97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye (An atheist faces his own death) A Poem By Michael Lee Johnson

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.
 
 
*Dedicated to the memory of Herbert Fingarette, November 2, 2018 (aged 97). Berkeley, California, U.S.A. Video credit and photo credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6NztnPU-4.
 
 

 
 
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 259 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 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 443 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com More of his personal work can also be viewed at https://poetrylifeandtimes.com video & audio poems, translations etc.,

Poets Out of Service (V6) By Michael Lee Johnson. Audio Text Poem

 

 

Like a full-service gas station

or postal service workers

displaced, racing to Staples retail

for employment against the rules of labor,

poets are out of business nowadays, you know.

Who carries a loose change in their pockets?

Who tosses loose coins in their car ashtray anymore?

iPhones, smartphones, life is a video camera

ready to shoot, destroy, and expose.

No one reads poets anymore.

No one thumbs through the yellow pages anymore.

Who has sex in the back seat of their car anymore,

just naked shots passed around online?

Streetwalkers, bleach blonde whores,

cosmetic plastic altered faces in the neon night;

they don’t bother to pick pennies

or quarters off the streets anymore.

The days of surprise candy bags for a nickel

pennies lying on the countertop for

Tar Babies, Strawberry Licorice Laces

(2 for a penny), Wax Lips, Pixie Sticks,

Good & Plenty are no more.

Everyone is a dead-end player; he dies with time.

Monster technology destroys crump fragments of culture.

Old age is a passive slut; engaging old age

conversations idle to a whisper and sleep alone.

Matchbox, hand-rolled cigarettes,

serrated, slimmed down, and gone.

Time is a broken stopwatch gone by.

Life is a defunct full-service gas station.

Poets are out of business nowadays.
 
 

 
 
Michael Lee Johnson
lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 244 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 43 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 3 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/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)