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Poet Staggers Cancels Out the Dark by Michael Lee Johnson

Poet Staggers Cancels Out the Dark

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.

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 313 plus YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 46 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 7 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 653 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups.

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