At the touch of you,
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,
The arrows of delight shot through my body.

You were spring,
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me.

Witter Bynner, “At the Touch of You” was published in Witter Bynner’s collection Grenstone Poems; a sequence (Frederick A. Stokes, 1917).

This poem is in the public domain.



“Mighty” Mike McGee (that’s me!) performs Like at RZ’s, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR) on November 17, 2010.


“Mighty” Mike McGee performs Who’s Counting? at the Vancouver Poetry Slam on January 14, 2013.


Soul Food: A Duel With Death At Lunchtime

Soul Food: A Duel With Death At Lunchtime

A silly poem by Mike McGee

October 24, 2000

So last week the Angel of Death comes knocking at my door

totally interrupting Perfect Strangers

And I’m like, Dude, you are so early! There is so much more I wanted to do with my life!

“You’ve had plenty of time for that!”

You know, you sound a bit like Sean Connery.

“No, he sounds a bit like me.”

Whatever, dude. There’s gotta be some sort of loop-hole. What if we competed for my soul? Like some sort of contest.

“I do love a good challenge. If we can both agree on one, then the winner may keep your soul.”

At this point I remembered I had a pot of ramen noodles waiting for me on the stove. The Angel of Death was lured into my kitchen by the sweet aromatic joy of powdered shrimp flavoring. I could see that Death was hungry, so I made a second pack of noodles. We sat and ate in silence, but my hunger just wouldn’t subside. So while I raided the fridge, I noticed Death scoping my Rice Krispy Treats.

“Still hungry, dude?”

“We’ll take one for the road.” he said.

And we both put a Rice Krispy treat in our pockets.

“You know, I could probably eat half of all your food.”

“So could I, dude… so could I.”

And it hit us both at the same time. We pulled out every bit of food in my house and divided it all into equal halves. We had one rule: First person to finish eating their half of food keeps my soul.

We sat down on the kitchen floor surrounded by an odd buffet. The world’s greatest food challenge began.

But this was no ordinary match.

I took an early lead as Death fumbled opening a can of refried beans. I plowed through a dozen eggs and half a gallon of milk. I strategically swallowed spoonful after spoonful of leftover lasagna without chewing. Death caught up to me with a tub of butter and half a soggy pumpkin pie. I hustled my way through cans of corn, green beans, kidney beans, chili, chicken soup, fruit cocktail, and a few cans of peas, but I was stopped dead in my tracks by a mystery can. It’s label missing and nowhere to be found. Damn, dog food! No time to think, I had to eat it.

Death was now ahead of me by two-cans of beer, a frozen steak and what we think may have been tamales. I burped to make room and continued on in the feast for my soul. I ate broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, oranges, bananas, a container of baking powder, two cups of salt & pepper, a jug of Pepto-Bismol and a can of whipped cream. We reached our last item of food. One. Raw. Potato. Each.

We slowly gnawed our way through the raw potatoes, swallowing our last bites at the exact same time. It appeared as though we had a draw. Then Death looked to me with a sly grin and handed me a Tupperware bowl with my half of uneaten Jello. I grabbed a straw and sucked it down, saying:

There’s always room for Jello, bitch!

But Death just smiled and said, “I believe I finished my half before you. Your soul is mine.”

But I just outsmiled him and said

What’s that in your pocket, hooker?

His face sunk as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the last Rice Krispy Treat.

He looked to me with fear as I handed him my wrapper, and swallowed a mouthful of crispy, marshmallow goodness.

I believe I win, fucker.

With that, the Angel of Death bowed and vanished.

I sat down to an episode of Full House

and ordered a pizza…

cuz there’s never

anything to eat

at my house.


Santa Claus In Training

I am becoming that old man most people like—beardly and giggling.

I am pleased with this direction, even though I likely have no choice.

I seek it. Something in my genetics, maybe. And in the genes of all the men like me.

We’re a jolly kin meant for joyhood.

Job Description: Remind them that real laughter is holy.

What do you want for your holiday/Monday/yesterday? Tell me loud or with a stare. We may not speak it, but we read body language better than most.

Who needs a chimney when you’ve got a round-trip bus ticket?

My sleigh rides the rails. Sometimes it’s pulled by a Greyhound.

Eat your cookies, we’re all diabetic now, I’m sweet enough for the both of us.

None of us are saints. None of us are truly married.

But we’re all born to be this. Joymaking is a universal balance. It’s whispered to us the first time we see the same skill in someone else.

Be merry, it says.

Be merry, indeed.

I was born for this.


Puddin’ (An Ode)

Puddin’ (An Ode)

© March 3, 2003 Mike McGee

This is a love poem, but not to any person, people, place or position.

No. This is a love poem to a specific substance. One we’re all familiar with, but rarely consider during times of nasty. That substance is pudding.

Ladies and gentlemen, I need you to pretend you’re not here for these words, for they are very personal. I am concerned with your safety. Those experiencing pangs of hunger, I urge you to leave the room, for this is about to become porn for fat people…

Those of you who wish to stay and experience gourmet eroticism, please, visualize along with me. Picture a buffet unlike any other, where beautiful people of your dreams have gathered to feed you the silky delicacy know as pudding. Imagine that they are all so enveloped by ecstasy, so into the feast, they keep referring to this magnificent substance as puddin. So drawn to it, they forget the letter G.

I would like to take a moment to speak to directly to that in which this poem was written:

Hello, pudding. Oh, how I miss you, baby.

How I long to be near your bowl

with a very tiny spoon

so that I can take my time and enjoy you

To caress your shapeless existence

To watch you do that gelatinous jiggle you do

just before I consume you with all the passion

I learned from Bill Cosby himself

Goddamn you, pudding!

How dare you disguise yourself!

Who will you be tonight, my sweet?

Maybe a bowl of Tapioca? A taste of butterscotch?

Or will you be more complex this evening?

Donning a vanilla-chocolate ripple

hiding away in my freezer

hugging a stick

and only succumbing to the name Pudding Pop!

Oh, pudding!

Temptation is for the weak. So please, call me Weakly Weakerson when I am near you. Me and my band, The Weaktones, will play you songs of desire and merriment.

And if that doesn’t work for you, my dear, sweet pudding, I can always put on my Marlon Brando costume.

BRANDO VOICE: The one that seems to turn you on the most. The one that gets you all thick and creamy.

Oh, pudding! I could just drink you from a straw, out in my front yard, naked, in an inflatable kiddie pool full of you. The envy and confusion of those walking by would make it worth the effort.

[We interrupt this poem to bring you viable content in an attempt to make this poem more accessible to a broader audience… Peace in the Middle East. Holla at playa. Word to the nerd. My father never loved me. I wanna make a difference. I suck. You suck. The President sucks… Now back to the “poem” already in progress.]

I could cover myself with you, and go as you to a masquerade ball. People would want to lick you off of me, but I would say, “No, I will lick me! Because I have a tongue and a book on yoga!”

However, our love is limited, for I have discovered that my colon cannot tolerate our passion much longer. For you are composed with a blood of milk, and I should rather die than make you with water.

So let us call for one last night of nasty, then we will have but hope and memories to keep us warm at night. I will now summon the spirit of Bill Cosby, and say to you this: “Zibba, zang teeba dang sazza beeza damn! Hah! Because, Wednesday is hump day. Hah! Kodak moment!”

Forever I will spell love, P-U-D-D-I-N…I forget the next letter, but know that my love for you will never be consumed.


It’s 2:22am in Portland and This is for the Young Poet that isn’t Me Anymore

Don’t say yes or no.

Say maybe; until you get there or they say yes first.

To know living is to know so fucking hard that you are going to die.

But not tonight.

Tonight you will drink more than most preachers and astronauts.

You will talk more than most 411 operators the year you were born.

Hold something. Not tight, but firm. The same way you’d hold someone who survived choking thanks to your maneuver.

You’ll save a life if you pay attention, so Smile.

Save mine. I’m just an poet who isn’t a young poet anymore. But I can tell you what it means to get old.

No one young can do that yet. You’re all clambering to be me/old at some point. It’s why you’ll quit smoking four times in your life. Get here and go on.

You’re welcome. Your welcome. This is your welcome.

Be young. Keep being young.

Your welcome. You dropped this. I think this is your welcome.

It smells like beer and well whiskey. But it looks familiar.

Take some B12 tonight with a glass of water. Sleep in. You’re welcome. 

It’s 2:22am and I love you much later.

Save a life. Write about it. Call is an Autobiography.

Write through the youth. Live through the old.


Prompt & Poem: I, Earth: Part I

My friend and fellow poet Denise Jolly (@djolly6) held a writing workshop here in Portland recently while on tour. Everyone who attended produced some great work from her elegantly simple prompt:

If ________ could speak, it might say…

UPDATE: Please visit Denise at

And here’s what it spawned from me–a serial poem in progress.

I, Earth: Part I
Opening Statements

Had I known that
by changing myself
from within that
it would lend to
human separation,
division and strife
I would have done
it much sooner.

I move because
I want to and, moreso,
because I need to.
Like so many creatures,
at my core is a heart
so violent that it is
constantly trying
to destroy itself

We’re not that
different. But we
are not one. The
first glaring difference
between us is that
I never needed you
to be here.

Mike McGee


POEM | My Immortal Beloved

She is always in pain
I am learning to
never be one for her
Were only my kiss