Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes

No matter
how contagious
the lyric,
I’m not sure
what it means.

Diamonds on the soles of her shoes?

Sounds luxurious,
makes sleeping
on the street
rather than

Even though
I remain
in the dark
as to what
it really means,
I’m pretty sure
it doesn’t apply
to me.

Unwanted scuff
where I’ve been.
My mark,
nothing like
shiny diamonds.
If I’ve got anything,
it’s common coal.

Not even
mundane mica
flaking off
a Hanzel & Gretta trail,
so you might
one day
find me.

Too often
there’s dog shit
stuck in the treads
of my unremarkable shoes.

On better days,
it’s mucky mud
insinuated in the soles
of this lonely soul,
now & always messy.

Dead Beneath his Rescue

Dispatcher voice becomes
cold blood, sweat, then pulse.
Sending him too close to home.

He pounds his father’s chest.

Inexplicably, his arms lengthen.
He is cartoon, the lop-headed drawing of himself
and the small Saturday-morning boy, jaw agape
at the doomed hijinx on the screen.

He is both compromised tether
and hard ball that rings the rusted pole,
wound ever tighter. Cut. Burn.

His force is certain, striking,…impotent.

Once he had been tremulous infant
in the arms of that crumpled man:
musk offering solace so deep
there was not even language,
just coo sinking into sinuous arms.

How dare the heavens demand this of him?

Heart chamber, now blue sanguine swell.
Broken ribs to brittle in furnace.
His own flesh, dead beneath his rescue.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Friday, May 16, 2008

Just Practice

He misses the gemstones

that brought him here.

Lapis lazuli, topaz, tourmaline.

Their crooked path intersperse

with crushed eggshell, rotting bark.

He sees through the glass pane,

palm sweats its own moist shadow:

once-there traces of once-there him.

There is little left but to laugh.

It is a hard game to play:

This love me now,

love me forever…

‘til I vanish.

Like the whole world isn’t listening,

she whispers, just practice.

Who is he to desire more volume?

His head is endlessly empty

except the beat of her pulse,

thrumming just under his skull.

Just practice and he imagines

great cities gleaming,

her thighs glistening,

a place to rest

after the waves sweep

the beach clean.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Passion Seat

Is it between your lips

all teeth, tongue, & gum,

tender soft, bone hard,

in the wide of your open mouth?

Is it in the crook of your neck,

stark hollow that surfaces

as you strain, then rage?

Or the crevice of bridge & nostril,

that place that makes your face

your face?

Where is your passion?

Where does it sit?

In the groove, the fire

beneath your own finger,

curious, furious, alone?

Under the hard arrogance

of steady foot to heel,

brisk, troubled

in the night’s diamond pigment?

Or can it be found

between thick thumb

with square nail armor

& the calloused tent

of your index finger?

Pen leaking shambled messages.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston