Carl Sandburg, Idols In The Sand, And Galesburg Shacks: By Michael Lee Johnson

Idols are what idols appear to be.
Idols are men that idols are.
They are the sleepwalkers,
the self-styled hobos,
saints in small villages people living alone.
Birthright of saviors, railroad men, famous poets.
Birthright of little places, big hearts,
speakers of cold skillets and dainty bedrooms.
Folk songs fall, black and white,
divided cracks celebrated brick streets.
They form modest communities,
quiet spaces, momentous churches
named my denominations and breed
rail tracks divide their ideologies, brands
of beer, run down shacks divide their lives.
Property vultures, ex Maytag mongrels'
Maytag treason, traders of trade, traitors to Mexico,
walk simple steps away.
Jobbers walk and jobs move away.
Streets quiet lights, slate deserted
house shacks of many races abandoned, colors
form rows PMS color charts leading to his birthplace,
folk songs, Swedish heritage, Remembrance Rock,
savior of a poetic dream born in a slum.
Just a roadside museum,
mile and a half walk from downtown,
summer sweat, drenching summer heat,
Galesburg railroad days June 2010, ending
beginning humidity, snippets of beer bottles
tossed around, Saturday night drunks
lie in flush-untailored grass.
A three-room shack, half-pint bedroom,
curtains merge the window with sunrays,
more summer heat.
Idols grow as children, their ambitions
toss them away.
Idols are what idols appear to be.
Idols are men that idols are.


Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer and small business owner of custom imprinted promotional products and apparel: www.promoman.us, from Itasca, Illinois. He is heavily influenced by: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg. This poem was inspired by a love of Carl Sandburg's poetry and life. The poem is based on a real travel experience to Galesburg, IL in June 2010, 'Railroad Days, ' and developed from the vivid pictures and images taken my Carol Marcus, a devoted friend of many years. This poems won 2nd place in of the 2011 Big Write, Galesburg, IL. adult poetry contest, sponsored by Galesburg Public Library.

by Michael Lee Johnson

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