Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Mystic Dahlia
—Photos by Stacey Jaclyn Morgan, Fair Oaks, CA

—Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL

The first time I saw your face, cosmetic images, dust, dirt, determination
fell across your exiled face.  Coal smoke lifted with your simple words and short poems.
Your meaning drawn across a black board of past, rainbows, future
fragment, still in the shadows.
Muhammad, Jesus twins, only one forms a halo alone.
One screams love, drips candle wax, lights life, shakes, love.
I encrust your history in the Ginkgo tree, deliverance.
I wrap in the branches the whispers in your ears a new beginning.
I am the landscape of your future walk, soft peddle on green grass.
I will take you there.  I am your poet, your lead, freedom clouds move over, then on.
I review no spelling, grammar errors; I lick your envelope, finish, stamp placed on.
Down with age I may go, but I offer this set of wings I purchased at a thrift store.
I release you in south wind, storms, and warm in spring, monarch butterflies.
Your name scribbles in gold script.
Night, mysteries, follow handle, your own.

Mystic Dahlia, Grapevine


—Michael Lee Johnson

A Métis lady, drunk—

hands folded, blanketed as in prayer

over a large brown fruit basket

naked of fruit, no vine, no vineyard

inside—approaches the Edmonton,

Alberta adoption agency.

There are only spirit gods

inside her empty purse.

Inside the basket, an infant,

restrained from life,

with a fruity winesap apple

wedged like a teaspoon

of autumn sun

inside its mouth.

A shallow pool of tears mounts
in his native baby blue eyes.

Snuffling, the mother offers

a slim smile, turns away.

She slithers voyeuristically

through near slum streets

and alleyways,

looking for drinking buddies

to share a hefty pint

of applejack wine.

 Achillea, Lavendula

—Michael Lee Johnson

I am tired of cheaters
online, weary-eyed crossword
players, complicated chest moves
drift dancers, lies, laid soft peddle,
shared pillow, dark closet dreamers.
Campaign gossip whispers,
infidelity, sex objects shoved up orifices
in open or private places.
Sex shops open late, consummation
nightclubs, cities dark corners.
Two doctrines of selfishness
you should know about
penises and affairs: most are short.
Flesh and fights, scabs, cheaters in the night.


—Michael Lee Johnson

You see me in the parking lot hobbling, avoiding cars.
I am that one-legged Canadian goose guest of the wild.
You toss me a handful of mixed birdfeed.
I am your morning wing flapper picking up leftovers
by sparrows, brown wing doves, yet grateful for charity.
I learn to survive dipped in red resister North then South
traveler, lifelong, mute to borders, I cross the line.
I thank you poet, bouquet, crossword flowers
gusty winds mix carnations.
Cheap, reasonable costs in depth, death, within religions,
tones of god Zeus, one space to Mary wept.
Those cheap carnations at the foot of the cross.
One-legged goose singled out.


—Loch Henson, Diamond Springs, CA

Time preened her long white

feathers, with a slightly iridescent

sheen, and took extra care with

the tips.

The business of taking over the

office from a man left her fatigued,

and the routine of grooming

was a familiar comfort.

She flexed her wings, and folded

them quietly behind her, 
them in until they were barely

noticeable at a casual glance.

That was her main advantage:

stealth.  It wasn’t until she was

in flight that you noticed she

even had them.


—Loch Henson

Assess the damage, and
bind what needs it. 

Repair what you can,
refer what you cannot
to someone with a more
specialized skill set.

Not all injuries are mortal
wounds, and some of the
most grievous harm can
be invisible.

Your job is triage.
The hours are long,
and remember to leave.

Artichoke Heart

—Loch Henson

It takes longer to write
than to read.

Letter.  Poem.  Book.  Scholastic text.
Social text. 

The equation stands.

What of the care with which
the recipient reads?

My words have been warped
and wrangled into unrecognizable
tangles of unintended messages.

I write with a particular intention,
which I seek to convey whole,
and yet there is always room

for unpredictable elements,
for the imagination of others,
to take as playground what I meant

as sacred space,
and vice versa.

 Oenathera silk

—Loch Henson

At a certain point,
the hearing of the teachings
becomes dull.  When I
refuse to walk in practice,
or resist accepting the
wisdom offered, I lose
my moment to apply
that which I have learned.

My path is not crowded.
There is more than enough
room for us to walk together.
Perhaps we can encourage
one another to embrace
that which we know to be helpful.

Walk with me, that the walking
may happen for both of us.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Michael Lee Johnson

From the dawn, dusty skies 

comes the time when 

the eagle flies— 

without thought, 

without aid of wind, 
like a kite detached without string, 

the eagle in flight leaves no traces, 

no trails, no roadways— 

never a feather drops 

out of the sky.


—Medusa, with thanks to Michael Johnson, Loch Henson, and Stacey Morgan for today’s hearty breakfast here in the Kitchen!

 (Anonymous Photo)
Celebrate poetry!

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