Michael Lee Johnson [photo courtesy of the author]

Jesse’s Homeless Face
by Michael Lee Johnson

Someday Jesse wants to go home.
I see his world,
all its hidden concepts
embedded in Jesse’s aging face–
life has whispered by leaving
memory trails–
wrinkled forehead,
deep as river bed ruts
dried with years, weather-beaten,
just above his bushy eyebrows
that are gray and twisted–
much like life drawing memories
across his empty face.
Jesse has a long oblique
Jewish nose with dark
blue opal eyes,
that would pierce
even the pain
of his own crucifixion.
Life tears flow though
a whole new ghoulish
apparition, a vision
of homelessness plastered
east of Dearborn Bridge,
near Lower Wacker Drive,
downtown Chicago–
where affluent citizens
seldom go unless inebriated,
puke-stained, or in a taxicab.

Jesse’s hair sprouts skyward,
groomed like an abandoned
dove nest in wild Chicago
meandering winds.
Puffed eye bags of weariness
sag like sandbags,
one slightly heavier than the other.
Weeks of bearded growth
contour his chin in color blends
of white and black.
Over one shoulder drapes
a grungy gray blanket found
in Lilly Mae’s garbage can;
the other shoulder,
naked, but tanned,
bears itself to the elements.
Jesse panhandles during the day.
At night and early Sunday mornings,
you can find him behind
a local McDonalds,
near Cracker Creek,
sharing leftover burgers
and sugar candy
with river rats–
Jesse considers it an act of religious charity.
Age 69, someday soon,
Jesse wants to go home.

* * * * * * * * * *

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, freelance writer and small business owner of custom imprinted promotional products and apparel:  www.promoman.us, from Itasca, Illinois.  He is heavily influenced by:  Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, 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 at  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/promomanusa.  

New Chapbook:  Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems by Michael Lee Johnson.

Michael has been published in over 25 countries. He is also editor/publisher of five poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site:
http://poetryman.mysite.com. All of his books are now available at Amazon.com, Bookworld, and Barnes & Noble.