poem index


Daniel Johnson

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Photo credit: Ebele Okpokwasili-Johnson
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Daniel Johnson published How to Catch a Falling Knife, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award, in 2010 with Alice James Books. In connection with the book’s release, Johnson performed an illuminated version of the text involving poetry, original music, and the found home movies of William Bradley, a World War II-era Fuller Brush salesman from Davenport, Iowa. Johnson’s poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2007, The Iowa Review, The Boston Review, American Letters & Commentary, and I Have My Own Song for It: Modern Poems of Ohio. He is the founding executive director of 826 Boston, a youth writing center, which is part of the national network founded by writer Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari. He was named the executive director of Mass Poetry in 2018. Johnson lives with his wife and children in Boston. 

by this poet

Rockets concuss. Guns rattle off.
Dogs in a public square
feed on dead horses.

I don’t know, Jim, where you are.
When did you last see
birds? The winter sky in Boston

is gray with flu. Newspapers,
senators, friends, even your mom
on Good Morning America—

no one knows where you are.
It’s night, cold and
We drank hard water.
Spoke in plain language.

Said what we didn't

with a joke or a look.
One went missing—

let silence drill its hole.
A second fell ill.

We cloaked our mirrors. 
Slashed a red X

on the door to our house.
Pass over us, I asked

the raven sky,
or burn in me 

a second mouth.