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Poetically Yours - Reminiscing

Roger Johnson
Provided by Roger Johnson
Roger Johnson

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s featured poet is Roger Johnson.

Johnson lived in Sterling, Illinois most of his life. He has an English degree from Bradley University. He worked for 35 years in the customer service department at National Manufacturing. After the plant closed, he worked at Freeport’s Willow Glenn Academy, a school for young people who are mentally impaired. Johnson then worked as a teacher’s aide at Sterling High before he retired.

Johnson said he didn’t discover poetry until college, despite his high school teachers’ efforts to make the artform stick. He credits Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, studying the Psalms, metaphysical poetry, and other things for his change of heart. He said he’s been struggling to kick the habit ever since.

He said his favorite writings contain imagery of trains, train tracks, bridges, dams, factories and mills, cornfields, rivers, rocks and walks down by the old riverside. And a unrelated subject, baseball.

Johnson is married to his wife Ginger and has four children. He now lives in Connecticut with three of them. This poem is called “Introit for Making Up for Lost Time.”

Icy fingers play
A dirge up and down
My spine. Look at my feet
Tap to a tune, tappety Tap- tap-tap.
And on thin, dark ice!
Just look at ’em go.
Oh what, Oh what will I do?
Go boom on the ice
Or step clean through?
Let’s be honest. I slipped,
I fell, but not clean through.
Years ago, I did
Some cruel things—
Cruel, evil things
That leer and linger, like
A black magic marker
In my rear-view mirror.
The Way is my map now,
But my badass, backseat
Driver, he's a No One
Here Gets Out Alive,
Unkind kinda guy,
And he can’t keep still:
It’s them! Just
Like yesterday!
And like the day before that—-
That was them, too!
An’ you know what,
Joni Child,
An’ you do now, don't
You? Don’t you now?
Tomorrow, them good
Ole days, they'll
Still be today!
Hot Damn!


Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.