August 27 – September 2, 2012: Paul Lobo Portugés and Michael Lee Johnson

week of August 27 – September 2, 2012

Paul Lobo Portugés and Michael Lee Johnson

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Paul Lobo Portugés

Bio (auto)

Paul Lobo Portugés–reared in Merkel, West Texas, until saved by UCLA, the American Film Institute, and UC Berkeley. Teaches creative writing at UCSB. Taught creative writing at UC Berkeley, USC, SBCC, and the University of Provence. Proud father of two sons. Books include The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg, Saving Grace, Hands Across the Earth, The Flower Vendor, Paper Song, Aztec Birth, The Body Electric Journal, The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson, and Mao (forthcoming, Word Palace Press). Poems are scattered in small magazines across the Americas, Europe, and Asia . Wrote a few films including Jack and Marilyn. Behind the Veil, Shakespeare’s Last Bed, Fire From the Mountain, et al. Poetry videos include To My Beloved, Kiss, The Lonely Wind, Lovers, Of Her I Sing, Fathermine, Stones from Heaven, The Killing Fields of Darfur (forthcoming). Received awards from the National Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the American Film Institute, The Rockefeller/Bellagio Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission, et al.

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Paul Lobo Portugés and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Agent Orange

Before the war the forest was our treasure
What we loved the most
Birds of all colors funny monkeys
We swam in the cool waters
Drank from the pure springs
Our forest held back the rains as we listened
Children sang in the trees
After the poison after the war the forest is dead
It gives us nothing
But mournful silence and nights of emptiness

In my soul I do not feel happy
When I spent my days digging ditches
To feed my family I didn’t… didn’t know
The earth was death
And then my 2nd daughter died
She was barely seven
Now my only son has no bone marrow
His head is misshapen his eyes too large
On New Years we took his picture
For the family altar to remember him
When he too will be gone
Not very long now the American doctor says

When I Am With You

When I rub your hair you become a waterfall
When I stroke your forehead you are a swan
When I touch your eyes your are a light tower
When I kiss your mouth you are bread from the oven
When I massage your neck you are a bird
When I embrace you you become tears
When I trace yr back you become a deer
When I fondle your breasts you are a ripple
When I lick your nipples you become a live wire
When I stroke your ass your are a lioness
When I brush your thighs you are a snake
When I grab your feet you become a cloud
When I hold your pubis you become a violet
When I finger your clitoris you become a clitoris
When I am inside you you are the earth in spring
When you come I am with you

Michael Lee Johnson

Bio (auto)

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, freelance writer and small business owner of custom imprinted promotional products and apparel:, from Itasca, Illinois. He is heavily influenced by: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Herman Hesse, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available here. The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found here. New Chapbook: Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems. Michael has been published in over 25 countries. He is also editor/publisher of six poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site:

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Michael Lee Johnson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Apparently, David

There are categories of hell here.
David died of
chronic liver disease
February 28, 2012.

Fact, I was a newspaper reporter.
I am a chronic drunk.

David’s drinking became his sin.
Sin is the crack of the Devil’s butt.
It tossed a good man into hell.
Dandelions faded with him when
the burning began.

His widow was a chronic bitch.
Locals called her “Nightmare Boogie.”

His wife of 14 years
celebrated his passing;
she pissed on his pictures.

She was simple a mindless fragment.

Her life was understated, full of fragments.

She got drunk on the night David died.
She thought it was butterscotch wine.
Confused, Cherry Lee, kept it simple;
she recognized the mix up,
it was butterscotch schnapps.

Either way, Cherry Lee helped
evaporate David’s heart.

There were no memorial services.

David’s ashes are still in a fruit box;
mounted on the top of her toilet bowl.

No urn, present or past tense.
No obituary, too late.

Only a label, a tag on the cinerary stating:
“this is David’s discount Funeral Home.”

There are no survivors here.

*Special note. This poem evolved from an email dialogue
with Kim Fregia about David, her friend, before his untimely
death. I’ve tried but haven’t been able to touch base with
her since. Her original poem with my editing can be found
at Itasca Illinois: Poetry & Willow Tree Dreams.