Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Michael Lee Johnson Returns This Summer

In the summer, I am able to post more frequently, so tonight I'm publishing Michael Lee Johnson's poems.  You may know him from his poetry groups on Facebook where he mentors and nurtures an amazing array of authors.  Enjoy Michael's poems this evening!

Everything Red for the Queen
By  Michael Lee Johnson
(Ekphrastic Poetry, Photo Above)

Everything is red
in the kingdom of the queen.
Matador hat with barnacles,
witch white hair to the shoulders,
tickling the breast.
In her eyes are the blood shot
of many vampires;
in her heart the daggers
of many soldiers.
Five inky fingers
cross her throat
like an ill-fitted necklace.
Her dress is like heart charms,
scales of fish dripping
blood toward her toes.
Withy, twists around her throat.
Anglers of the court toss hooks
toward her cherry red lips,
capture the moment
of the haze of purple
surrounding her head.
Everything is red
in the kingdom of the queen.
Death changes colors from red to blue.

Here is a video of Michael reading this poem:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7orIlsgrog

Mount Pleasant Cemetery (V2)
(Toronto, Ontario Canada)
By Michael Lee Johnson

Gravediggers uprooting caskets
with sharp, steel shovels-
each slicing step downward
through nerve-rooted earth
cooper pennies jingle in change
pouches dangling by their sides.

They chat casually of Jesus,
His painless resurrection
from the sealed tomb,
money-changers being chased
away from God’s holy temple.

To listen to Michael read this poem, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnXokqLc6a8

The March of the Emperor Penguins
By Michael Lee Johnson

Emperor Penguins never set feet on land,
straight up their feet on ice, tuxedo's with short feathers
overlapped, waterproofed, inner down layers insulated with air.
Heads bobble fat fannies waddle, the march to the homeland begins.
70 miles the clan walks and slides away from the sea and back to the sea.
70 miles into the darkest, driest and coldest continent, Antarctica cradles up the South Pole.
High step, searching for partners for one year, away from predators, the mating party begins.
Mutual sex they turn check format a goal, breed their young, months of illness, hurt, struggles, isolation, separation face in the winter the great white ghost of death.
Starvation is a 2-way trip the male is the mother 120 days, mother goes for food-
at one point tough they all must go back to the ocean and sea.
Emperor Penguins they dance and huddle.
Back they go to the ice, to the flow, and sea 50/50, millions of years ago.

Here is Michael's video of this poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnNd62tMck8

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 935 small press magazines in 29 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website http://poetryman.mysite.com/.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN: 978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 118 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.   Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 & Best of the Net 2016.  Visit his Facebook Poetry Group and join https://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998/.   He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762.  A second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, Editor Michael Lee Johnson, is available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0718SX483/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

I'd like to post some music with a Canadian collection.  I've posted Herbie Hancock's Joni Letters before, but here is Tina Turner singing "Edith and the Kingpin":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaRx52OD8IY

Joni Mitchell herself sings on these two videos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBvHNgxwAvo

Herbie Hancock also performed with Leonard Cohen on "The Jungle Line":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NRS89lHuag



  1. I so enjoyed listening to you read your poems, Michael. It is such a different experience than just reading them. I learned a few things as well in the Emperor Pigeons--Thank you.

  2. Thank you very much Jo Balistreri,I do think moving video with music and pictures brings the words off the page to a different level.