by Nicholas Johnson
The red of repeated questions
and their red answers.
The stacked red of chips on green cloth.
The red shift of stars, love retreating,
color of debt,
The sick red of light through closed lids,
the red sweep of the second-hand
blurred lines of where you have been
marked on the eyes’ maps.
Opiates, capsules. What you are
asking: one life, the future,
what you can hold in your hand.
The first cry of the child,
footprints in clay,
Originally published in The Same, Volume 7, Nos. 1-2, Edited by Philip Miller, Summer / Fall 2008, p. 78
Nicholas Johnson (1944-2019) and Maureen Holm (1951-2005) were the co-founders of BigCityLit.
Maureen Holm was a poet, novelist, editor, literary translator, arts lawyer, and senior essayist and articles editor for Big City Lit. She lived in Manhattan. Holm received her B.A. degree in German Literature & Philosophy, J.D. in 1981, an LL.M in 1991. She served as translator/editor for UNIDO, IIASA, Simmering Graz Pauker A.G., Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna). She translated the German Bankruptcy Code for the OECD, and was an interpreter for depositions, hearings, and trials. Her commercial transactional and litigation practice focused on European licensors and manufacturers. She was a founder and co-producer of Lyric Recovery Festival at Carnegie Hall (a biannual of poetry-music).
Nicholas Johnson was the editor of BigCityLit. His chapbook, Degrees of Freedom, is available from Bright Hill Press. We encourage you to read our 20th Anniversary Issue, which is dedicated to Nicholas’ memory.