by Michael Lee Johnson
no sugar or cinnamon spice;
years ago arthritis and senility took their toll.
Crippled mind moves in then out, like an old sexual adventure
blurred in an imagination of fingertip thoughts.
Who in hell remembers the characters?
There was George, her lover, near the bridge at the Chicago River:
she missed his funeral; her friends were there.
She always made feather-light of people dwelling on death,
but black and white she remembers well.
The past is the present; the present is forgotten.
Who remembers Gingerbread Lady?
Sometimes lazy-time tea with a twist of lime,
sometimes drunken-time screwdriver twist with clarity.
She walks in scandals; sometimes she walks in soft night shoes.
Her live-in maid smirks as Gingerbread Lady gums her food,
false teeth forgotten in a custom-imprinted cup
with water, vinegar, and ginger.
The maid died. Gingerbread Lady looks for a new maid.
Years ago, arthritis and senility took their toll.
Yesterday, a new maid walked into the nursing home.
Ginger forgot to rise out of bed;
no sugar, or cinnamon toast.
Rod Stroked Survival with a Deadly Hammer
by Michael Lee Johnson
Rebecca fantasized that life was a lottery ticket or a pull of a lever,
that one of the bunch in her pocket was a winner or the slots were a redeemer;
but life itself was not real that was strictly for the mentally insane at the Elgin
She gambled her savings away on a riverboat
stuck in mud on a riverbank, the Grand Victoria, in Elgin, Illinois.
Her bare feet were always propped up on wooden chair;
a cigarette dropped from her lips like morning fog.
She always dreamed of traveling, not nightmares.
But she couldn't overcome, overcome,
the terrorist ordeal of the German siege of Leningrad.
She was a foreigner now; she is a foreigner for good.
Her first husband died after spending a lifetime in prison
with stinging nettles in his toes and feet; the second
husband died of hunger when there were no more rats
to feed on, after many fights in prison for the last remains.
What does a poet know of suffering?
Rebecca has rod stroked survival with a deadly mallet.
She gambles nickels, dimes, quarters, tokens tossed away,
living a penniless life for grandchildren who hardly know her name.
Rebecca fantasized that life was a lottery ticket or the pull of a lever.
Bio: Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Ill. His brand new poetry chapbook with pictures, From Which Place the Morning Rises and his new photo version of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom is now available at: http://stores.lulu.com/promomanusa. He also has 2 previously published chapbooks available at: http://stores.lulu.com/poetryboy. The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found at: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46091-7
He has been published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Turkey, Fiji, Nigeria, Algeria, Africa, India, United Kingdom, Republic of Sierra Leone, Israel, Nepal, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Finland, and Poland internet radio. Michael Lee Johnson has been published in more than 280 different publications worldwide. Audio MP3 of poems are available on reque
He is also publisher and editor of four poetry flash fiction sites--all presently open for submission:
by Peter Tetro
The thinker in me
exhausted by the doer
burning up our juices.
Stop, there has to be a truce!
Doing is anchored
here and now
ignoring the past
aborting the future
that stretches beyond
linking my existence
conceived by two others
to that Biblical dust
I’ll be tasting
The doer ignores what I feel
will not let me kneel
in awe or wonder
the beauty of time and space
mystery of our human race.
The doer vies with the thinker
the former well primed for action
while wisdom is harder earned
day by day by day.
As each is enjoined
each faced upon my coin
the doer arrogantly flips
turning his back
before it even lands
busy, busy doing his thing…
Flashers and Floaters
by Peter Tetro
The Ophthalmologist listened
flashers and floaters
Through the look-into apparatus
he focused one eye
then the next
peering deep within
the opened bare
window to my soul.
Nothing to medically report
the examination done
but did suggest I see a priest pronto.
I left eyes wide and blurred
the emergency past
to wonder at his words.
Had he looked into my soul
my eyes a window to guide him in?
Flashers and floaters
that’s how they seem to come
images of past inequities
though long forgiven
and not current living sins
blotting out available Graces.
The priest also listened
as I sat no longer screened
detailing the visceral effects
of the near eternal detachment
symptomatic of a deep attachment
my soul has had to sin.
The potential sin comes as flashes
floating into view
disrupting clearer vision
while I choose or not
to fall for its invitation.
Bio: Peter Tetro has worked in both rural and urban Canadian settings from construction work to program administration. He is published in numerous publications and participates in local reading series. He is influenced by the human condition and the relationship with all of existence. Since retiring he has had time to submit the poetry written for the last 25 or so years.