Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Manic is the Dark Night

by Michael Lee Johnson

Deep into the forest
the trees have turned
black and the sun
has disappeared in
the distance beneath
the earth line, leaving
the sky a palette of grays
sheltering the pine trees
with pitch-tar shadows.
It's here in this black
and sky gray the mind
turns psycho
tosses norms and pathos
into a ground cellar of hell,
tosses words out through the teeth.
"Don't smile or act funny,
try to be cute with me.
How can I help you today
out of your depression?"
I feel jubilant. I feel over the moon
with euphoric gaiety.
Damn, I just feel happy!
Back into the wood of somberness
back into the twigs,
sedated the psychiatrist
scribbles, notes, nonsense on a pad of yellow paper.
"Mania, oh yes, mania, I prescribe
lithium. Do I need to call the police?"
No sir, back into the dark woods I go.
Controlled to get my meds.
Twist and rearrange my smile,
crooked, to fit the immediate need.
Deep in my forest,
the trees have turned black again.
To satisfy the conveyer.
The Lord of the dark wood.

Try the audio version
© 2022 Michael Lee Johnson.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 266 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 5 Pushcart Prize awards and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 443 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/

Find more by Michael Lee Johnson in the Author Index.

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