Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 248 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 43 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 4 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 536 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/.
97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye
(An atheist faces his own death) Wait until I have to say goodbye, don’t rush; I’m a philosophical professor facing my own death on my own time. It takes longer to rise to kick the blankets back. I take my pills with water and slowly lift myself out of bed to the edge of my walker. Living to age 97 is an experience I share with my caretaker and so hard to accept. It’s hard for youngsters who have not experienced old age to know the psychology of pain that you can’t put your socks on or pull your own pants up without help anymore— thank God for suspenders. “At a certain point, there’s no reason to be concerned about death, when you die, no problem, there’s nothing.” But why in my loneness, teeth stuck in with denture glue, my daily pillbox complete, and my wife, Leslie Josephine, gone for years, why does it haunt me? I can’t orchestrate, play Ph.D. anymore, my song lyrics is running out, my personality framed in a gentler state of mind. I still think it necessary to figure out the patterns of death; I just don’t know why. “There must be something missing from this argument; I wish I knew. Don’t push me, please wait; soon is enough to say goodbye. My theater life, now shared, my last play, coming to this final curtain, I give you grace, “the king of swing,” the voice of Benny Goodman is silent now, an act of humanity passes, no applause.
Keyboard dancing, poet-writer, old bold, ribbons are worn out, type keys bent out of shape. 40 wpm, high school, Smith Corona 220 electric ultimately gave out, carrying case, lost key. No typewriter repairman anymore. It is this media, new age apps, for internet dreams, forged nightmares, nothing can go wrong, right? Cagey, I prefer my Covid-19 shots completed one at a time. Unfinished poems can wait, hang start-up like Jesus ragged on that wooden cross, revise a few lines at a time; near the end, complete to finish. I will touch my way out of this life; as Elton John says, “like a candle in the wind.” I will be at my keyboard late at night that moment I pass, my fingertips stop.