Caper's Poets

Charley Plays A Tune — Michael Lee Johnson

Crippled, in Chicago,

with arthritis

and Alzheimer’s,

in a dark rented room,

Charley plays

melancholic melodies

on a dust filled

harmonica he

found abandoned

on a playground of sand

years ago by a handful of children

playing on monkey bars.

He now goes to the bathroom on occasion,

relieving himself takes forever; he feeds the cat when

he doesn’t forget where the food is stashed at.

He hears bedlam when he buys fish at the local market

and the skeleton bones of the fish show through.

He lies on his back riddled with pain,

pine cones fill his pillows and mattress;

praying to Jesus and rubbing his rosary beads

Charley blows tunes out his

celestial instrument

notes float through the open window

touch the nose of summer clouds.

Charley overtakes himself with grief

and is ecstatically alone.

Charley plays a solo tune.

(Version 2)


Filed under: Issue 3, Michael Lee Johnson,

Harvest Time — Michael Lee Johnson

A Métis Indian lady, drunk,

hands blanketed as in prayer,

over a large brown fruit basket

naked of fruit, no vine, no vineyard

inside-approaches the Edmonton,

Alberta adoption agency.

There are only spirit gods

inside her empty purse.

Inside, an infant,

restrained from life,

with a fruity wine sap apple

wedged like a teaspoon

of autumn sun

inside its mouth.

A shallow pool of tears

mounts in native blue eyes.

Snuffling, the mother offers

a slim smile, turns away.

She slithers voyeuristically

through near slum streets,

and alleyways,

looking for drinking buddies

to share a hefty pint

of applejack wine.

(Version 5)

Filed under: Issue 3, Michael Lee Johnson,

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