THIS POEM REPLACES ALL PREVIOUS POEMS
So we're born and the rotting process
can't wait to begin.
Could be leukemia at three,
car crash at eleven,
overdose at twenty-one,
AIDS at thirty,
suicide at forty,
heart attack at fifty...
the doctors tell you none of this.
Even if we stay clear of the big stuff,
there's little acts of random decay
happening all the time to our bodies.
What can heart and mind do?
Complaining gets them nowhere.
Yes the deciduous forest mimics the process
but it gets rebirth for all its troubles.
Once human spring is behind us,
there's no more spring.
I'm a gangrened branch of a family tree.
Arthritis is my joints' step-children.
Dementia carries on my mind's forgotten name.
Sure there's love
but have you checked its EKG lately.
I'm at another funeral.
"Dead before his time," they mutter.
But isn't death the only time?
"In life there is death," intones the priest.
Yes, and that's all there is.
Okay, so I'm a pessimist.
But I was born an optimist.
More proof as if it was needed.
(John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.)
Choosing What to Say
I must have fritted away a dozen chores today,
inattentive to their insistent need.
I watched a stunned fly waver and die.
Every word that needed to be said remains unsaid.
There is luxury in entering the Stillness,
quiet like the building of a bird’s nest.
That silence tells me what I need to know.
I’ve learned the value of completing tasks.
When I was sixteen, a friend had a cardiac arrest,
dying mid-sentence. At seventeen, I witnessed
thousands die in Vietnam. At each death,
a vacuum is created, and emptiness filled it.
Nighttime swirls above my house,
bringing every word that should have been said.
I need to construct words
like foundation stones,
to use words that strengthen and console.
(Martin Willitts Jr, edits the Comstock Review.. His 25 chapbooks include the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 21 full-length collections including Blue Light Award “The Temporary World”. His current book includes “Harvest Time” (Deerbrook Editions, 2021).
Deep in my couch
Deep in my couch
of magnetic dust,
I am a bearded old man.
I pull out my last bundle
of memories beneath
my pillow for review.
What is left, old man,
cry solo in the dark.
Here is a small treasure chest
of crude diamonds, a glimpse
of white gold, charcoal,
fingers dipped in black tar.
I am a temple of worship with trinket dreams,
a tea kettle whistling ex-lovers boiling inside.
At dawn, shove them under, let me work.
We are all passengers traveling
on that train of the past--
senses, sins, errors, or omissions
deep in that couch.
(Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson is published in more than 2033 new publications. His poems have appeared in 42 countries; he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. He is the administrator of six Facebook poetry groups; he has several new poetry chapbooks coming out soon. He has over 536 published poems to date. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 42 countries, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. 243 poetry videos are now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.)
The Beautiful Space-