© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 

RAG DOLL
By Carl Martin Johnson

It was in the bottom of a chest,
Amongst old childhood dreams.
The doll that she loved best,
From the past’s nostalgic gleams.

The pigtails were still bright,
A blue-button eye was cracked.
She pulled her out and held her tight,
Smelling the innocence intact.

Eyes closed, she went back
To the place where wishes started
Before reality could attack
And leave her broken-hearted.

She was bathed in kindness then.
Her mind and soul were pure.
For an instant she recalled when
There was no cruelty to endure.

Now she had lost the gifted magic,
In her mansion, all alone.
How had her life turned tragic?
Where had youth’s sweet bird flown?

Faded hopes hugged to her breast,
She felt her heart glow within.
She would release the love repressed,
And learn to be a child again.

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DAWN
By Carl Martin Johnson

I awoke with the dawn, facing the sun.
I felt the blood surging through me.
There are battles to be fought, good to be done,
And no force alive can undo me.

I suck the brisk air deep into my chest.
I can feel the life there igniting.
Of all my days, this will be the best.
I hear Life’s call inviting.

Before sun has set, I will do some great thing.
I will make this day have worth.
I will face whatever fortune may bring.
Today I rule the Earth.

I give thanks to the God who gave me such heart.
If there be a risk I will take one.
For all of this day I will act on God’s part.
And, be there no God, I will make one.

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THE SECOND BOTTLE OF MESCAL
By Carl Martin Johnson

On the border life is risky.
People drink to boost morale.
Those with money will drink whiskey.
Those without settle for mescal.

He had fallen on hard times.
His pesos almost gone.
He was leery of more crimes.
Nothing left for him to pawn.

The first bottle had gone down quickly.
It had helped, but not a lot.
His thoughts were moving thickly
Over memories best forgot.

This bar was much like all the rest
On the poorest side of town.
For a gringo it was not the best,
‘Specially when the sun went down.

But he had a certain look.
It kept most men away.
Only a single glace it took
To see he would not play.

The second bottle could be a danger,
Ignite the bomb he carried inside.
He had never been a stranger
To emotion’s rocket ride.

With purpose he kept drinking,
Watched the stale sun’s dying light.
The mescal had numbed his thinking,
Pulled the fangs of misfortune’s bite.

Maybe luck would once more find him.
It would be hard to get much worse.
All the bad deeds behind him
Could be a temporary curse.

Dark had settled in.
Dim neon replaced sun.
His soul felt soaked in sin,
And the night had just begun.

He had nothing left for food.
No place to spend the night.
He was drunk, but would not brood.
He would make things come out right.

Then two rough men tripped through the door,
Pistoleros from the cartel.
He knew them from before.
He’d nearly sent them both to hell.

On his face a small smile grew.
He’d been saved from a homeless night.
All he had to do
Was survive a little fight.

It would be a deal gladly fulfilled,
A few cuts for a nice jail cot.
Of course, he might get killed.
Then again…. maybe not.

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SUN
By Carl Martin Johnson

I am the earth’s bright flame
I share my warmth and light.
There was no life until I came.
I made day out of night.

Sweet-scented flowers smile up at me.
Green leaves spread for my rays.
I give joy to all I see.
Simple poets sing my praise.

My spark made life’s fire begin.
I saw it reach self-knowing.
I smiled when I knew that good would win,
And consciousness keep growing.

Without me there is no living.
I am vitality’s prime fuel.
My being’s purpose is life-giving.
I am evolution’s sacred tool.

Of the planet litter I gave birth,
The third I love the best.
It is here on this sweet Earth
That with Mankind I was blessed.

And when he leaves off his need of me.
When I become a fading coal.
Remember it was from my tree
Dropped the seed of Man’s great soul.

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WEARY
By Carl Martin Johnson

I am so tired and weary.
My energy is gone.
Right now the world looks dreary.
I may not carry on.

All night I’ve lain awake,
Troubling thoughts filling my brain.
In a moment day will break,
And still no respite from the pain.

I feel friendless and alone,
A stranger in a foreign land
Perhaps I’m reaping what I’ve sown.
That’s why happiness has been banned.

The sun’s first light is breaking,
Searing my sleepless eyes.
The world outside is waking.
I hear the morning bird cries.

Wait! A memory’s emerging
From the depths of my sad heart.
I feel life resurging,
I feel a renewed start.

I see the picture clearly.
A young girl dressed in blue.
I loved her once so dearly.
I think that I still do.

The risen sun now warms my face.
Old love has warmed my soul.
May God grant me the needed grace
To make my shattered pieces whole.

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CAT
By Carl Martin Johnson

A nightbird serenaded her
As she slid over the jungle floor.
The heavy darkness aided her
In what she was searching for.

Bright yellow iris rimmed pupils black,
Glinting the moon’s white grin.
She rolled, oiled motion, down the track.
Sleek, spotted devil’s kin.

She growled deep down in her throat,
Bared fangs, pearl dragon tusks.
The rumble boiled up like Satan’s quote
From the mouth of human husks.

Days now since la tigre fed.
Hunger had become pain.
But she sensed there was food ahead
In her alert predator’s brain.

A flickering light cut through the brush.
The jaguar froze in place.
She knew now there was no rush.
There would be no need to chase.

It would not be the first meal of this meat,
Though it was dangerous prey.
She had such a raging urge to eat,
She could not back away.

She spread along the ground to hide,
Until the flames burned down to ash,
And the man lay his sharp stick aside,
Then the cat would make her dash.

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RIVER

By Carl Martin Johnson

Rich juice through your artery gushes,
Nourishing lifeblood to the land.
Mountain glacier to plains it rushes.
A force nothing can withstand.

Digging deep the ground to make your path,
Carrying rich soil to delta blackland,
Flowing smoothly or roiling in wrath.
Driven by nature’s mighty hand.

Cutting through the planet’s ancient rock,
Deep and curving through the earth,
No walls of granite can your run block,
While giant canyons you give birth.

Therefore I will mix my life with yours.
Let us blend and become one.
For my woes you have the cures.
I will embrace you and be done.

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BLOOD OF VIKINGS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Blue eyes gazing sadly through the glass.
Confusion wrinkling his young face.
Behind him the giggling of his class
Sang chorus to his disgrace.

Outside the sun was bright
Where he’d been wrestling in the yard.
It had just been a little fight,
So the punishment seemed hard.

He was only a boy,
But boys are little men.
The whole world was his toy.
He would be in trouble again.

He will anger parents and teachers,
Have problems with the law,
Disregard advice from preachers.
He will always have this flaw.

He is a male of his kind.
There is violence in his soul..
But soon its use will be confined
To keeping his people whole

One day he will answer the call.
He’ll keep the enemy from the gate.
He may live or he may fall,
So do not treat him now with hate.

To protect he has been bred.
To keep his people free from chains.
And what bleeds now or is later bled
Is the blood of Vikings in his veins.

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I WILL LIE WITH YOU IN FLOWERS
By Carl Martin Johnson

I will take you to the field
Where the yellow flowers grow.
I will caress you ‘til you yield
That of you I need to know.

I will kiss your lovely ear,
Listen for your stirred reply,
Whisper words you want to hear
Until I hear your lover’s sigh.

When soft touches turn to fire,
And our bodies start to melt,
I will cover you with desire,
Fill every want that’s felt.

Then we’ll cool in evening breezes,
Your cheek against my chest.
We have done what our love pleases.
Now we grant our bodies rest.

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THE UNIVERSE INSIDE ME
By Carl Martin Johnson

A whole world lies inside me,
As vast as that without.
I have angels there to guide me
When directions are in doubt.

In that world are many more..
Infinite in number.
Which only with care do I explore
For fear of rousing God from slumber.

I find other creatures there,
All quite similar to me.
Perhaps their worlds are where
I am really meant to be.

If I go in far enough,
I may discover the truth of being.
Find the primal stuff
That makes up all I’m seeing.

The eyes that I will use
Are not those in my head..
I have others I will choose
That see both living and the dead.

We are the same down deep,
The breathing and those not.
Souls awake and souls asleep
In the net of existence caught.

All my souls are there.
From lives future, now and past.
When I look past infinity’s glare,
I may see me at last.

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I’LL TAKE YOU THERE
By Carl Martin Johnson

My friend, you look so weary.
I know life can be hard.
Full of the arduous and dreary,
With very poor reward.

It was once the same with me.
I dreaded every day.
So I have empathy.
We’ve both been this world’s prey.

I can help if you will let me.
There’s a secret place somewhere.
Should you refuse, it won’t upset me,
But, if you like, I’ll take you there.

All worry is forbidden.
You leave heartache at the door
All sad thoughts are hidden.
Happiness installed at your core.

Remember, we can’t stay.
It is only for a while.
But we’ll return another day.
So hang on to your smile.

Now we’ll close our eyes and go.
Let your heart follow mine.
We’ll be there before you know.
In a moment you’ll feel fine.

See, now that was quick?
Wasn’t far to go.
It’s not really such a trick.
It’s inside you, you know.

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THE WONDER
By Carl Martin Johnson

I, Khufu, rule this land.
I am become immortal.
I have decided to command
Creation of my spirit’s portal.

I will build it to the sky.
No temple higher on this earth.
When it is finished I will not die.
Osiris will give me a new god’s birth.

I can feel my mighty soul.
I know I am divine.
I will make myself a whole,
With this earth that is mine.

My mountain will be of stone,
A monument to Man’s skill.
Men and gods will be shown
I bend all to my will.

So, look upon my work in wonder,
All you who come behind.
Hear my voice in the storm’s thunder,
And know I was the greatest of Mankind.

 

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THE SILENT
By Carl Martin Johnson

He sat unmoving by the road,
Watching the world go by.
An island in the life that flowed
Past his all-seeing eye.

Some would stop and stare
At his rags and dirty face.
He did not know or care.
He was in another place.

Inside him it was still.
Free from the confusion.
He would stay in there until
Reality conformed to his illusion.

The silence wrapped warm around him,
Protecting him from harm.
He was glad that it had found him.
It gave him shelter from the storm.

In this cocoon he would grow,
Sprout his soul’s butterfly wings.
He would fly off then to know
What song the Universe sings.

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THE TEARDROP
By Carl Martin Johnson

I roll slowly down her cheek
From the corner of her eye..
She is too choked up to speak.
I cannot tell what made her cry.

The one who dropped before me
Said he heard she had been sad.
Well, it is emotions that pay for me,
Be they good, or be they bad.

This time the flow’s diminished.
She’s trying to hold us in.
I’m sure, though, we’re not finished.
It’s a struggle she can’t win.

Perhaps I’ll get a clue
On my way down to the ground.
Once I hit, I’ll be through.
No more me to be found.

My purpose will have been served.
Having helped her through this time.
I can only hope I was deserved.
A wasted tear is such a crime.

Now I’m falling past her hand.
I see what she tries to cover.
On her finger is a wedding band,
But she holds the portrait of her lover.

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THE VOICE
By Carl Martin Johnson

The desert was quiet when I rode out
Soft silence covered all.
So that an atmosphere devout
Wrapped the land like a prayer shawl.

I sat beneath the moon’s thin smile,
Soaking starlight from the sky,
Prisoner of the evening’s guile,
My spirit floating Heaven high.

Through the stars and air and earth,
Emerged a vibration, deep and low,
Growing stronger until it gave birth
To a sound that seemed to glow.

It flowed smoothly into my mind,
Lighting thoughts with no words needed.
A knowing tone, but not unkind.
A voice that must be heeded.

It penetrated my whole being,
The message pure and clear
Touching, tasting, hearing, seeing,
Knowing why I am here.
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