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Syndic Literary Journal

Photo by Michael Lee Johnson  ~ World’s Best Poet

Crazy Old Jack

By Michael Lee Johnson

Fifty-six today,

and Jack died

in his room years ago.

He still sits there I swear

watches television

philosopher of sports,

entrepreneur of sleep,

dream weaver of single men,

their dreams, their tragedies.

Jack never leaves his room,

seldom shuts his television off.

Jack seldom gets out of bed, boils

on his naked body, no need for razors,

Turkish bathes, for this man.

Jack’s prescription pills, then herbs,

then vitamins-but he is incurable.

Jack died in this room years ago.

He eats toast and jam,

toast without jam; fingers

wipes butter from a dish.

I hear Jack yawning from

his room, his coffin again.

Sleepy old Jack coughing again,

dreaming slowly in, drifting slowly out,

quiet old room-

just below a beauty salon,

Fifty-six today and Jack died here.

Crazy old Jack.



Leroy and His Love Affair

By Michael Lee Johnson

Girlie magazines dating back to 1972 are scattered across the floor.

The skeletons of two pet canaries lie dormant inside a wire cage.


Bessie Mae died 8 months ago.

From her lips, and from her eyes comes nothing like before.


Leroy, her lover, her only friend, the man she lived with for

over 30 years locked her body in their bedroom.

He didn’t want to part from her.


Leroy has no friends to detect anything that might be suspect.

He wants nothing between the two of them at all.

No one comes near to interfere.


Their bedroom is padlocked, stale, and stagnant with mildew, looking

the way it did before she died.


Foul odors ooze up through their bedroom ventilation ducts,

Leroy contends that a dead rat in the basement is causing the odors.


Leroy loves to lie about his sacred love affair.


Layers of dust blanket over the mahogany floors, and the maid doesn’t come

here anymore.


Bessie Mae’s remains are wrapped in a scarlet housecoat,

Dried blood sleeps in a small pool beneath her bed.


In time they both will sleep, sole witnesses to this fiasco

their lives will catch them in; enduring it, holding

their tongues till time matters no more.


Nothing appears changed, lovers unwilling to depart.



 Jesus Walks

By Michael Lee Johnson

 Jesus lives

in a tent

not a temple

coated with blue

velvet sugar,

He dances within the freedom

of His salvation

with the night and all

days bearing down with sin.

He has billions of ears

hanging from His head

dangling by seashores

listening to incoming prayers.

Sometimes busy hour’s drive Him

near crazy with buzzing sounds.

He walks near desert bushes

and hears wind tunnels

pushed by pine stinging nettles.

Here in His sacred voice

a whisper and

Pentecostal mind-

confused by hints of

Catholicism and prayers to Mary-

He heals himself in sacred

ponds tossing holy water

over himself-

touching nothing,

but humanity He recoils

and finishes his desert

walk somewhat estranged.




Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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