Two poems by John Johnson

All the Above

They say the climate here is right for weather, with clouds
unlike anything, ambiguous winds kicking up
dry leaves of the alphabet, where you might be happy
watching the arcades flow in place,
invisible lines of force slowing their flux, happy
to see each season come and go, though
you watch blind-sighted, not knowing that you see.

On the way back you take a shortcut through a field, but
the house gets there ahead of you.
And what is that ringing? Crawdads in the culvert?
Freshwater medusas flexing their bells?
Now another day has worn out its welcome.
The eyes roll up in their snail beds, luminous, serene.


A Walk to the Beach

Where it lay, stranded, one pearl after another. Though it had all the strength it used to, it looked under the weather, and didn’t see us coming. It felt lonely with both hands. We were ready to help, but wanted fresh portions. Wanted to serve, to make of it something special to gaze at with the horizon. We opened our eyes in time, but only just. That was fair. Over in one corner there were lights and lots of sounds. We turned toward them, and it cost us. To liven is to unveil over and over, different each time, less some weight, say, or more patient as in following a vein with your fingers without knowing. I’ve always been bad with numbers, and a little thrilled. Now another hospital has closed, and I worry when I stand next to water without a meter stick or metronome. We get so caught up in the crisis in value, trochee and iamb, trunk and limb, that we overlook the odd, orange object, gust of wind that takes your hat.



John’s poems have appeared in many print and online journals, including BOXCAR Poetry Review, Clade Song, The Turnip Truck(s), Triggerfish Critical Review, and Web Conjunctions. Currently he is co-translating the poetry of Ulalume González de León.

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2016 by in poetry and tagged .


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