January 13, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Michael Lee Johnson



Arctic Chill North



Alberta arctic chill freezes my life in exile.

North Saskatchewan River crystallizes froze thick.

My life entomb 10 years here, prairie path, those thorns,

a hundred threats US government, border checks run further north.

I stand still in exile, live my life in mixture of colors, lone wolf, tangerine moons,

hang nail in this corner of my bachelor suite sleep for years.

I close down curtains on this chapter with an amnesty agreement, a pledge.

I close down this sunspace, northern lights,

files I never burn draft card I never toss away.

Thieves, dawn passion, pack up start home tonight.

This hell hangs on my head passes to a hallo, child, dream, and murders.

Let this flicker between notes and years die ignore spaces and pass.

Radio sounds, in my car, my ears, and blast old tunes

on my way back home, Indiana 1,728 miles away.







Old Hens and Young Folks



Why do old hens cry-

socialize in familiar doctor offices.

The smell and the scent of times unchanged.

Those medical lab tests, the slap on bandages;

those stale magazines, edges folded back, undeclared ownership.

Seek nuclei redemption in prayer books of the New Testament.

I find them there beside me in seated chairs-and wheelchairs that roll.

Why do old hens cry?

Those berries and nuts buried beneath their dentures.

Bingo dancers, Wednesday bingo players,

the old hens read books, the young folks

handheld iPad wallet size,

space readers, internet of the universe unfolds.







Barely a Portrait, Images, Transitions

(Niles High School, Niles, Michigan)



You will find her here blowing soap bubbles,

chewing gum cigars, old time candy and toy ass radio player.

Sara is still a cheerleader in mind,

chest player beast bare in pink station wagon,

front seats laded back.

Everything exposed was pink in 1965, popular.

Everyone high up was chest player academically,

low-end checker players were at miniature golf,

beneath blankets at US 31 outdoor theaters.

High school is a status golden whore passing daily in the hallways.

Sara flute blower in narrow dark and stashed in lover’s lane,

the Junior prom never ended, the Senior prom never began.

Shades off, make-up smeared past midnight, broken gold chains, class rings lost,

class sweaters returned to sender, address unknown,

sex a touch and feel, poetic review, times.







Crossing the Border Divide



Crossing that Canadian line on a visitor pass,

that stretch across the border divide,

that makes a torn war wound, torn man free.

It made my feet new away from cinder on fresh grass.

Back home the sirens of war keep sounding off.

All us wearing the new/old bloodstains,

poetry images of erections of WW2, a real war.

Dirty hands your memories, red white and blue justifications, hell.

Who does not have memories, habits 1 or at least 2-

bad cinder charcoal in the dark flame.

September is early in Canada in October.

Leaves fall early swirling in the North,

October but at least the bullets cease.

Cast a poem you likely died in Vietnam come back wounded.

Come back home, alive and you likely live life, die wounded.

Here comes again the thunder, the rain, lightening,

war bore.

Crossing a border divide.






Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author’s website http://poetryman.mysite.com/. Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day and Chicago Poems. He also has over 83 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.


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