‘Chicago Street Preacher’ and other poems by Michael Lee Johnson
By: Michael Lee Johnson
Chicago Street Preacher (V4)
server of the Word,
pamphlet whore, hand out
fanatic of sidewalk vocals,
banjo strummer, seeker of coins,
crack cocaine and salvation within notes.
Camper on 47th from Ashland
to California promoting his
penniless life, gospel forever
Kingdom drifter here comes your reward.
Fig Tree (V2)
Fig tree, fruit to all those
come and gone,
stare down your branches
with your human eyes:
God give us this day;
children chatter on sidewalks,
In the forest, construction men
cut the wood, make naked landscapes-
strong men, strong lives.
We all stop to contemplate
Next life I will be a little higher up the pecking order.
No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes
or Ricky’s All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.
I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs. Crickets don’t bother me.
Swamp flies don’t bother me–I eat them. Alligators I avoid.
I urinate on lily pads, mate across borders and continents at will.
Someone else from India can wash my dishes for me.
Forward all complaints to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
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.