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Poetry on 'Roids
By Markham Johnson

Some nights you dream of revising Shakespeare,
Of translating Chaucer into Cherokee, of carving new words
hard and pure as testosterone out of the raw fiber of true meaning.
Imagine—the muse idles at your breakfast table
Familiar as an old tabby cat who rubs your legs
While you write, releasing little electric arcs of inspiration,
Like the hardwood crack of the perfect metaphor,
Or a baseball slugged out of the park,
And you're so sure you just stand there at home plate
And watch, and Jack Buck's calling your shot,
And your daughter's on her feet in the stands,
And now you're raising your hands above your favorite chair,
And it's poetry, dude, pure as your juice-perfected swing.
And as your new elegy disappears into a fraternity of flash bulbs
And waiting hands, you keep wondering—what if Will had known
About andro? And doesn't it feel somehow like cheating?


MARKHAM JOHNSON's poems have been published in many literary magazines, including Nimrod, Kansas Quarterly, Louisville Review, and Indiana Review. His book, Collecting the Light, was published by the University Press of Florida. For the past ten years he has taught English at Holland Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he also coaches middle school baseball.

© 2008 Markham Johnson


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