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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Love's Last Dance

By Carl Martin Johnson


He made the card himself.
He bought the red card paper.
Took his mother’s scissors off the shelf
To cut the heart into a taper.


Then he printed her name in gold,
Hoping he spelled it right,
Creased it with a careful fold,
And held it to the light.


It had to be just right.
He would die if she didn’t take it.
He would work on it all night,
If it took that long to make it.


He glued flowers all around,
So she would smile when she could see.
Also cartoons that he found,
And wrote on it: “Love, Me”


He took it to school next day.
When she accepted he was in heaven.
He had given his heart away.
That was love when they were seven.


Today he held that valentine
In his gnarled and wrinkled fist.
His star’s light had ceased to shine.
He had no reason to exist.


He had wanted so to follow,
But for her he would be brave.
Although his heart was hollow,
As he stood there by her grave.


The old man smiled, though he was sad.
‘Til he was with her life would be hard.
But he have thanks for what he’d had,
And it all started with a card.




By Carl Martin Johnson


I will win your heart,
Though now you may reject me.
I have made an awkward start,
But, I will convince you to select me.


Many men would be your slave.
You are lovely, so I cannot blame them.
To compete I must be brave,
If I’m to be the one to shame them.


Flowers I will shower,
Poems I will pen.
I’ll do all in my power
So you forget all other men.


I know you think me wild,
Unsuited to be your mate.
But you have me so beguiled,
I will pursue a milder fate.


The twinkle in my eyes
That you said was devilish fire,
I will make you realize
Is really the flame of my desire.


I will love you until I die.
I’m only pleading for a chance.
I will never say goodbye
Or cool the glow of our romance.


Let me be your man.
Say you will be my wife,
And I will give you all I can,
My heart, my soul, my life.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Don’t look back; it’s done.
The hours can’t be reclaimed.
The race can’t be rerun,
Nor the arrow, loosed, re-aimed.

Don’t look back; it’s done.
A word spoken can’t be muted.
Battles lost cannot be won.
Bargains sealed not disputed.

Don’t look back; it’s done.
A lover gone cannot be kissed.
The day is past when sets the sun.
Hesitation is moment missed.

But ahead lies a new chance.
A hope-fed dream never dies.
There’s a new turn at the dance.
You can still take home the prize.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Life, don’t you know me?
Have I been gone so long?
I thought you might outgrow me,
So I’ve come back very strong.

I almost left for good.
I lost all desire to stay.
Had my plan worked like it should,
I would not be here today.

I think it’s for the best.
There are things I need to do.
You will put me to the test.
I know I’ll make it through.

It’s not a warrior’s right
To decide when Life is done.
He must stay and fight the fight
Until the battle’s won.





By Carl Martin Johnson


Let me wander free.

And you sail on.

What we had cannot be.

What was there once is gone.





By Carl Martin Johnson

There you are Rose Moon,
Blushing soft behind a cloud.
You will expose quite soon,
Your fullness, pink and proud.

Like a petal glowing,
Fallen from a heavenly flower,
Tinted beauty flowing
Over Earth in rose-milk shower.

You mellow human hearts,
Wash us gently in your beams,
Hypnotize us with your arts,
Plant your wonders in our dreams.

Lift me up to your embrace.
I’m lonely here below.
I want to kiss your lustrous face
Then perhaps my heart will grow.

I need your warmth inside
To thaw my frozen soul.
My lust for life has died.
I am no longer whole.

Infuse me with compassion.
I am weary of being hard.
I want to live in loving fashion,
Cast away emotion’s guard.

Send your coral hues to heal me,
Rose Moon, my lover dear.
I want the world to feel me
With love instead of fear.




By Carl Martin Johnson

That tear was the last.
The rest I’ll keep inside.
Though my sorrow’s not yet past,
What is left I’ll hide.

This is not my first pain.
It will not be my last.
This storm comes with hard rain
Yet I know that it will pass.

I can handle heartache.
After all, I am a man.
I might bruise, but won’t break.
I’ll jump up when I can.

My body’s scars bear witness
To the wounds I can endure.
If only that were the fitness
That could be a heartache cure.

My soul is bloodied, not defeated.
I will rise and fight again.
My life is not completed.
It’s a battle I will win.




By Carl Martin Johnson

This morning I fell from a dream.
I landed on a cloud.
Down below I spied a gleam
In the midst of a human crowd.

I floated slowly to the earth
To find what gave such spark.
I knew it was of boundless worth
To glow so in the dark.

The people were standing ‘round in awe..
So many they blocked the sight.
They were impressed by what they saw,
That which gave off the golden light.

I pushed through to have a look
At a spectacle so rare.
I paid no mind to the effort it took,
As long as I got there.

At last I gazed in wonder
Upon what all miracles does transcend,
In Heaven and here under:
A true and loyal Friend.




By Carl Martin Johnson
The black dog creeps slow
Fangs bared and eyes red.
I hear him growl low,
But I am not yet dead.

He is sent by the Reaper
To claim what is due.
He drives terror deeper.
If I run, he’ll pursue.

His teeth will rip deep.
There is no remission.
Soon or late he will leap,
And fulfill Death’s ambition.

So I will turn and defy.
I will spit in his face.
It is true I will die,
But I will end with some grace.

By Carl Martin Johnson

The music played inside my heart
When I held her close to dance.
I should have never let her part.
Should have kept her when I had the chance.

I wish that I could die like this,
With her wrapped warmly in my arms,
And just a quickly stolen kiss
While pressing close her charms.

We were young when I kissed her last,
Before I set out to look for Life.
I cannot go back and change the past.
She became another man’s wife.

I traveled far, saw every wonder,
All marvels that ever were.
Yet, no matter the sky I found myself under,
My thoughts were still of her.

Time went by, as time will.
The letters became fewer.
The fire we had began to chill.
I became a stranger to her.

She found solace with a good man.
They made a happy home.
I was the one, not her, who ran.
Something in me had to roam.

Later, I too took a wife,
One I treasured ‘til she died.
I know I led an exciting life,
Though I was never complete inside.

Now I am back, my first return
To the childhood home I knew.
I see the fiesta torches burn
In bright and happy hue.

And she knew me right away
When I asked her for a dance.
There was nothing else I could say.
I have missed my only chance.

When the music of this waltz is finished,
I will let her go for good.
But my love has not diminished.
I would change things if I could.

For me, there is nothing but this dance.
This is where my whole life stays.
I will be in an eternal lover’s trance
As forever the music plays.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The fountain of crimson spurt
Had dwindled to a stream.
I had never known such hurt,
But I would not allow a scream.

I lay beside two others,
Both worse hit than me.
I cursed and prayed with my brothers,
That death would leave us be.

I tried to pass out from the pain,
There was no morphine for relief.
But I could not still my brain,
Only clench my cracking teeth.

Then, above the battle’s din,
I heard blades slapping air.
I faced the others with a grin.
Our salvation would soon be there.

I saw the swooping, red-crossed bird
Charging bravely through the fire.
My heart sang loud without a word
For those who would pull us from this mire.

The chopper landed very near,
Taking rounds from every side.
I was the only one who cheered.
The other two had died.

My sergeant dragged me through the smoke
And threw me on the deck,
Before I saw him spit and choke
From a tracer through his neck.

The co-pilot was hit bad.
He folded over his stick.
Looked like the only chance we had
Was to lift off, and be quick.

Now I’m above the battleground,
Just me and the kid who’s driving.
Lots of flame and smoke around.
Seems this brave bird’s not thriving.

For some reason, I’m not worried.
If I’m to die, then it will be.
But, St Peter, don’t be hurried.
I may make it out….we’ll see.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I will no more suffer meekly,
While evil men destroy our lives.
Stand by and look on weakly,
While loathsome cruelty thrives.

My people you have killed.
You have raped and you have robbed.
Sons’ and daughters’ blood you have spilled,
While helpless mothers sobbed.

Now that time is done.
Your executioner is your own creation.
You may think that you have won,
But Hell is your destination.

Look behind you when you beat us.
If you see me, quickly pray.
Though you try hard to defeat us,
It is I who’ll win the day.

You took what I held dear.
Made a man of peace a danger.
Remember, should you see me near,
To mercy I am a stranger.

You think you are hard men.
Compared to some you may well be.
Yet no matter how ruthless you have been,
You are soft compared to me.

I will kill you and your kind.
I will find the rock you’re under.
I am the worst horror in your mind.
I strike with flash and thunder.

You have made me what I am.
Unleashed my warrior heart.
Your black soul I will damn.
Your rotten body tear apart.

Watch for me, I’m coming!
You cannot escape my wrath.
Your death dirge began drumming
The day you crossed my path.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Is it honor that I crave,
That pulls me to the fight?
Or am I driven toward the grave
By adrenaline’s addictive bite?

I hate the smell of blood,
The screams of painful death,
The bombing’s constant thud,
Taste of napalm with every breath.

More than woman it enslaves me,
Holds my heart in martial charm.
Like a lustful girl’s love craves me,
Though she seeks to do me harm.

I will die in heated battle,
In some desert far away,
Listening to my own death rattle,
While I try in vain to pray.

Should I fight in honor’s name that day,
And I’ve kept a soldier’s trust,
The price is one I’ll gladly pay,
If for a warrior’s death I must.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Today I’ll make a smile.
It will grow on someone’s face.
It may take me a while
To find the proper place.

But I feel good this morning.
So good I’d like to share,
Just spread it without warning,
Throw it ‘round me everywhere.

Something about the sunrise,
The colors, red and gold,
Painted happiness on my eyes,
Made me confident and bold.

A morning bird sang for me,
To give my heart a lift.
I accepted gratefully
Kind Nature’s generous gift.

Outside my window I saw a boy
Laughing while he played.
There could be nothing so full of joy
In this Creation that God made.

So if I don’t pass a heartfelt smile
To everyone I see,
In just a very little while,
I’ll burst with ecstasy.



By Carl Martin Johnson

It takes a spark to start a fire,
A loving look to raise desire.
So, put your lips on mine, my sweet.
Let us glory in our heat.

Let passion’s flame scorch our bodies first.
We will find love’s ways to quench our thirst.
Let our arms and legs entwine
Fleshy tendrils on Eros’ vine.

And when we have satisfied what our bodies crave,
When we have loosed lust’s chains that held us slave.
Then we will rest, face to face, skin to skin,
Until we can repeat our hungry sin.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Tomorrow it may not be.
Could be another horse I ride.
But today the gods are with me,
Surging forward at my side.

So I will aim my lance full steady
At the evil dragons here.
And for victory or death be ready.
Neither will I fear.

For this day is given my day.
I will lose or I will win.
Charging down life’s uncertain highway,
This day will never come again.



The Valentine
Winning You
Don't Look Back
Hello, Life
Rose Moon
A Warrior's Death
The Last Tear
Smile Maker
After Falling From a Dream
The Black Dog
Carpe Diem
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