Madeleine Johnson is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon. She attributes her appreciation for many of the best things in life—black coffee, dinner parties, roadtrips, rock music, laughing til you cry, trashy tv, pop art—to her late, great mother. Madeleine’s blog, Dear Mama, is a collection of letters written to her mother since her passing early last year. Madeleine is currently living in Los Angeles.
This selection of poems is the first in a three-part series featuring Madeleine’s work.
August 16, 2015
I told someone about
The moment I found out I lost you.
My voice didn’t quiver
But stayed steady and low
An ocean of love and time and understanding
Washing up in my adjectives and verbs
I lit every candle in my house, I said
And I put on a Pretenders album
And turned it all the way up
Her eyes filled with water
As she realized she was hearing
An unfamiliar timbre but so clear
Thanks for telling your story, she said
I hope you know that was directed at you
August 16, 2015
My new apartment is great
Old and rusted in places
But beauty everywhere
My neighborhood sings with activity and happy
Brazilian food and bricks and ice cream shops
The right amount of noise in the alley
Parents and babies and puppies
Your art splashes color onto the walls
The gas wasn’t on for the first two weeks
A pipe under the kitchen sink broke today
So in a word, it’s perfect
I think I’m making you proud
October 12, 2015
I grew up too fast
You used to spin me around you
Until I couldn’t breathe from laughing
Until I was far too old
I woke up
To sex and love and eyeliner
Four cups of coffee and champagne bubbles
Sixteen or twenty nine
If you were here I’d tell you
I’m still growing.
I’ll tell you anyway.
Send us your work!
We’d love to hear from you.