The HyperTexts

Johnmichael Simon

Johnmichael Simon

I started writing poetry seriously as retirement age arrived. Before that, spaced out over forty years, a handful of verse, perhaps a dozen poems written mostly in moments of anguish. Then I met my life partner, Helen Bar-Lev, an artist, who sparked my creative flame and I began writing furiously. Day-by-day the output mounted and now only three years later I can count three published books on which we collaborated, a first and a third prize in an international competition, the Reuben Rose, numerous honorable mentions in other contests and a whole bunch of appearances in anthologies and internet publications. For all of which I am deeply grateful to the muse, to my partner, to various editors and judges and to all who have read and enjoyed my scribblings.

The Machzor

The old Machzor sits on the shelf
its cover brown and gold unfondled now
three decades and some I’ve carried it
through changed addresses, seasons etched
across my brow

My birds have flown the nest yet still
the Machzor rests beside the book
from whence I sang Bar Mitzvah prayers
and now my son across the seas, repeats
its melodies, these same and ancient airs

And like a bird remembering its place of birth
the Machzor sings to him across the earth
How goodly are thy tents O Jacob
thy dwelling places Israel

 Johnmichael Simon

An Educated Point Of View

Down through history they march
the backward spellers
the number crunchers
the deja-vu specialists
the crystal ball peerers,
Tarot readers
coffee grind interpreters
star-chart starers
voyagers from beyond
the boundaries of time
the gates of death

We laugh at them
a little nervously
we who know better
our time invested in rigid disciplines
hard-earned degrees
and all the decorations
that bedeck the gowns
and mortar-boards of academia

We peer into atoms
like bespectacled chameleons
and see only endless rows of mirrors
we delve into dictionaries
of prime numbers
unified field equations
big-bang theories
evolutionary hypotheses
crack the creator’s code
only to find further exceptions
that prove the rule

Then after the books are written and burned
after the microscopes are reluctantly put aside
after the week is spent polishing proofs
we shower
don fresh clothes
light candles
and holding our children’s hands firmly
we set off for synagogue
church or mosque
to chant our prayers
and make our requests
to an anonymous father

Would we but know
that there he sits
in his attic
throwing the dice
chasing the stars
and scratching his head

 Johnmichael Simon

I am Dry

I am dry
Dry as a seed in its remembrance
Dry as a nun’s history book
Dry as an old divorcee
So full of lost and found resentments
That he’s lost all his blood

I am dry
Dry as an ancient tomb
Dry as a miser’s fingers
Parchment fading in its hidden nook
Lost in a forgotten corner

I am dry
Poems not relentless any more
Leaves that drift down to foreign heaps
To empty bottles
To children crying in the night
To lovers turned enemies
To dreaming about the horrors
The morrow may bring

Empty plates
Broken cups
Chocolate powder all spilled on the ground
Grains of sweetness waiting to be carried patiently
Into ant’s granaries
Only to be trampled by uncaring boots

I am dry
Will it ever it rain again?

 Johnmichael Simon

Selective Extermination

Came home at ten
Opened the door
Ran to my den
Tripped over my cat on the floor
Turned on the light
Zzat, the bulb flashed and died
Groped to the computer
Which refused to come alive
Shit what’s next?
Oh fuck it, there’s a disk in the floppy drive
Pulled it out, pressed return
Nothing happened, oh sweet Jesus
Do these things happen just to tease us?
May those software bozos burn in hell
Please, please God, let my beauty be well

At last with a shudder and a whirr
The machine started up to my elation
The monitor lit and my eyes devoured her
My latest and greatest creation
If she had been deleted I would have cracked up
And killed myself for not having backed up

Muttering a few choice epithets
I finished off the final steps
Clicked the mouse, held my breath
As she sailed out to bring instant death
To a billion archives of hardcore photography
Websites for penis pills Viagra and pornography
Consigning them to extinction in a single blast
Sweet revenge was mine at last!

 Johnmichael Simon

The HyperTexts