Poetry: "Digital Son" & "Beginning with the End"

Digital Son

Blow off the dust, plug it in, turn it on, he thought waking that morning. How long has it been? Images of the last time together were becoming faint. The days are like scattered clouds, the flowers like cracks in the skin. The hours have become tired hands, withered and gray, pasted on a doll’s face under a pile of stones in the attic. Shadows have become liquid mercury, vaporizing at room temperature.

There’s no place like home, they said. It’s always good to be back home, they said. Home is where the heart is, they said. He remembered bits of a song about a stranger, but the words were in a language no longer spoken. It was cold that day, like today. The decaying limbs of the family oak still lay where they fell that winter, broken from the weight of ice glaze. One day, I’ll get around to cleaning that up, he thought. The long-dormant screen flickered.

Beginning With The End

I don’t usually talk to strangers

but, this time, I’ll make an exception

Every day, when the sun rises like it does,

it’s like the first time

Is there a first time for everything is a

question I often ask myself

Celestial bodies appear to be in perpetual motion,

constantly moving, maintaining order

Appearances can be deceiving and subject to

external, imperceptible forces

When a fire burns, its fuel converts to ash,

smoke, and some invisible gases

When lakes and wood frogs freeze in winter

the earth is farthest from the sun

When I’m in a crowded room, my evaporating sweat converts me into a fire alarm sprinkler

Some days, I have to take a small mirror and hold it

to my nostrils to see if I’m breathing

I imagine time can never stop, never stand still,

but isn’t time an illusion

I planted new flowers, they were supposed to

last forever, but they died

Kenneth Johnson is a visual artist, writer, musician, and educator living and creating in Claremont, California. His work includes myriad subjects, from the conceptual to the mundane. His poetry has appeared in Beir Bua Journal, Carousel, Written Tales, and Subterranean Blue Poetry.