May 9, 2017

Four Ekphrastic Poems by Michael Lee Johnson: "Everything Red for the Queen", "The March of the Emperor Penguins", "Whispers from the Grave", "Mount Pleasant Cemetery (V2)"

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 915 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites. His author's website is at: http://poetryman.mysite.com/. Michael is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and has more than 108 poetry videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos). He has been nominated two Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net 2016. He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, available at Amazon. A second anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, Editor Michael Lee Johnson, is available on Amazon.


Everything Red for the Queen







Everything Red for the Queen
Everything is red
in the kingdom of the queen.
Matador hat with barnacles,
witch white hair to the shoulders,
tickling the breast.
In her eyes are the blood shot
of many vampires;
in her heart the daggers
of many soldiers.
Five inky fingers
cross her throat
like an ill-fitted necklace.
Her dress is like heart charms,
scales of fish dripping
blood toward her toes.
Withy, twists around her throat.
Anglers of the court toss hooks
toward her cherry red lips,
capture the moment
of the haze of purple
surrounding her head.
Everything is red
in the kingdom of the queen.
Death changes colors from red to blue.

Antarctic



The March of the Emperor Penguins

Emperor Penguins never set feet on land,
straight up their feet on ice, tuxedo's with short feathers
overlapped, waterproofed, inner down layers insulated with air.
Heads bobble fat fannies waddle, the march to the homeland begins.
70 miles the clan walks and slides away from the sea and back to the sea.
70 miles into the darkest, driest and coldest continent, Antarctica cradles up the South Pole.
High step, searching for partners for one year, away from predators, the mating party begins.
Mutual sex they turn check format a goal, breed their young, months of illness, hurt, struggles, isolation, separation face in the winter the great white ghost of death.
Starvation is a 2-way trip the male is the mother 120 days, mother goes for food-
at one point tough they all must go back to the ocean and sea.
Emperor Penguins they dance and huddle.
Back they go to the ice, to the flow, and sea 50/50, millions of years ago.



Site of Tragedy



Whispers from the Grave
(Heart attack 50 years of age)

What happened to 20 acres of farmland tilted toward sun angles,
those sharp stone edges cool fall comes
frost fields covered taking ownership of rented, abused, abandoned land−
10 years Phil has been gone, DeKalb, Illinois farmer.
Did he find salvation in those gold cornfields?
October orange colors, hayrides, and pumpkin harvest
of grey, grave bones buried near the deadly bicycle ride.
Mystery did his lover Betsy
(defense, prosecuting attorney, Elgin, Illinois)
stand by his site after she went through mourning,
the grandstanding at the wake at the farm,
the dimming of all candles, incenses, and memorial shrine
she held sacred within her bedroom walls, now faded.


Mount Pleasant Cemetery



Mount Pleasant Cemetery (V2)
(Toronto, Ontario Canada)

Gravediggers uprooting caskets
with sharp, steel shovels-
each slicing step downward
through nerve-rooted earth
cooper pennies jingle in change
pouches dangling by their sides.
They chat casually of Jesus,
His painless resurrection
from the sealed tomb,
money-changers being chased
away from God’s holy temple.

Photographs provided by Michael.
© Michael Lee Johnson



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