Table of |
Half Past December
Sky spitting snow as I cup my hands
around a Bic at 9:00 pm,
thinking how my cousin Jack the junkie
did it with his Zippo.
How he slept under the table last Christmas,
his mother pleading “Wake up, sleepyhead.”
His pale bruised arms a horrible sight.
Just over one year sober –
until, weighing boredom against risk –
I chose the more interesting option.
Crushed oxy dripping down my throat,
bitter taste I love.
I’m a smart user.
Lie flushing my face
hot enough to melt snow.
Desire is the source of all sorrow.
What good does this knowledge do me?
I’m still alive
because I’ve always been scared of needles
You Burn Like That
Lipless farmer down in the gums
stumblebum with features fine
enough around the burn barrel make
a good girl cry a tough old bird
chicken footing round the mouth
of well we had some fine times
nights I can’t forget you said
you loved me the fire licked
and leaped the way you burn
a bridge behind you that a tear
in your eye or praying for rain
the way you do it down on your
bones rolling lip lock think
I don’t remember dear I don’t
©Michael Lee Johnson HeavenIs Horseflyics
The Tail End
Yes, there was a mushroom
growing from the blue carpet in the bathroom.
You should have seen the kitchen.
Abdullah the landlord threw out all our possessions
for non-payment, threatened to pawn them.
We ate once a day at Pic-N-Save buffet
for $2.00, a bargain in 1975, then hitchhiked home.
It was the tail end of things like hitchhiking, or long hair
for shock value. Pre-tattoo, pre-piercing. The tail end of acid.
No craft beers or designer vodkas, the Ford Pinto the econonbox du jour.
No one watched tv was the lesson I gleaned from the times.
Johnny Carson was a square, Sinatra hated The Beatles,
everyone hated Nixon and the cops.
To boil it down, how Indians lived was our aim:
close to earth, day by day.
The American Indians planned for everything but us.
Though some confused us for Gods,
mushrooms and all.
Easing Into Corruption
Flies are god’s creatures and have their right
to crawl over the ripe peaches of my skin.
They die at night, or so it seems,
they leave me alone with my smoke and thoughts.
This tobacco dried and cured,
handrolled by arthritic brown fingers in Honduras
for fifty cents a day, a single cigar a month’s pay.
Sun going down and my mind at rest,
a million eyes opening in dark blades of grass.
The President of Honduras sleeps
in air conditioned splendor, at peace
with the lives of ten million peasants.
Wind lying down,
cigar going out, flies crawling
wherever they go to die for the night.