the poetry that matters

Garrett Johnson

Garrett Johnson is a poet and musician currently residing in his hometown of Athens, Georgia. He studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College and the Evergreen State College. He is currently working on amassing a body of work that consists of poetry, music, and even some visual art. His poetry can also be found in local Athens literary journal The Stray Dog Almanac and the online literary journal The Balloon.


Onions, Tomorrow

there is of course,
the feeling that one is shrouded in a wing,
taken by things other than the gargoyles you met
when you tried to absorb a strange town.

but we know now the perils of trying to find home in strangers
that have always been strangers. now there is a paper receipt sitting in
the space between buildings that pump blood and other nutrients.
i sit with a net, i walk with a frozen tarp, but the fingers

of this certain stage mean to notice
and finally undo knots of bridges
that only existed in mirrors.
left to devices in the gully of humility,

i become truly paralyzed. but there is
yet another weaving, the fleeing but the acceptance
of digestion as a process. you saw me leaving
in times when the spikes finally hit the warm onions.

can we assemble in our still nascent pores a duel tomorrow?

Still Dancing Around It

There are several mantle pieces, or altars, to be looked at.
Each one is moderately sized.
The size is often seen,
and the roses placed in their midst are turned
into jokes, exclamations, and moans behind doors.
Or in other cases, a night's worth of weighted, sandy deconstruction.
And voices, they say in me things that make me jealous.
    Notice, they say,
how the roses glint,
    and how you've stepped on flowerbeds
    with your sealed lips.
    All around here have began to bud by this point.
    You're lost in your own memory,
    blinded by the fate whose arm you twisted.
    What will you do now?


Ones to be called buds,
or maybe algae that helps a pond along.

There are several roses,
and they can't be without a mantle piece, or altar.
There is a call, when the parchment gets wrinkled,
to view a tiny vapor in the body
as akin to a ginseng root in appearance.
"And out of the body to go," we would exclaim,
only to be dancing upon our skins.
The health practitioners say this:
    the mantle inside a corporeal world is fabric,
    and the surrounding crust is lint that will eventually fall
    and be replaced with other lint.
    And yet we can feel the under-netting on the grounds,
    we can definitely breathe the volcano‘s air.

so they say,
    can make things fall over in department stores.
    So we might be able to see see, in times of a rumble,
    exactly which things fall at what time.

Another Voice speaks closer, saying
    of course, earthquakes are usually all too surprising
    for such detail to be absorbed.

I guess you've got to keep waving the tiny flag,
as birthday candles smother the tablecloth in the dark.


    "We all need some bad juices."

    I had a stroke for a year and a half,
    and look at all these formed habits.
    Ghostly it seems, this mouth making these statements.
    No, it wasn't a drought- it had a lot of water that leaked
    and none of it seemed filtered.
    There's the urge of resurgence,
    and so demanding it is
    when either kind of bank
    can be used as a metaphor for a process of recovery.
    I see out the window of the backseat.
    Exactly how lasting is a landscape's healing touch, I wonder?
    The grounds and walls of gardens
    grow bulbous and run into each other like undried paint.

    Segmented Is Flame When You Hold In Secrets,
    But Post-Defeat You Consume Flame Like People Watch Television.


The Weather Got Hot Again

the lion without fur thinks,
"i will be a superhero without context.
my err is the stirring of the wind, a stutter in a pink glass.
this is a taste of victory. a broad sweep,
walking past a donation jar. the crops dully wagging
whatever hangs down between the legs, that's normal.
it's not everyday the grooves of this lawn get to be so colorful.
i need water. lots of it around me. the candle is tailored to know my name.
i am a swift dart, although factories still exist. there's never a lover I wouldn't
do without, unless they are sticky."

still, it rises. the trash in the landfill and the creek never used. many people
are walking by with not too many clothes on. the sweat becomes their own anomaly
as the road arches. the tap at the bar is too far. where did you get that brand on your hide?
this is the most glorious day ever, even though it is just another one.
i'm looking for the clues among you,
this cradle among cut off shorts. without the worm we are lying without air.


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                                                                                                             March 19, 2013