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Nicholas Johnson

Photo by George Kunze


Nicholas Johnson

Facts of Life

It takes 32 feet of rope to hang the average man.
In Kansas that's a fact. Do you believe marriages are
happier and last longer in Orlando? The worst

in Albuquerque? I'm not making this up. It's true:
When you shoot a bullet through a bubble,
the bubble doesn't break at the point of entry.

It breaks when the bullet leaves. What ability
to maintain integrity! If cohesion goes
in any realm, things get ready to blow: Atomic

particles, heads of state. Astronomers look farther
ahead, seeing ruination staring them in the face
millions of years off. Thank God they found us

somewhere else to go. Too bad we can't get there yet.
They're working on it, though. In fact, my IQ rose ten points
just listening to classical music. It's true.

Coffee drinkers are less likely to commit suicide.
They add up columns of numbers fast and accurate like me.
I know where dust comes from and I know where it goes.

But why does every rainbow have an arc? Things start
piling up:  Lynchings, broken promises, a sharp blade
in a tube of lipstick, red eclipses, virtual reality.

Stray bullets remind us the world's turned hard
against us. And if you listen to country, be careful not to
take your own life or turn on someone else. The blues sure

hold us down. What can you do? Coins on the roll sound
more fateful in the beggar's cup, and you can't help but hear
the storm of harvest corn sliding down an endless chute.

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