Poet Staggers Cancels Out the Dark by Michael Lee Johnson

There is a poem in my heart
a stop-gap love that cancels
the chamber beats.
I can’t dismiss the cane I walk with
or the heavy, pounding heart, missing breath.
There are prayers of my past etched
in abuse that I delete pictures about—
my brain recycles ruminations.
I can’t delete beats or add them.
I’m waiting for the final fall—
when the gym whistle around my neck
from grade 8 basketball class squeals
out an Amber Alert for a dying old man.


They say I’m a poet, a word dabbler
dripping sap from an old maple tree—
tin can worshiper catching leftover sins.
I face the world left, head-on.
A shot of cheap vodka
drained from an 80 Proof-1.75 Liter—
lemon and lime juice mixed in reminds me
of Charles Bukowski’s mic and desk
beers lined up for consumption elongated
in order, on the table—
those L.A. Street whores, bitches,
fantasies of men past 60.


I can’t delete past swear words,
rearrange old events, distinguish
melody from harmony notes
at the Symphony Orchestra echoes
of poor past performances.


Let me gamble what’s left: aces, spades.
Joker is bankrupt, my crucified self.
Silence over spoken reflects
quietness nibbling of self.

About the Author

Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 46 countries or republics, a song lyricist with several published poetry books, nominated for 7 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. Over 313 YouTube poetry videos as of 05-2024.




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