VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Michael Lee Johnson

The Redemption 

My eyes green

are 2 glass windows

into the past.

I keep the blinds

pulled down tight.

Carnal knowledge

is a Biblical definition of sin.

I live in darkness,

the shame of those early years.

I pull myself out

redemption in old age,

a savior,

before the grave,

I flatter myself

in a mirror, no reflection.

Alberta Bound (V4)

I own a gate to this prairie

that ends facing the Rocky Mountains.

They call it Alberta-

trails of endless blue sky

asylum of endless winters,

the hermitage of indolent retracted sun.

Deep freeze drips haphazardly into spring.

Drumheller, dinosaur badlands, dried bones,

ancient hoodoos sculpt high, prairie toadstools.

Alberta highway 2 opens the gateway of endless miles.

Travel weary, I stop by roadsides, ears open to whispering pines.

In harmony North to South

Gordon Lightfoot pitches out a tune-

“Alberta Bound.”

With independence in my veins,

I am a long way from my home.

Tiny Sparrow Feet (V2)

It’s calm.

Cheeky, unexpected.

Too quiet.

My clear plastic bowls

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 my detective’s 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.

Beach Boys, Dance

They dance and drum to their songs.

Boogaloo Boys, Beach Boys, still band members die.

Revolts and rebellion always end in peace, left for the living.

Even the smoking voice of Carl Wilson dies

with a canary inside his cancerous throat called “Darlin.”

Dennis Wilson, hitchhiking, panhandling with the devil Charles Manson,

toying with heroin, he’s just too much trouble to live.

Check their history of the living and the dead; 

you will find them there, minor parts and pieces

musical notes stuck in stone wall cracks,

imbibe alcohol, cocaine.

Name’s fade, urns toss to sea

dump all lives brief memories,

bingo, no jackpot.

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