Connie Johnson

Three Poems – Connie Johnson

On the Nights We Listen to Nina Simone

I sip your whiskey
You analyze my bloodlines
Our mouths are laden with
Unspoken confessions.

Time is short, but we’re here
A soft lingering, your undivided
Attention. Thunder over our heads
It rumbles; but we’re here.

Booze and cigarettes, this music is the ring
On our fingers; I see you pause as we define
Ourselves by the lines, the meter, the lyrics
And what they entail.

You relax
You lean into me
You smile at the haiku I write
For your pleasure:

Spellbinding Nina
Never fails to remind them:
“My baby just cares for me”


All That’s Revealed

Your cocked hat
And your lopsided grin
The bliss you promise
Your deliverance

We’re a long way from home
We are currency, truth untold
We are the grits and the grease in the
Skillet; we are the gin and the sin
And the sizzled relief

At the end of the day
Amidst the trembling
Lights, you swallow all the
Tears that baptized you;

And as the haints bay
At your windows so emphatically,
You come away triumphant

We search for home; we’ll know
What to do when we get there
A smoky haze, an enclave of
Of lilies and dianthus

You live by the words that describe us;
They’re just R&B: Regrets & bygones
Pen the lines from your vault and I’ll sing them
Like a soul provocateur prepared to reveal all:

I know a lot about secrets
Oh and I definitely know what is true
One day you’re going to tell somebody
Who I am and what I am to you


Do Tell

“A woman that’ll tell her age
will tell anything” —an overheard observation

And that might be true, but each year tells a story
Memories take up so much room, jitterbug atop each
Recollection; secret to most, but not to me.

I don’t mind telling my age
Or what’s on my mind.

A fixture: over sixty years on Bourbon Street
Weightless so temporary. Your eyes still able
To see through me, dancing to something
By Irma Thomas:

time is on my side, yes it is

I wanted to give you a photograph so
You’d remember me: Lips, hips, & fingertips;
I believe you were born wanting me.

I wanted to hand you beauty
A non-existent snapshot, an allotment of
Time in which home remained so elusive.

I remember your face, a cross
Between Mississippi Mudbone
And lonely New Orleans.

I’m the voice you heard in your
Darkest dreams, blazing blues! And
I knew how to howl your name.

Blueblack butterscotch; allotment of wasted
Years, consequences and tears. It’s all sacred
Music written on my lips, hips & fingertips:

People, let me tell you
‘Cos I’m about to make it known
If I dance without the man born for me
I’ll still dance ‘til I make it home


Connie Johnson is a Los Angeles, California-based writer who has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared or will be forthcoming in Iconoclast, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, San Pedro River Review, Cholla Needles, Shot Glass Journal, Voicemail Poems, Misfit Magazine, Mudfish 23, Exit 13, Glint Literary Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review and Door Is a Jar. In a Place of Dreams, her digital chapbook, can be found at

1 thought on “Three Poems – Connie Johnson”

  1. I especially love “Do Tell.” A rich, confident, mature voice with lots of experience and soul.

Comments are closed.