‘Ghost I Am’ and other poems
By Michael Lee Johnson
Ghost I Am
Here is a private hut
staring at me,
twigs & branches
over the top—
naked & alone.
I respond to an old 60s doo-wop
song: In the Still of the Night
Fred Parris and The Satins.
Storms are written in narratives,
old ears closed to a full hearing.
I’m but a shelter cringing.
In age, nightmare pre-warned redemption.
Let’s call it the Jesus factor,
not LGBT symbols in Biden’s world.
I lost my way close to the end.
Here is this shelter in heaven
poetry imagined spaces
prematurely still not all the words fit,
in childhood in abuse
lack of reason for bruises
rough hills, carp that didn’t bite,
and Schwinn bike rides
flat tires, chains fall off, spokes collapse—
this thunder, those storms.
Find me a thumbnail
image of myself in centuries of dust.
Stand weakened by nature
of change glossed over, sealed.
Old men, like a luxurious battery,
die hard, but with years, they
too, fade away.
Coastal warm breeze
off Santa Monica, California
the sun turns salt
shaker upside down
and it rains white smog, a humid mist.
No thunder, no lightening,
nothing else to do
except for sashay
forward into liquid
into eternal days
Four Leaf Clover
I found your life smiling
inside a four-leaf clover.
Here you hibernate in sin.
You were dancing in the orange fields of the sun.
You lock into your history, your past, withdrawal,
taste honeycomb, then cow salt lick.
All your life, you have danced in your soft shoes.
Find free lottery tickets in the pockets of poor men and strangers.
Numbers rhyme like winners, but they are just losers.
Positive numbers tug like gray blankets, poor horses coming in 1st.
Private angry walls; desperate is the night.
You control intellect, josser men.
You take them in, push them out,
circle them with silliness.
Everything turns indigo blue in grief.
I hear your voice, fragmented words in thunder.
An actress buried in degrees of lousy weather and blindness.
I leave you alone, wander the prairie path by myself.
Pray for wildflowers, the simple types. No one cares.
Purple colors, false colors, hibiscus on guard,
lilacs are freedom seekers, now no howls in death.
You are the cookie crumble of my dreams.
Three marriages in the past.
I hear you knocking my walls down, heaven stars creating dreams.
Once beautiful in the rainbow sun, my face, even snow
now cast in banners, blank, fire, and flames.
I cycle a self-absorbed nest of words.
Casket of Love
This moon, clinging to a cloudless sky,
offers the light by which we love.
In this park, grass knees high, tickling bare feet,
offers the place we pass pleasant smiles.
Sir Winston Churchill would have
saluted the stately manner this fog lifts,
marching in time across this pond
layering its ghostly body over us
cuddled by the water’s edge,
as if we are burdened by this sealed
casket called love.
Frogs in the marsh, crickets beneath the crocuses
trumpet the last farewell.
A flock of Canadian geese flies overhead
in military V formation.
Yet how lively your lips tremble
against my skin in a manner no
sane soldier dare deny.
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 294 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 45 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups.