“Virus in the Air, Spasms in my Back” & Other Poems by Michael Lee Johnson

Virus in the Air, Spasms in my Back

There’s a virus in the air, but I can’t see it.
People are dying around me, but I can’t save them.
There are spikes pierced in my back,
spasms, but I can’t touch them.
Heartbeats, hell pulsating, my back muscles,
I covet in my prayers.
I turn right to the left, in my bed, then hang still.
Nails impaled, I bleed hourly,
Jesus on that cross.
Now 73 years of age, my half-sister 92,
told me, “getting old isn’t for sissies.”
I didn’t believe her—
until the first mimic words
out of “Kipper” my new parakeet’s mouth,
sitting in his cage alone were
“Daddy, it’s not easy being green.”


Textured drawing of twelve men and women seated in a circle.

Group Therapy

Wind chimes.
It’s going to rain tonight, thunder.
I’m going to lead the group tonight talking
about Rational Emotive Therapy,
belief challenges thought change,
Dr. Albert Ellis.
I’m a hero in my self-worship,
self-infused patient of my pain,
thoughtful, probabilistic atheism
with a slant toward Jesus in private.
Rules roll gently creeping
through my body with arthritis
a hint of mental pain.
Sitting in my 2001 Chevy S-10 truck,
writing this poem, late as usual.
It’s going to rain, thunder
heavy tonight.


Fiction Girl (Transition)

Drawings, then poems flip over to fiction;
the flash girl rides this ghost of the invention.
Insecure in youth, switch girl from drawing
to poetry, extension flight, outer fiction space,
yours is a manner of words at work.
Mercury is a god of movement.
A new skill set, brain twister, releases 100 free plays.
Life is a version of old times, fresh starts, torn yellow pages.
I focused on you last night; I watched your head spin
in sleep, a new playhouse of tree dreams, high shifting.
Changes are leaves; I lift your spirits to the gods of fire,
offer you thunderbolts practice your shooting in heaven
or hell, or toss back to earth.
Change is a choice where your energy flows.
No computer gods will help this poetic journey.
May you cry out loud on route to fairytale creations.
You are the chemist, the mixer girl shifting gears.
Creativity is how the gallery of galaxies cement.
Flash fiction lines cross stars.


Picture of bones scattered around a cave posted on a white board.

Cold Gray (V2)

Below the clouds
forming in my eyes,
your soft eyes,
delicate as warm silk words,
used to support the love I held for you.

Cold, now gray, the sea tide
inside turns to poignant foam
upside down separates-
only ghosts now live between us.

Yet, dreamlike, fortune-teller,
bearing no relation to reality-
my heart is beyond the sea now.
A relaxing breeze sweeps
across the flat surface of me.
I write this poem to you,
neglectfully sacrificing our love.
I leave big impressions
with a terrible hush inside.
Gray bones now bleach with memories,
I’m a solitary figure standing
here, alone, along the shoreline.

–About the Author—

Michael Lee Johnson is waring a sweatshirt that says, “World’s Best Poet,” and giving the thumb’s up.Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1,098 new publications, and his poems have appeared in 40 countries, he edits, publishes ten poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018.  Two hundred-seventeen poetry videos are now on YouTube. He is the editor-in-chief of three poetry anthologies: Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze; Dandelion in a Vase of Roses; and Warriors with Wings:  The Best in Contemporary Poetry.

Read/listen to  his poem “Vodka Omelet” HERE!