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Four Poems
by Michael Lee Johnson



Old Men Walk Funny (V2)


Old men walk funny with shadows and time eating at their heels.

Pediatric walkers, prostate exams, bend over, then most die.

They grow poor, leave their grocery list at home,

and forget their social security checks bank account numbers,

dwell on whether they wear dentures, uppers or lowers;

did they put their underwear on?

They can’t remember where they put down their glasses,

did they drop them on memory lane U.S. Route 66?

Was it watermelon wine or drive in movies they forgot their virginity in?

Hammered late evenings alone bottle up Mogen David wine madness

mixed with diet 7-Up, all moving parts squeak and crack in unison.

At night, they scream in silent dreams no one else hears,

they are flapping jaws sexual exchange with monarch butterfly wings.

Old men walk funny to the barbershop with gray hair, no hair;

sagging pants to physical therapy.

They pray for sunflowers above their graves,

a plot that bears their name with a poem.

They purchase their burial plots, pennies in a jar for years,

beggar's price for a deceased wife.

Proverb:  in this end, everything that was long at one time is now passive,

or cut short. Ignore us old moonshiners, or poets that walk funny,

"they aren't hurting anyone anymore."



a line, (a short blue one)


Just Because, Bad Heart


Just because I am old

do not tumble me dry.

Toss me away with those unused

Wheat pennies, Buffalo nickels, and Mercury dimes

in those pickle jars in the basement.

Do not bleach my dark memories

Salvation Army my clothes

to the poor because I died.

Do not retire me leave me a factory pension

in dust to history alone.

Save my unfinished poems refuse to toss them

into the unpolished alleyways of exile rusty trash barrows

just outside my window, just because I am old.

Do not create more spare images, adverbs

or adjectives than you need to bury me with.

Do not stand over my grave, weep,

pouring a bottle of Old Crow

bourbon whiskey without asking permission

if it can go through your kidney’s first.

When under stone sod I shall rise and go out

in my soft slippers in cold rain

dread no danger, pick yellow daffodils,

learn to spit up echoes of words

bow fiddle me up a northern Spring storm.

Do you bad heart, see in pine box of wood,

just because I got old.



a line, (a short blue one)



Canadian Seasons

Exiled Poet


Walking across the seasons in exile

in worn out house slippers, summer in Alberta prairies-

snowshoes, cross-country skiing winter in Edmonton, Alberta.

I'm man captured in Canadian wilderness, North Saskatchewan River.

I embrace winters of this north call them mercy killers.

Exiled now 10 years here I turn rain into thunder,

days into loneliness, recuperate loss relationships into memories.

I'm warrior of the trade of isolation, crucifier of seasons

hang torment on their limbs.

Ever changing words shifting pain to palette fall colors and art.

I'm tiring of Gestalt therapy, being In and Out the Garbage Pail.

I'm no longer an Aristotelian philosopher seeking catharsis.

My Jesus is in a vodka bottle soaked with lime, lemon juice and disco dancing.

Pardon amnesty I'm heading south beneath border back to USA-

to revise the old poems and the new, create the last anthology,

open then close the last chapter,

collected works before the big black box.

I'm no longer peripatetic, seasons past.



a line, (a short blue one)



Injured Shadow (V3)


In nakedness of life moves

this male shadow worn out dark clothes,

ill fitted in distress, holes in his socks, stretches,

shows up in your small neighborhood,


walks pastime naked with a limb

in open landscape space-

damn those worn out black stockings.

He bends down prays for dawn, bright sun.




a line, (a blue one)


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