Thursday, March 19, 2009

Metal May Well Revert

for Naomi

to its natural state.
Rust, oxidation, salt hastening
its back, back, back to earth.

Bone is less exact.
Fractured, yes, even broken,
it returns: bone to bone,
parts to whole.

It is written
dust to dust.
So it is with bone,
shards turn porous,
devoured by bacteria,
time, our fading memories.

Shattered, however,
it becomes metal
not via its own volition,
but surgical intervention.

Carbon composite,
eventual, actual stardust,
the stuff of which heavens are made:
one moment expanding nebula,
same moment elderly mother’s broken hip
all night on cold linoleum --
she didn’t want to be a bother.

Her stardust does not heal like it once did.
Her mind does not recollect like it used to.
All that iron, zinc, copper, nickel trace:
once loamy soil, then homegrown kale,
then heart, tendon, lung, bone.
None of it, what it used to be.
Until she reverts back
to her natural state,
Alice remains.

Turns out we are all
scatter and combine,
the dust she once was,
is now, ever will be.

The time will come,
when you will grieve,
your tears will make mud,
your fingers smearing
the stuff of her body,
the life of yours,
the whole of the universe
on the wall of our mutual world,
marking our coming,
marking our going.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Personal Detritus (A Love Song in Five Parts)

Skin cells scatter.
Toe nail chips.
Stray hairs cling to shirt fabric.

I am falling apart.

Each year, a little more.
Each day, each moment.

So are you.

Fear is the fluid
you swim before sleeping.
Yet sleep eludes you,
leaving you long alone.

I find you heroic,
suspended against
persuasive pull,
aiming to assemble yourself
on high dry ground.

I cannot be all that you long for.

Simple, tinged with regret,
what I offer may well
feel meager to you,
but it is, nevertheless, true.

I will give you all I can;
I will not let you suck me dry.
You have so many worries,
so many doubts. Let this
not be one of them.

Oh, that I could convey
all of this, any of this
without inevitable sting.

Pieces of you,
elements far flung,
proximally dropped,
have Hansel & Greteled a path.

You are collecting --
recollecting –
your own flotsam.

I offer my jetsam.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Belly Beguile Swell Swoop

Swell of paved hill protrudes,
but does not block
what damp night reveals.

Underarch, swoop, concave --
insulated cables monkey swing
from one once-tree to the next.
Tarnished bright by headlights,
distorted in the mist of once-snow,
light dances the stillness.

I think aloud in a whisper:
I have never seen this before.

Hard to believe
given more than forty years
on this giant geode.
Forty years
in cities, towns, rural lanes.
This cannot be new.

Like this love is not new.

But is,
like the crossing
over, through, beyond
I found in your bed
mere hours ago.
Your cradling my middle-age swell,
belly so beguiling to you,
glow dancing between
our stilled, shared breath.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Friday, March 6, 2009

menstrual amnesia

every sunday morning
engaged 12-year-olds thrill me
with their ambivalent absorption
forcing such compelling questions:
would i be the same person
if my gender/sex were different?

invisible hormones seep
they mount monthly attack
reliable like clockwork
yet always surreptitious
catching me off guard
each new moon

last night was involumable accusation
such force it still shook the telephone line.

this morning brown spots
cotton between my thighs --
all i want to do is apologize

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Sunday, March 1, 2009


You tend towards secrets
so secretly.
Such is the secret,
this time around,
you keep it even from yourself.

I’ve met you before,
though we’d not been introduced
til we kissedcaressedfuckedsighed
this time around.

I always meet you.

You are my inevitable, indisputable, irrefutable proof --
should I need any this time around --
of karmadharmamettadivineuniversalenergy.

This time around,
I ruminate perseverate infuriate compensate.
A dog chasing her tail --
endearing foolish futile holy puppyhood.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston