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Just Because, Bad Heart

By Michael Lee Johnson


Just because I am old

do not tumble me dry.

Toss me away with those unused

Wheat pennies, Buffalo nickels, and Mercury dimes

in those pickle jars in the basement.

Do not bleach my dark memories

Salvation Army my clothes

to the poor because I died.

Do not retire me leave me a factory pension

in dust to history alone.

Save my unfinished poems refuse to toss them

into the unpolished alleyways of exile rusty trash barrows

just outside my window, just because I am old.

Do not create more spare images, adverbs

or adjectives than you need to bury me with.

Do not stand over my grave, weep,

pouring a bottle of Old Crow

bourbon whiskey without asking permission

if it can go through your kidney’s first.

When under stone sod I shall rise and go out

in my soft slippers in cold rain

dread no danger, pick yellow daffodils,

learn to spit up echoes of words

bow fiddle me up a northern Spring storm.

Do you, bad heart, see in pine box of wood,

just because I got old.


Michael Lee Johnson lived in Canada for ten years 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, Illinois. Johnson is published in more than 1062 new publications and his poems have appeared in 38 countries. He was nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards in 2015.

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