Right, Write.

This is something to write about for someone who will read it.
[Chris Johnson's writing journal]

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Ask me, ask me, ask me...

Driving for the first time in a while

down the four-hundred and testing my eyes,
which might be weakening,
by looking at the exits and reading the street names and
trying not to crash while I do this.

I have driven this route with you in the passenger seat
on one of the many occasions that
the airport would be our parting-ways.

I have driven this route in the passenger seat
on the way to the airport
to follow you over the ocean, just for a visit.

With bad eyes and a worse memory,
exits don’t bring back the song on the radio
that we sang to together, that I hummed on my own,
and apartment buildings
don’t remind me of where we lived.

Crossing three lanes to the expressway
makes me glad there is little traffic
as speeding home rushes the forgetting
that will get you off my mind.

I Will Feel Distant From You

when the clock reads 1:32AM and it’s really 12:32AM,
when the weather outside is 10°C but feels like 5°C,

when the milk runs out right after I fill my bowl of Shreddies,
when the song ends as I pull into my driveway,

when I check my phone and, at that moment, receive a message,
and when I respond saying, “I miss you.”


I think I knew I was a person
before someone whispered in my ear, “you are a person.”

Falling in love with the idea
of an idea. This poem is between me and you,

and if the weather asks,
I will say I will be bringing a guest or not attending at all.

When the winter stretches on for this long,
I become a hopeless romantic.

In a season, these feelings will be my own
waiting for weather to change.

Seconds Before Rain

I wonder why people take black and white photographs
when the picture captures enough ghosts already.

I wonder why you laugh after you jump at the sound of thunder
when you know the worst has yet to come.

I wonder why we kiss
when we know we’re leaving.


On the spectacularly normal day
when it takes me an hour to read thirty pages
of that book I should have finished last week,
when the KD turns out just right,
when the grey sky makes me feel lazy
and sleepy after sleeping in,
when Giant Tiger has exactly nothing I need,
when I hear from a few friends
who forgot to text me back last night,
I will tell myself that nothing is necessarily wrong,
and I will tell myself that everything is still new.

Jam Jar

A chance under
hot water,
a chance with the tea towel
twisting for traction.

A chance for
you to open up a little,

sleeping with
your head in the refrigerator
so I’ll know where you’ll be.

A chance
these aren’t even
the preserves I need.

She’s a jar:
not quite the enemy I’m looking for,
but you could open up a little bit.

If This, Then This

If you left the room first,
then I stayed standing where you last hugged me.
If I stayed standing where you last hugged me,
then fluorescent lights didn’t cast my shadow awkwardly.
If fluorescent lights didn’t cast my shadow awkwardly,
then I felt alone in that room.
If I felt alone in that room,
then it was not because you left the room first.

Walking in the Rain and Listening to Grace

like everything is the way it was yesterday.
Some days you have to believe in pathetic fallacy.

Reasonable Advice

It might be a way outside.
It might be a door.
It might just be the deep breath you’ve been waiting for.
It might be the first drink on the house.
It might just be looking good.
It might be a fake door.
It might be one of those brick walls painted like a door.
It might trick the coyote.
It might be my last chance to purchase from Acme.
It might be failure-prone.
It might just be the failure we need.
It might be an end.
It might just end.

Little Successes

Charlotte’s really hoping that I know what I’m doing.
The weather’s been better for a while,

just show me some road lines pointing off to a vantage
and I’ll start walking.

Darling, this is the last time I’ll call you darling.
If I smiled when you smiled, would you smile?

Step outside in the sun and see
there’s a whole sidewalk for the taking.

The best thing about you is that you’ll sleep while I’m working.
Whisper, “don’t wait up,” and come to bed.

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