Thursday, June 1, 2017


Let’s begin with the good news. The total viewer-ship of Our Poetry Archive has crossed over the magical figure of 200000. I believe it would certainly give you immense joy, those of you who are associated with this monthly poetry journal for a long time. We are really proud of you, as it is only for you dear friends that OPA has became so popular among the poetry lovers around the world. We have another good news to announce! After the immense success of the Continental Special Editions of OPA and the popularity of the two previously published Anthologies, we are going to publish our third Anthology this year. This time we have decided to publish the “Anthology of Women Poets”.  So we are extending an open invitation to the poetess all over the world to participate in this Anthology of Women Poets.  All you have to do is, send us at least three of your best ever poetical creations and one of your current profile picture along with your short BIO written only in 3rd person narrative with the explicit confirmation of your permission to publish your copyrighted materials in Our Poetry Archive. Our email address is as usual: And The Last Date of submission is 20th June 2017.

Actually as an artist or poet or writer we have a legacy of our past which keeps alive in our present and becomes eternal in our future. This is the tradition of literary genius of which we are the torch bearer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual talent only repeats itself in every age; on the contrary, individual talent illuminates the tradition in its unique personality and creative genius! The eternal expresses itself through this creative genius in every age. We in our limited capacity are trying to reflect this constant rediscovery of our individual talents in our relation to this literary tradition! All our efforts are aimed towards this goal.

 Yet I must admit, the purpose of poetry goes beyond this rediscovery of individual talents in relation to the literary traditions and heritage. Poetry is also the highway to bring every single human soul to the world humanity. Poetry is also the platform to air our voice of protest against all sorts of activities that offend the core sense of human civilization. We think it is also the moral responsibility of poets and writers alike to put their individual voice of protest, agony, pain and sufferings in words and lines in this time of political turbulence everywhere. Nobody is sure about who is the offender or protector. Now and then innocent peoples are dying in the most violent manner one could imagine. We have witnessed the massacres in Syria, Manchester, Iraq, Afghanistan, Paris and elsewhere. There is no life security for the citizens around the world. People have lost beliefs in the honesty and integrity of the society and political institutions alike. You don’t know where to turn up for shelter and security. You don’t know when the next suicidal terrorist attack will occur and where or the missiles will strike or the war planes will drop tons of arsenals. Such is the situation in most of the regions of the world. It seems, this is not the right time of literary activity or poetical creations. No, on the contrary we believe it strongly it is also the responsibility of the literary fraternity around the world to mobilize their resources and creativities to bring the world consensus against this war politics of the superpowers which is the root cause of war and terrorism around the world. We the sensible people of the world, poets and writers alike should try to change the order of the day through our creative endeavors only to save the world and humanity. This is everyone’s moral responsibility. We at Our Poetry Archive do exercise this belief in works. 

Poetry is also a means to transcend our personal visionary limitations to reach the cultural extensions of our traditions and inheritance in this ever changing world. Poetry also constantly propels us towards the future. And a literary magazine or specially a poetical journal has much to offer to ensure communication between the poet and the readers evolving through traditions and cultural inheritance. So we would constantly keep on trying to establish these live communications, and only to ensure this, like the previous numbers, this month we are presenting poet Michael Lee Johnson of USA as the Poet Of The Month. Readers will find an interview of the poet taken by our editorial team supervised by poetess Deborah Langford and poetess Stacia Reynolds.  We are really grateful to the poet for the interview and hope our readers will also enjoy both his poems and interview.

Those who would like to participate in our upcoming editions, please send at least three poems and a profile picture, along with your explicit permission for publication in OPA well before the 21st of every month. You can also add one short Biography written in the 3rd person narrative along with the submission. With this note I would like to invite you all to this collection of poems of the World Poets. I would also like to convey our gratitude to all the poets who have participated in this number with their literary brilliance, on behalf of the entire editorial desk of OPA.

From The Editorial Desk





email us to:





JUNE 2017

OPA How long have you been writing Poetry? We would like to know the early stories about your growing up as a poet or writer in general. Who are your favorite Poets? What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? Had they inspired you a lot, do you believe in inspiration as a guiding force behind writings at all?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I started writing when I was 17 years of age off and on.  My life was heavily influenced by the Vietnam War and the stress related around it.  I started to write simple poems about a cabin in the wilderness, etc.  Ultimately I did end up in Canada for 10 years.  Carl Sandburg was my first love and I still love his work today.  I would listen to his voice I had on tape recorder and grew to sound like him.  I have created a YouTube video as a tribute to Carl Sandburg and you can tell my voice is very similar.  Others that have influenced me no exact order Irving Layton (Canadian poet), Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Leonard Cohen, and Charles Bukowski.  On the female side, Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, Margaret Atwood (Canadian poet), Attwood, Mary Oliver, Sara Teasdale, and lately Maya Angelou.  I am a lover of history, philosophy, religions.  I always liked Hermann Hesse, and Jiddu Krishnamurti.  I believe in a poetic mind which is the source of inspiration.

OPA What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you write?  What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I don’t deal with criticisms.  This was the most honest comment I ever received from a fellow editor. 
“You're a rebel, a trouble maker, would be my best guess.  A creative writing teacher's worst nightmare.   Ah well.  Most true artists go their own way against the tide.  Actually, that's what I LIKE about your work.  It makes its own way, its brusque (abrupt or offhand in speech or manner) and weepy (but unsentimental) all at once.  It shoulders in like a motorcycle guy who looks tough, and IS tough, but who is also a peach of a guy.  I see that you are enjoying much success during the past year or so, and I'm so glad we saw your genius and grabbed you up for Artistry and now for Magnolia Magazine.  It's a pleasure.  Thanks, Magnolia Magazine.  Here is the way I feel about you:”

OPA What is your favorite poem you have ever written? Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I don’t have a favorite poem of my own, they are all set in stage at different points and times in my life.  It has been a strange journey.  Some of the first poems ever written by me are still as they were then, unchanged and getting published.  Conversely, I have many, many poems with revisions that drive me nuts.  One poem “Harvest Time” is up to 8 revisions.  I can’t say if I am better now than I was then.  I have moved away from simple poems of love and romance to more complex poems and images.  I have played with a few poetry forms but and basically free verse.  I do write some cinquain poems and quite a few ekphrastic poems, many of my poems come from history.

OPA   What has been your favorite part of being a poet or and author? What has been your least favorite?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON The most pleasing times have been recently on Facebook Groups as administrator, where I have focused on developing other individual novice poets who lack confidence and direction.  Many of these “novices” are now established poets on their own right.  The least favorite are the “emotional wars” many poets go through in their lives that turn into poetry.  At the same time I feel those experiences in exile during the Vietnam War, the lonely feeling, isolation, and failed marriages, sleeping in my Volkswagen Beetle for six months all made the poet I am today.  To be a poet you must see life and experience life slightly than most people.

OPA  Did you get to quit your day job and become a writer and or author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I worked for other for many years and sort of regret it but for the last 19 years I have been self-employed doing custom imprinted promotional products for income.  I was a late start on financial security but lucked out when Clinton became President and invested in mutual funds with all the up and downs and simply hanged in there.  Even at 69 years of age I still need to make about $600-800 dollars a month plus a small social security check to make ends meet.  Fortunately at this time in my life 85% of my business and poetry and poetry groups are ran out of my condo.  I have very little debt and things are paid off which allows time for my activities.

OPA  Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? What genre are you most looking forward to explore during your writing career? Why?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON  I’m a simple person, not simple minded, but like the basics of nature, the birds for 19 years on my balcony eating out of the birdfeeder every day, photography as an amateur, prayers to Jesus, doing poetry videos on YouTube.  At this time I have over 133 poems on YouTube and have written over 450 published poems in 33 different countries, translated into 4 different languages.  I have hundreds of old poems and new starter poems to keep me going.

OPA: Do you think literature or poetry is really essential in our life? If so why? How does it relate to the general history of mankind?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I have no total idea how poetry relates to the history of mankind, I do know poetry has been in the history of mankind.  Poetry is believed to have been recited or sung, employed as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law as far back as recorded history say 2,500 B.C.E.  I think that makes it essential to mankind.

OPA Our readers would like to know your own personal experience regarding the importance of literature and poetry in your life.

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON When I was young, 17-30 or so poetry at times depressed me made me ruminate.  Often came out of difficult times.  As I have aged poetry has become a healer for me.  With my success as a poet, relatively speaking, with several chapbooks, books, and Editor-in-chief of two recently large poetry anthologies it has been nerve trying but a job.  When I was young, I suffered bouts of depression, even as a social worker/counsellor at the time not recognizing it within myself.  Now focused on others trying to make them successful poets, my own poetry being published, and thanking God each day for what I have not dwelling on what I do not have, the cyclical depression has gone away for now…fingers crossed.

OPA Do you think people in general actually bother about literature in general?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON This is a hard question, the need to see seemingly small events and creating emotional evocative poetry is built in to us right brain types.  The creative zone is a magical place, left side of brain: analytical and logical, right side of brain: artistic and creative.  Most of us have a mix, I’m very analytical yet my creative side is stronger.  I think our gadget world of hand held devises is a nightmare of distraction with tons of worthless apps, at the same time it allow access to online writing sites never available years ago, makes getting published easier and less expensive than typewriter days, international coupons, ripping endless sheets out of the typewriter with just one error, fewer stamps, no enclosed return envelopes, etc.

OPA Do you think society, as a whole, has a factor in shaping you as a poet, or your poetry altogether?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON Beyond doubt societal changes, political movements, polices, wars, turmoil, shape me as a poet.  Without Vietnam War I would not have about 30 poems of my experiences within that time period.  Without romance good and bad what would happen or never happened to love poems?  You cannot live in this world and not be affected by it.  Then again there was Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau attempting to live in isolation but he was not totally isolated after all he had a brilliant friend in Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I forgot to mention in my early days I read my share of both Thoreau and Emerson.

OPA We would also like to know; how do you relate the present literary trends with the literary heritage of your own country?  (This question is more or less the same so I’m incorporating here as one)  Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? Is it an incentive or an obstacle in becoming an international writer?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON I’m not sure I understand this question.  I’m not sure I know what those trends you are referring to are?  I would have to know what you consider “present literary trends” to respond to this.  We are all influenced by our heritage, where we came from to where we may go but without your definition of trends I find it hard to respond to this.  I do know exposure to other heritages and their histories influence writing style of mine.  Living in both Canada and the United States integrated, expanded and also divided my life.  My first book of poetry was initially going to be non-fiction account and turned into a poetry book with the title:  The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom.

OPA Do you support feminisms? Can literature play any decisive role in feminism at all?

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON This is a topic of no real interest to me.  If you are defining feminism as the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes in my world of poetry it simply is not my experience.  I make no separation between the sexes when it comes to creativity, I have always seen them as equals in creativity.  I know the “heritage” was not always that way.  In my poetry world today it is basically all equal and respected.  From a pure talent perspective I might be inclined to favor many female poets over male poets.  Now that is crazy right?  How women were viewed and how viewed today does not influence my selections of favorite poets or poems.

OPA What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?


OPA   Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?

Never let anyone steal your joy.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, nominated Best of the Net 2016.  Poetry published in 33 countries, 133 YouTube poetry videos:  Michael Lee Johnson has several books, and chapbooks published and is Editor-in-chief of 2 poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses.  He is administrator of a Facebook poetry group over 12,970 members:  He is editor of 10 poetry sites.
The editorial staff of this project: Deborah Brooks Langford, Stacia Lynn Reynolds; sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.




Next life I will be a little higher on the pecking order.
No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes,
or Ricky's All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.
I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs, crickets don't bother,
swamp flies don't bother me-I eat them.  Alligators I avoid.
I urinate on lily pads mate across borders, continents at will.
Someone else from India can wash my dishes locally for me.
Forward all complaints to that religious office of Indian affairs.


December 1st 2016,
detective Johnson here.
I see my shrink for the 1st time,
I’m low maintenance, one every 3 months,
Dr. Pennypecker.  He is tight ass conservative type
with a raisin dry personality who tries to keep sober
and focused so he can focus on me.
I’m a grade 3 drop out with a degree
in elementary school bullshit.
I ask him how his children are.
“I only have one, let’s focus on YOU!"
Nice haircut, Dr. Pennypecker,
have you ever noticed how the poor people
who usually come here, are Mexicans,
and they all can afford a $60 a month cell phone?
“Let’s stay focused!”
I tell Dr. Pennypecker I love Jesus, I love the Holy Ghost,
I love the Father; most of these Mexicans do too.
With all these rain clouds up above outside this window here,
I believe we are all together until I pass.
“Now that is interesting, let’s focus on that!”
I tell Dr. Pennypecker when I get upset about something
I know is my fault and I do have problems
sleeping but I don’t dwell on that too much.
“Let’s focus on that!"
Is 20 milligrams of Citalopram, antidepressants, generic,
enough or should we cut it back?
Oh no, don’t do that Dr. Pennypecker.  By the way, Dr. Pennypecker,
how do you cut your hair in the back when you have your own Wal-Mart
Pro Clipper Haircutting Kit set on # 2?
"I put a paper back there and I put a mirror back there and I sort of do,
no, no, let's not focus on that!"
I walk out the door ready for my next appointment 3 months down the road.
I open the door for a stranger ready for his appointment; I say, "have a good day."
He is so self-centered, that his long hair and the way he moves back and forth
sways, swings, doesn't say anything he is so damn self-absorbed in his own gray cloud.

This was my day with Dr. Pennypecker.


I edit my life
clothesline pins & clips
hang to dry,
dirty laundry,
I turn poetic hedonistic
in my early 70's
reviewing the joys
and the sorrows
of my journey.
I find myself wanting
a new review, a new product,
a new time machine,
a new internet space,
a new planet where
we small, wee creative
creatures can grow.


Fern Dickson life untrue to her marital vows, peachy,
what did you expect from the Indiana Rockville whore?
Daddy was welder man, sweat, bleeder bending
over hot steel rolls all day, he was a verb man,
Oliver farmer, noun, welder machine man.
Fern Dickson was a sneak out the door whore, peachy,
2:30 pm. daily was her homemaker check out time.
Waddling penguin style down to Kubiak’s bar
to write her own mystery novel.
Demolition of their marriage, started with table hopping at the bar,
peachy, free drinks and a celebration of wholesale sex.
Narrative, family circles and circuses run in the gypsies of whores,
daddy dog, dancing sin, with the Rockville whore.
Daddy comes home from work,
angered at the burned potato fries,
cold Sauerkraut, Bush's fresh out of the can,
maple cured baked beans, cold Cole Slaw, A&P grocery store.
Narrative, old prostitute whore habits die-hard.
Coon hunting, fox hunting daddy, I’m the storyteller
of this Rockville, Indiana whore.
Her brass tits suck then stuck in the mouths of strangers at the local bar, peachy.
Fern has no regular job, bar hopping, table jumping,
became her unemployment check, salary, entertainment and career, peachy.
This cemetery now is Archangel Lucifer, secretary, note taker
for the Rockville whore.


There is a full moon,
distant in this sky tonight,

Gray planets planted
on an aging white, face.

Children, living and dead,
love the moon with small hearts.

Those in heaven already take gold thread,
drop the moon down for us all to see.

Those alive with us, look out their
bedroom windows tonight,
we smile, then prayers, then sleep.


Paint your face with cosmetic smiles.
Toss your breast around with synthetic plastic.
Don’t leak single secrets to strangers-
locked in your trailer 8 foot wide by 50 foot long
with twisted carrots, cucumbers, weak batteries,
and colorful dildos-you’ve even given them names:
Adams’s pleasure skin, big Ben on the raise, Rasputin:
the Mad Monk-oh no, no, no.
Your legs hang with the signed signatures
of playboys and drifters ink.
The lot rent went up again this year.
Paint your face, walk the streets
again with cosmetic smiles.


Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, nominated Best of the Net 2016.  Poetry published in 33 countries, 133 YouTube poetry videos:  Michael Lee Johnson has several books, and chapbooks published and is Editor-in-chief of 2 poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses.  He is administrator of a Facebook poetry group over 12,970 members:  He is editor of 10 poetry sites.



to A.B.

I can’t imagine
Your hands
they stroke slowly
beginning from the wrist
up the arm to the neck and lips
and downwards
across the hips and thighs
all the way to the feet
I can’t imagine
Your hands
I must have them on me


they were startled
a woman and she was standing still
when doctors said
“nothing could be done”
they were startled
when not a single drop
the coffin
they were startled
she simply packed
his things
as if she did it every day
they could not see
when she entered the kitchen
she cried bitter tears
on a green-topped table
a bill
for him forever


yes, for the first time I’m alone here
I don’t know if I find a way to all the places
or get off a bus where I should
legs remember better than head
the post office - here we found a shelter from the rain
this road leads to the Vistula
there we were at the Film Festival
further up there should be Sadowa street
and on the left the cafeteria “Kwadrans”
we ate pancakes there after early morning shows
on the right the restaurant “Widok”
the best dinners and suppers
front yard, cellar door, back yard
and again a bus station and a post office
to the left a town market and two steps earlier the best waffles
a grocery store and cream rolls
and… a well (my darling - I miss you, don’t you?)
souvenirs, souvenirs, souvenirs
don’t break your legs entering a church
postcards – I always bought them on the left side of Lubelska street
I like collecting cards
I write a date on each and know everything
a garden, a garden, a garden
roosters, paintings, oh!
this is here where Łazorek used to sit
his “Umbrellas”, “Plebanka Street” and “A House on the Hill”
[hang on the wall in our living room
I miss him now
a jump to the Small Market
the film shows were here, too
the best wicker baskets (besides Rudnik)
and pictures of Kazimierz - I have two of them
a small bridge over a moat (my childhood fascination)
and suddenly I am on the exit road to Czerniawy
I still have to stop by “Mandaryn”
and go back to Vistula boulevards

AGATA LINEK comes from Stalowa Wola. A poet, prose writer, animator of culture, editor of volumes, reviewer of poetry, drama critic, copywriter, Carer of the Poetry at Artefakty Literary Portal. A holder of four degrees at the Jagiellonian University, where she is currently writing her PhD dissertation. A member of the Literary Group „Phoenix”, the Literary Association „Witryna”, the Polish Authors Association and Association of Polish Writers. She has won numerous national and international poetry and prose competitions. She made her debut in 2002. She published in local and nationwide, poetic anthologies and in USA, India, Australia, Slovakia, Ukraine. Her poems were translated into Slovak, English and Russian. They were also presented in the Polish Radio. She published four poetry collections: „Are You an Elf?” (2006, the Award of Rzeszów Association of Polish Writers for Podkarpackie Province Debut), „Laugh of a Night Butterfly” (2010), „Singing of a Dolphin” (2012, nominated to „Gałązka Sosny” Stalowa Wola City Literary Award) and “Whisper of a Puma” (2015, Polish-English version, “Gałązka Sosny” Stalowa Wola City Literary Award, nominated to „Gold Rose” Literary Award and to „Orpheus 2016” K.I. Galczynski’s Poetry Award). She is interested in film and music. She dreams of a trip to Australia. Her country of origin: Poland mother language: Polish nationality: Polish : place of living: Poland.




Auschwitz could be anywhere.
Plans and ideas are waiting in people's minds.
It only needs time and a little barbed wire.
It is enough to close the sky above the earth,
Extinguish hopes, break the rainbow.
Atomic suns will brighten again
with burning rays of death.
Choking dust of hatred will blow in everywhere.
The sown wind will stir up the sandy storms.
The Great War about everything and about nothing.
Losers, winners


Mother spread a carpet on the fertile ground,
by the damp ribbon of a stream.
Woven of many shapes and colors,
on the canvas of sun’s golden rays,
in seeds and rhizomes it stores
the memory of the beauty of past years.

In the morning,
the eyes of flowers moistened by dew,
intensely flash with all colors
like small pieces of stained glass in church windows.
The evening subtly paints the landscape over
with interplay of light and shadow, and adds a shade of gray.

The garden abides by the laws of nature,
its heart beating to the pace of the seasons.
Both subject to the will of man and independent,
variable in its unbridled beauty,
constantly evades the reign of the creator – the gardener.


Emptiness and relief.
I feel almost nothing.

A swarm of compulsive thoughts flew away.
Like small insects
they intruded everywhere.
I have no hope, no joy, no fear.

Dead stars shine above me
and the moon phases repeat every month.
I observe the metamorphosis of the universe.

I am a jot of living matter
and I change with the cycles of nature,
I submit to the passing time.

I hold on to the thin thread of life.
When it snaps I will leave for the unknown destination.
I will cross the threshold of mortality without fear