uncultivated monster;
I chew on my experiences, go back to the prey, 
the kill, usually alone and spit.
But I have no sense of formality.
Even near my tender moments
when the images blossom into rain 
flowers I trip on stems cut my way lose to nowhere.
I go there to see what I can find.

 2008 Michael Lee Johnson

No One is Here

I walk in a poem
late at night that sings no sober song,
no lyrics for the living,
toss in a few lines for the dead.
It fetters my anger
with hostility and sticky jam between
my toes and worn out shoes.
I find myself walking 2300 Western
Avenue in Chicago at 3 A.M. 
like a damn dummy; 
thinking of Mayor Daley's sales tax proposals,
lack of health care in this country 
unlike anywhere else free in the world, 
and some boxers who shoplifted some goods
out of Marshal Fields department store 
earlier in the evening- 
no one is here to spit at me,
to fist my face in brick, 
or steal my wallet silly, 
or my car keys or jiggle 
coins out of my jean pockets.
Disgusting, it hangs,
it beats metal drums in my ears
Over and over, like a pistol going off.
Loneliness is an elbow plunged
in one's ribcage at night.
I get in my car, bruised,
go home-
wait for God,
sprinkle prays
for the fairy dust
of healing.
Go about, the next day,
my crusades for the world.
No one is here.

 2008 Michael Lee Johnson

About the Poet:

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, and freelance writer. He is self-employed in advertising, and selling custom promotional products. He is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom, http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46091-7. He has also published two chapbooks of poetry. He is also nominated for the James B. Baker Award in poetry, Sam's Dot Publishing. He is a contributor in the Silver Boomers poetry anthology about aging baby boomers, by Silver Boomer Books. Michael Lee Johnson presently resides in Itasca, Illinois, United States. He lived in Canada during the Vietnam era and will be published as a contributor poet in the anthology Crossing Lines: Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era publication scheduled for early 2008. He has been published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Turkey, Fuji, Nigeria, Algeria, Africa, India, United Kingdom, Republic of Sierra Leone, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia.

Visit his website at: http://poetryman.mysite.com/. He is now the publisher, editor of Poetic Legacy, http://www.poetriclegacy.mysite.com/; and Birds By My Window: Willow Tree Poems at, http://birdsbywindow.blogspot.com/; and A Tender Touch & A Shade of Blue: http://atendertouch.blogspot.com/. All publications are now open for submissions. Audio MP3 of poems, of Mr. Johnson, are available on request.