Johnnie T’s an actor — singer, painter, poet
as well — all in one, part or whole —
Johnnie T seeks the soul

he has always been Johnnie T to me
I wrote my poem the razor about him
because John has always cut through
and that’s how you make it when you live
a dream

I write John about the idea of Peterborough Poets
he shows up at my place with poems, his and Riley’s
and you cannot stop the man — from reciting, remembering,
performing — he’s into my library, found my Shakespeare,
holds it in his hand as some sort of totem of authority and
launches in

we let him go because it is almost impossible to stop John
the poetry issues forth, and we, brave in our foolishness, wise
in our equal abandon, laugh and hold onto the reins of that horse,
which horse? my kingdom of course! and fall down laughing
all the king’s horses

John shows me posters for poetry performances we did
on Queen Street in the eighties; theatr kathartik marching in
to Poppa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag; pictures of him in London,
New York, Paris, Madrid — miming on the street in front
of a fine hotel; selfies with famous friends; pictures when
we picked apples at my parent’s farm; each image, you cannot
ignore him, it’s who he is

I met Johnnie T ‘cause I was roommates with Riley
I’ve met lots of brothers — some you like, some you don’t
it was different with John —not just because he is Riley’s
brother and magic flows through that family — but
because he has always been
another brother

Ward Maxwell

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