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Gingerbread Lady

         by Michael Lee Johnson



Gingerbread lady,


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
Mental Institution.
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

                        left side

                        no trauma

                             just age.


Through the look-into apparatus

       he focused one eye

                then the next

                chemically dilating

peering deep within

                the opened bare

                window to my soul.


Nothing to medically report

he concluded

               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.