Rod Stroked Survival with a Deadly Hammer
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
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.
Mother, Edith, at 98
Edith, in this nursing home
blinded with macular degeneration,
I come to you with your blurry
eyes, crystal sharp mind,
your countenance of grace−
as yesterday’s winds
I have chosen to consume you
and take you away.”Oh, where did Jesus disappear
to”, she murmured,
over and over again,
in a low voice
like a leaking faucet:
“Oh, there He is my
Angel of the coming.”
Charley Plays a Tune
Crippled, in Chicago,
in a dark rented room,
on a dust filled
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
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.Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled
From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of
The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available at: http://stores.lulu.com/promomanusa. Michael has been published in over 22 countries.
Carcinogenic Poetry is a brand new poetry blog publishing poems of the absurd, non traditional and new thought writing as well. The truth is to lies like cancer, and with this fact in mind, Carcinogenic strives to bring voices that radiate among the independent and underground lit realm. The work at Carcinogenic Poetry speaks. Already a number of poets and writers have lined up to share their work in a presentation of indiscriminate creativity and truth.
Some poets who’ve been featured at Carcinogenic Poety:
Michael Lee Johnson
There is more great work to come from Carcinogenic Poetry. If you’d like to share your work, please send an e-mail to michael (dot) aaron (dot) casares (at) gmail (dot) com. You may send up to five poems in the body of your email. Please include a two to three line bio. You may submit previously published work, but you must inform us of where this work has previously appeared. Simultaneous submissions are fine as well, but please let us know immediately when any work in submission has been accepted for publication by another entity. Authors and poets keep all rights to their work, but Virgogray Press & Carcinogenic Poetry reserve the right to archive your work and use in future print editions and/or publications. At Carcinogenic Poetry, we are not concerned with your publishing history or acquired degrees, we just want the stuff you believe in.
Other Publishing Opportunities
Though Virgogray Press is closed to chapbook manuscript submissions for the time being, we are still accepting submissions of work for the above mentioned, Carcinogenic Poetry, and our Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies. The VGP Chapbook Anthology Series has a new publication scheduled for release in the first months of 2010 called “America Remember” and is an anthology of poetry about the philosophies and ideas that founded the United States of America. If you have poetry or prose or polemics in this vein, you are welcome to submit your work to Virgogray Press. Those accepted for publication will receive two contributors copies. Unfortunately we cannot offer monetary payment for the publication of author’s work. Work considered for publication in any of the Virgogray Chapbook Anthologies must be previously unpublished and simultaneous submissions are discouraged! The new deadline for “America Remembered” is January 22, 2010 so please send in your work soon!
Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies are released quarterly and collect poems thematically calculated to fit the vision of the issue. The next anthologies will have the theme of “mothers” so prepare your poetry and prose and get it over to us.
If you’ve read or purchased any of our previous anthologies, you know it is a collection of voices that has no bias to style or development, but ring through with a clarity that originates with the gifts of the creative. Submit to the Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies… “America Remembered” is waiting to hear you.