Starting Friction

Starting Friction

On the off chance you may have woken up this morning thinking to yourself, “Hey you know what I need? Poetry, gods above! Yes, poetry. Of course! That’s what’s been missing!”
Should this be the case you’re in luck. Starting Friction is out. And you know what’s in it? Poetry. (Also some short prose.)

Starting Friction is available from the usual online suspects (Amazon, Barnes & Noble,…). But for those who like to stick it to The Man, you can also find it at Small Press Distributors and direct from the publisher at

From the publisher:

Tenea D. Johnson’s poems are uniquely observant; they captivate and surprise from choreographing butterflies turned to dust, to Kentucky woods and suburbia. Johnson’s intricate language invites the reader to connect with the images, music, and tastes of a woman vulnerably exposed. Both urban and natural, Starting Friction resounds with a hope for a nation full of complexity and conflict.

The Water Has Pushed Through

by Tenea D. Johnson

A narrow stream cuts through the earth
turned to stone
by the weight of trees and time.

I found this stretch of stream with
the perfect gurgle and sat next to it all afternoon.

The way the light exposed the
shadows and bright ripples of water’s motion
enchanted me and I proposed
to stay here with it and the bright moss
and roots hanging over this edge of earth.

If my loves would come and visit
I could stay until my hair grew gray,
knees stiffened.
I would introduce them with warmth,
“Daddy, this is the white oak whose roots grow through the moss
straight down the side of the hill.
Kelly, there are the ants
that crawl over my body, looking for something
they never seem to find.
And, Derrick, this is the
delicate black and green dragonfly
that reminds me to miss you.”

Instead, I sit until the light has left
my pocket of water
& head off to
find another church,
leaving the ants to
investigate my impression.