Joel F. Johnson
I'm a businessman and chronic English major who began writing poetry about ten years ago. Sometimes, I find myself switching back and forth between a spreadsheet and an unfinished poem. My first book of poems, Where Inches Seem Miles, was published by Antrim House at the end of 2013. In 2014, Kirkus Reviews selected it as one of the best books of the year in the Indie category. I've benefited from workshops at the Concord Poetry Center and from the journals which have published my work, including Rattle, Blackbird, and Salamander. My website, joelfjohnson.com, includes a few videos where I've attempted to combine a reading with appropriate images.
Be geese beating along a flyway, Manitoba to Texas,
year on year wing to wing, a pair.
Be wolves, raise your own pack, hunt flank to jowl
in the Minnesota snow, fill your fur with moonlight.
Like whales, spout in the deep Pacific, breach and sing
so far from shore you’d think the world was water.
Be tigers, hide your stripes in innocent grass,
steel-clawed and lemon-eyed, stalking as a team.
Burrow down or find a den where ferns uncurl in spring.
Fly home the wiggly trout, bugle in fall, leaf out in May.
Make a mossy nest together. Leap the falls.
Watch flies fly. Learn how they do it.
Or better yet, be Peter. Be Hannah.
Live no lives but these.
No place but this. No day but this.
Peter and Hannah. Hannah and Peter.
Be lovers. Be family. Be married. Be that.
©2016 Joel Johnson