Native I Am, Cocopa (V3)

Now once-great events fading
into seamless history,
I am a mother, proud.
My native numbers are few.
In my heart digs many memories
forty-one relatives left in 1937.
Decay is all left of their bones, memories.
I pinch my dark skin.
I dig earthworms
farm dirt from my fingertips
grab native
Baja and Southwestern California,
its soil and sand wedged between my spaced teeth.
I see the dancing prayers of many gods.
I am Cocopa, a remnant of the Yuman family.
I extend my mouth into forest fires
Colorado rivers, trout-filled mountain streams.
I survive on corn, melons, and
pumpkins, mesquite beans.
I still dance in grass skirts
drink a hint of red Sonora wine.

I am a mother, proud.
I am parchment from animal earth.

Note: This is the story poem of the Cocopah Indian tribe and their journey over the years. “The River People descended from the greater Yuman-speaking area, which occupied lands along the Colorado River, and the Cocopah Indian tribe had no written language. However, historical records have been passed on orally and by outside visitors.” Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era.

 

Sweet Nectar (V2)

Daddy wants to see a hummingbird.
Ruby-throated hummingbird
devil in feathers,
Illinois baby come to me,
challenge my feeder
sip up, drain nectar,
no straw needed.
You are a master of your craft.
My thumb your measurements
your brain 1-grain size
white rice the same as mine.
Your vision impeccable
clean your glasses thick and sticky,
murky migration into your
miracle little boy
prove 2 me you
are the real Wild Bill Hickok
dancing with your Calamity Jane
tick tock, a year there, year back,
3,000 miles across the saltwater
the route to Mexico, traveler
landing South America,
shake the dice toss them
you bandit.
Will you return hummingbird
daddy is on the blender,
mixing new formulas
bright new color nectar.

 

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 2,013 new publications, and his poems have appeared in 40 countries; he edits, publishes ten poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018. Two hundred twenty-four poetry videos are now on YouTube. He was the Editor-in-chief of Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, and Warriors with Wings: The Best in Contemporary Poetry. Johnson is also a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society.