I Am a Temple of Worship With Trinket Dreams — Two Poems by Michael Lee Johnson
January 28, 2022
Michael Lee Johnson presents two poems, one that reflects on the lives of poets and the other on the passage of time as life goes on. Such verses emerge from a poetic voice that has seen joy and grief, youth and age, vulnerability and persistence, in ways that only time can make known.

Poets Die

Why do poets die;
linger in youth
addicted to death.
They create culture
but so crippled.
They seldom harm
except themselves—
why not let them live?
Their only crime is words
they shout them out in anger
cry out loud, vulgar in private
places like Indiana cornfields.
In fall, poets stretch arms out
their spines the centerpiece
on crosses on scarecrows,
they only frighten themselves.
They travel in their minds,
or watch from condo windows,
the mirage, these changing colors,
those leaves; they harm no one.

Deep in my Couch

Deep in my couch
of magnetic dust,
I am a bearded old man.
I pull out my last bundle
of memories beneath
my pillow for review.
What is left, old man,
cry solo in the dark.
Here is a small treasure chest
of crude diamonds, a glimpse
of white gold, charcoal,
fingers dipped in black tar.
I am a temple of worship with trinket dreams,
a tea kettle whistling ex-lovers boiling inside.
At dawn, shove them under, let me work.
We are all passengers traveling
on that train of the past—
senses, sins, errors, or omissions
deep in that couch.

Share This!

About the Contributor

<a href="https://www.inversejournal.com/author/michael-lee-johnson/" target="_self">Michael Lee Johnson</a>

Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and currently resides in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He is an internationally published poet in 43 countries who has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize awards and five times for the Best of the Net. He is editor-in-chief of three poetry anthologies, and has several poetry books and chapbooks, with over 536 published poems to his name. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups and a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society.