Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Two poems by Michael Lee Johnson

Two poems
by Michael Lee Johson

Gingerbread Lady

Gingerbread lady,
no sugar or cinnamon spice;
years ago arthritis and senility took their toll.
Crippled mind moves in then out, like an old sexual adventure
blurred in an imagination of fingertip thoughts.
Who in hell remembers the characters?
There was George, her lover, near the bridge at the Chicago River:
she missed his funeral; her friends were there.
She always made feather-light of people dwelling on death,
but black and white she remembers well.
The past is the present; the present is forgotten.
Who remembers Gingerbread Lady?
Sometimes lazy-time tea with a twist of lime,
sometimes drunken-time screwdriver twist with clarity.
She walks in scandals; sometimes she walks in soft night shoes.

Her live-in maid smirks as Gingerbread Lady gums her food,
false teeth forgotten in a custom-imprinted cup
with water, vinegar, and ginger.
The maid died. Gingerbread Lady looks for a new maid.
Years ago, arthritis and senility took their toll.
Yesterday, a new maid walked into the nursing home.
Ginger forgot to rise out of bed;
no sugar, or cinnamon toast.


Charley Plays a Tune

Crippled with arthritis
and Alzheimer's,
in a dark rented room
Charley, plays
melancholic melodies
on a dust filled
harmonica he
found abandoned
on a playground of sand
years ago by a handful of children
playing on monkey bars.
He now goes to the bathroom on occasion,
peeing takes forever; he feeds the cat when
he doesn't forget where the food is stashed at.
He hears bedlam when he buys fish at the local market
and the skeleton bones of the fish show through.
He lies on his back riddled with pain,
pine cones fill his pillows and mattress;
praying to Jesus and rubbing his rosary beads
Charley blows tunes out his
celestial instrument
notes float through the open window
touch the nose of summer clouds.
Charley overtakes himself with grief
and is ecstatically alone.
Charley plays a solo tune.

Author bio:

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, and freelance writer who has been published worldwide. He is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom, to be found at iUniverse. He is also nominated for the James B. Baker Award in poetry, by Sam's Dot Publishing. He lived in Canada during the Vietnam era and will be published as a contributor in the anthology Crossing Lines: Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era publication. Visit his website at: Poetry Man. Johnson is the publisher, editor of Poetric Legacy; Birds By My Window; A Tender Touch and a Shade of Blue; and Wizards of the Wind. All publications are now open for submissions.

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