Posted by: tsopr | January 31, 2009

Michael Lee Johnson, American Poet

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 280 different publications worldwide. He also has 2 previously published chapbooks available at: .


His poetry chapbook with pictures, From Which Place the Morning Rises and his new photo version of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom is now available at:


The original version of The Lost American:  from Exile to Freedom, can be found at:


He is also publisher and editor of four poetry flash fiction sites–all presently open for submission:


Author website:


                                Featured Poetry of Michael Lee Johnson


Gingerbread Lady


Gingerbread lady,

no sugar or cinnamon spice;

years ago arthritis and senility took their toll.

Crippled mind moves in then out, like an old sexual adventure

blurred in an imagination of fingertip thoughts.

Who in hell remembers the characters?

There was George, her lover, near the bridge at the Chicago River:

she missed his funeral; her friends were there.

She always made feather-light of people dwelling on death,

but black and white she remembers well.

The past is the present; the present is forgotten.

Who remembers Gingerbread Lady?

Sometimes lazy-time tea with a twist of lime,

sometimes drunken-time screwdriver twist with clarity.

She walks in scandals; sometimes she walks in soft night shoes.


Her live-in maid smirks as Gingerbread Lady gums her food,

false teeth forgotten in a custom-imprinted cup

with water, vinegar, and ginger.

The maid died.  Gingerbread Lady looks for a new maid.

Years ago, arthritis and senility took their toll.

Yesterday, a new maid walked into the nursing home.

Ginger forgot to rise out of bed;

no sugar, or cinnamon toast.





Nikki Purrs


Soft nursing

5 solid minutes

of purr

paw peddling

like a kayak competitor

against ripples of my

60 year old river rib cage−


I feel like a nursing mother

but I’m male and I have no nipples.

Sometimes I feel afloat.

Nikki is a little black skunk,

kitten, suckles me for milk,

or affection?

But she is 8 years old a cat.


I’m her substitute mother,

afloat in a flower bed of love,

and I give back affection

freely unlike a money exchange.


Done, I go to the kitchen, get out

Fancy Feast, gourmet salmon, shrimp,

a new work day begins.





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

Mental Institution.

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.





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