Thursday, August 7, 2008

Featured Poet: Michael Lee Johnson

"Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. He is the author of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, He has also published two chapbooks of poetry and is presently looking for a publisher for two more. He has been published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Turkey, Fiji, Nigeria, Algeria, Africa, India, United Kingdom, Republic of Sierra Leone, Nepal, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Finland, and Poland internet radio. Michael Lee Johnson has been published in more than 240 different publications worldwide. Audio MP3 of poems are available on request.He is also publisher and editor of four poetry flash fiction sites--all presently open for submission: website:" Besides doing a little extra-cirricular shilling for Michael Lee Johnson's salvo of blogs and web pages, I have managed to pluck these poems from his submission of more than three, which may or may not have been culled from dozens of different countries spanned through hundreds of auditory and visual communicative realms. Nevertheless, there were other poems I liked, but I had to make the final call as Editor ULTIMO. But these three were my favorite...and I absolutely could not NOT publish a poem beginning, "I'm going to take Islam where their God has not before-" Remember, readers. Everyone gets three. You want three more, you gotta submit again. In the Garden Where the Flowers Grow I'm going to take Islam where their God has not been before- to the garden of Jesus, olive oil presses, Gethsemane-- trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables didn't poison anyone there. Passion was sweat on the ground and brow. There weren't darts of hate, misconception or terrorism; children on their knees five times a day brainwashed to hate. Christ didn't lead them astray nor make them pagan pink. There is no God apart from Allah, and Mohammed is the Prophet, but it's Jesus who makes the garden grow with or without water. Then and now the apples grow in my garden of forgiveness. Figs trees grow far away where I can't reach them but believe in them. Like the Tamarisk tree, Christ is a source of honey, manna and wafer, a taste so sweet in the desert so dry. You don't have to be a scholar to write poetry, religion, or understand the Eucharist; but you need to be a real saint to know the difference. Islam, is Judas Iscariot among your converts nose pointed toward Mecca today? I'm going to take Islam where their God has not been before- to the garden where the flowers grow. The Christians Arrived Salvation Army and the Christians arrived today, Christmas, like every other Sunday morning feed the homeless, chasing the rats from the bathroom, basement, kicking the dead flies out of the corner spots where the cat used to lounge- clean the toilet bowl, a form of revival and resurrection. I privately pastor to these desires though I myself am homeless. I forgot what it's like to be a poet of the cloth, savior in street clothing with a warm home to blend into. I watch them clamp the New Testament in one hand, And pull a cancer stick out of the pocket with the other. It's all a matter of praising the Lord. Everything is nonsense when you're in a place where you don't belong. Even praying to Jesus from a dirty dusted pillow seems strange and bewildering. Someday I will walk from this place and offer spare meals by myself to others; feed the party in between the theology, the bingo of sins and salvation. I forgot the taste of a Stromboli Sandwich with a 6 pack of Budweiser with or without the Chicago Bears--it would make every Sunday a Salvation Army holiday. Today is a fairy creating miracles from the dust of the floor multiplying fish and chips, baked ham, ribs with sauce Chi-Town type, dark color of greens and veggies tip me to the Christian clock on the wall peeking down on lost and unsaved. I feel like a fragment. A birth date the way again to begin, fragmented. Pinto beans mixed with graffiti fingers, Christians arrived on Christmas day- they always do every Sunday morning. I pastor to these desires. It's all a matter of praising the Lord. The Christians arrived today. Tiny Sparrow Feet It's calm. Too quiet. My clear plastic bowl serves as my bird feeder. I don't hear the distant scratching, shuffling of tiny sparrow feet, the wing dances, fluttering, of a hungry morning's lack of big band sounds. I walk tentatively to my patio window, spy the balcony with detective eyes. I witness three newly hatched toddler sparrows, curved nails, mounted deep, in their mother's dead, decaying back. Their childish beaks bent over elongated, delicately, into golden chips, and dusted yellow corn.