photography | carl johnson
the tant mieux project, ed. sadi ranson-polizzotti


Backwards talking knight, his honey-trap lunch box saddle hung Upside-down buckled-below, so kind he –
He taught me all the right moves: how to get from here to there A simple L-direct and I’m gone.

The bluff, your key chain –
I’d toss it off you know
And it is forever lost to the abyss.

Me, your once ghost of electricity
My howling cheekbones, my lemon-lime eyes, my ecstatic face All scream and shout and shake it up
This my farewell kiss –
Oh the small-talk, the gossip, the buzz
I’m sick to death of it ...

At dawn my lover did not come to me –
Did not tell me of his dreams.
So much for Eden – This must not be the place.
I have been searching for him
My once upon a time he, who said
I love you I love you I love you

And you, another, who I saw through my magnifier lens Whose scent I caught, so heady (did you know)
I pray for you (and you me?), official mind-blowers we

I owe you nothing, nor you me
Our mutual conscience co-exploding
The deep-sea fish about us in blue waters Shimmering and glimmering –
As I dive the calm shallows,

I am she. I am her. I’m the one you’ve been seeking. Come: this side of the mirror –
Find me delicate and pointing,
Quiet in the throb of the rain.



the sky our scrim witness


It was years ago now and who are you and where were you anyway?
Nothing to do with it so steer clear as I would of yours. Me in grandfather’s old blue hatchback –

arm window draped beneath the balmy grey sky
Thinking of Him and him – my grandfather and you
He was so ill then: worse then worser
And I, blue then bluer
Parked at the post-office posting one of so many letters home, My watercolor envelopes.

I don’t remember if I had cancer then or not; it didn’t matter. I made soap to ease the mind; I made the best of it.
I made love
I made books
I built a life
That was up to me
And you, your harmonica leading – did you know?
A pied piper in the mackerel morning.
And so when he died, grandfather,
I came following you and your pro-nun-cia-tion in the jingle jangle morning
The heart’s ease my reprieve from night’s of fiery terror, all soul’s lifting
And me a witness – not a thing I could do about it.

 My dreams so awfully prophetic, all over the news, Life death unstoppable moving before my draped lids I sought you out in Canada

In our frost-bitten Winterlude;
I pond-skated quick tight circles (your swan)
The sky our scrim witness
To my quick bladed alphabet on ice.
Sugar and spice and all things...

Being equal.
I saw the deer cross the lake

I jumped a mogul trail
I broke my leg
I screamed a bright red trail down the steepest part of the mountain.

And as your soul rose like smoke
I sped home through a blizzard
As if I could save you –
As if it were up to me. 


heartbreak sans issue

The scene – some park, the river, the twilight summer dark, your kiss

But I felt your mouth on mine before then –
In the cathedral, Grand Central

Later, the viaduct slipping silvery by
We made love there
To the hushed sound of the river
Sam’s saxophone echoing somewhere – the future twist The blind man in my past begging money

My grandfather and I – two new New York immigrants Treading lightly over our Brooklyn Bridge to the mid-point !
I loved you

I love you
I love you not
Do you know anymore?
Do I?

I would marry you again again again - if and when you ever sort it out

You –

you wait but do not seek.

This is your sin: the constant waiting – only this. I have sought you out for years and often Repeat repeat - heartbreak sans issue

You my sin my love my blackest dove
Caught in church spire rising with the choir music, my bit lip blood drip


Someone ring the sanctus bell.


I wear your bracelet of charms
(I slip a coin into the cup)
Do you wish that you’d gone straight?
Or do you tell yourself that you did?
It doesn’t matter now, you know...
No need for reproach of me or you.

All shut window shades and wet harmonica rails
My thoughts of you as I tread the pier, fading into the mist
My mind straight and seeking
The ticking of the clocks too loud (you say)
I’ve picked you out over and over and over again – but you never see me.
Wait, just wait and see, you say.
It is so indefinite this future of yours, of ours.
Perhaps it is not me or us after all. No, not at all.

So enough with questions of faith;
If it is as you say, if it is Fate, all impossible and too hard
Let the sacrifice be complete.



note: re.


I am not her – your Ramona. I am your could have been where you not so...
Your words that make, yes, elliptical sense
But really – ought not.

If I do what I think I should do (as you advise) I’ll pray and pay at the doctor’s request
How do you feel – Is it like...

No and no, I want to shout, I want to scream.
So I will run to the mountaintop
Me and a tree-stump; an ax and some wood
That is me – swinging – first my ax, now my scythe Cutting a path through the thicket just for you.

I could care less now about the city’s dying flowers They bloomed an angry burst – aflame.
Me at the twilight, the Spring’s crocus bud
A promise whispered and unkept.

The doubt and questions you presuppose You should know me better by now.
I am tired of your not knowing.
The world heard me sing.



your kettledrum

There ought to be a language for this
Words we dish out daily: some measure of the immeasurable.

Impossible of course.

Hence all of your kettledrums, your vortexes, your wind on the rush.

I want to tell you it must reside in prayer then –
caught in cupped hands, whispered
a silent movement in the light. This and the candles to the side... So many lit - all green beacons wordless and flickering. Silently saying all.

We clutch our symbols dearly, daily
Redefine and find, circle back around to the start.
Perhaps I'll dispense with the pyramid, the circle, the flame and genuflection, the star, the cross, the cloth -
A sure and right resurrection.

Impossible, of course.

No matter the language, it is all there -

as it was and ever shall be.

The apple you gave I never did eat it.
A tick tock inside of me said: Pause and consider. From where did this come?

I felt like Snow White only un-duped and alive - a living sprite. So I fed it to the birds, all souls lifting.
But me, had I bitten, I'd be flat-backed and spell-bound - lost forever in a witch's fugue.

Nothing you intended, but I was aware.

The pear, years ago, so different - a gift there;
A promise and a wish and a kiss.
Say no more. Say your prayers.
What is this good grief? The opposite of for goodness' sake An expression of love, right and true

A thing navigated between me and you.

I've said goodbye to fairy tales - mostly.
I've seen the wicked queen, her cast down spell
This time I saw her coming and re-scripted the ending.
I'll not scrub her palace steps nor hide in any forest.

And Sleeping Beauty: I could sleep all my life and wait wait wait in some or other state
But I realize that only I can cut through the thick thicket.
I wake to the sound of church bells
To the prayers of all good people.

Let the frames slide into focus then...
One spirit lifting, the other weeping.

Have you ever seen the two side-by-side - Goodness and Grief? You'll find me there between the two: a bright burst of amber, lifting lifting.