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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

The Whirlwind
Face to the Wind

By Carl Martin Johnson


I have long sown the wind.
Now the whirlwind I shall reap.
My past is what it’s been.
It does no good to weep.


I took the untamed route,
When offered the election.
Not once did I back out.
Only risk held my affection.


For a time, sweet-hot adrenalin
Was enough to fire my soul.
But today there is a void within.
My existence is not whole.


It’s the whirlwind that has been my friend,
My lover, and my wife.
The whirlwind will carry me to my end.
I will ride it all my life.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw the phantom dancing.
He was joyful in the night.
Leaping high and prancing,
His smile a lustrous white.

I kept well out of sight,
Though in truth I had no fear.
His eyes glowed a happy light,
His expression full of cheer.

I wondered at this elation
In one so clearly dead.
What caused such celebration?
Such music in the specter’s head?

As if he read my mind,
The spirit looked my way,
With a visage not unkind,
To say what he would say:

“You are puzzled that I am glad,
In spite of my demise.
Yet the best day I ever had
Was when death took me by surprise.”

“At last I’m truly free.
My earthly cares are shed.
A far better world I see.
I’m happy that I’m dead.”

Then he skipped merrily on.
While deep in thought I stood.
He might enjoy being dead and gone,
But I still find living good.

So, I think I’ll stay,
Despite my earthly woe.
And will devoutly pray
That my final day comes slow.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Fear me!
I am Lightning.
I am God’s spear.

Hear me!
My voice is thunder.
The war cry you hear.

See me!
Wonder at my blaze.
Tremble, Man, in fright.

Flee me!
Run into the dark.
Escape into the night.

Adore me!
I am divine.
Godlike in my power.

Implore me!
I will grant your prayer,
If before me you cower.

But be there Men who renown desire,
Prove to me you are brave.
I will forge your sword in my hot fire.
My mightiness will be your slave.


By Carl Martin Johnson

War called to me from the depths of Hell.
He told me I was needed..
There were troubles I had to quell.
War’s summons can’t go unheeded.

He said: “This you were born to do.
To hunt and fight and slay.
You must to yourself be true
When wartimes come your way.”

It was an order, not a request.
I could not refuse.
Though, to you, I must confess,
War is what I choose.

Yet I was tiring of the killing,
Growing sick of pain and gore.
I was every year less willing
To warmake any more.

I looked deep inside my mind,
Saw all the dead and dying.
The butchery of others of my kind,
And my cold eyes began crying.

I took my sword and threw it.
The blade I would not wield again.
Now at last I knew it.
To Warmake is a sin.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Sparks flew up and high,
Glowing rockets from the flame.
Purifying the deep black sky,
Carrying light from whence it came.

I looked up at the stars,
Specks of fire spread ‘round the sky,
Tiny jewels in Heaven’s bazaars,
And each an angel’s winking eye.

But my camp fire drew back my eye.
I sensed it wanting to tell a story.
To sing its history’s praise,
Of how Man owed it full glory.

I saw a fire, bright in a cave,
Early Man warmed from the cold,
Being saved from icy grave,
Being freed to venture bold.

Then forging iron white-hot
To fashion sword and spear,
Ensuring humanity’s lot
As master of his sphere.

Next I saw how it had been
When god Fire had been revered.
To ignore him was a sin,
His consuming vengeance feared.

Now, Fire wanted that once more,
To be loved, to be respected.
But, Man had new gods to adore.
Fire’s reign could not be resurrected.

I reversed the gaze.
Forced Fire to look at me.
And showed his bright blaze
Why my kind has cast him free.

I showed the burning Hills of Rome,
Jeanne d’Arc burning at the stake,
The conflagration of Dresden’s homes,
The destruction Fire can make.

I would have mentioned Hell
Had I been more observant.
Though I had no need to tell.
Fire was not Master now, but Servant.


By Carl Martin Johnson

If you kiss me I will smile.
I will take you in my arms.
I will hold you for a while,
And sing about your charms.

I will be a happy man, if you kiss me.
If you kiss me I will glow.
I will set the world on fire.
I will let the whole world know
It is you that I desire.

I will be a happy man, if you kiss me.

If you kiss me I will laugh.
It would make me feet so good.
I will double right in half.
So, I surely wish you would.

I will be a happy man, if you kiss me.

If you kiss me I will sing.
I will warble a happy song.
And give you a wedding ring,
So you’ll be mine all life long.

I will be a happy man, if you kiss me.

If you kiss me I will die.
It would take away my breath,
Just the thought of you and I.
But what a happy death.

I will be a happy man, if you kiss me.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I think it’s kind of funny…think it’s kind of sad
That the times I’ve been near dying
Are the best I’ve ever had,
Even though some left me crying.

I can’t reclaim the roar
Of adrenalin through my veins.
Nothing since then, or before,
Has brought such pleasure with the pains.

I walked the wire that spans the pit,
Daring fate to trip me.
To no fear would I submit,
Nor let terror’s sharp claws grip me.

Death I teased with flirting kisses,
Led her a lover’s chase.
Yes, there were some near misses,
But I always won the race.

Was the next life what I sought,
But feared the jump across?
Was desire for dying why I fought,
Hoping for the final loss?

No, I am too alive.
Each day I eat with greed.
I fight hard to survive.
Courting danger is my need.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I turn my face into the wind
To learn what the gale blows toward me.
The tempest, I know, will never end,
Nor is there aught to guard me.

It carries aromas of things to come,
Varied scents of what will be,
What I am running to, not from,
What I’ll breathe before I see.

I smell Life’s fullness nearing,
Bringing pleasure, bringing pain..
I welcome all appearing,
All the sunshine, all the rain.

My nostrils widen to draw it in,
Filling my lungs with tomorrow.
All my virtue, all my sin,
Life’s joy, and yes, Life’s sorrow.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Lightning cracked and thunder boomed.
The dark was split and shaken.
I was certain I was doomed,
That my life would soon be taken.

When a woman rode naked into my dream,
On a stallion deeper black than night,
Her body smooth as new drawn cream,
Eyes sensuous and bright.

From her mount’s unsaddled back she slid,
Standing shameless in full view.
No part of her female beauty hid,
Long hair shining in blue-black hue.

She walked toward me through the mist,
Her body gracefully flowing.
Wet lips yearning to be kissed,
My hunger for her growing.

Reaching out, she touched my face,
And the storm no longer frightened.
I was pulled into her embrace.
My arms around her tightened.

Her breasts with points erect
Pressed hard against my chest.
I felt our bodies and souls connect,
All organs of love caressed.

Her long fingers clawed my spine
As she moaned into my ear.
Our uniting near divine
Our coupling blessed and dear.

I licked the honeyed moisture from her.
Dew from heaven to nourish love.
I sensed a trembling overcome her,
From the ardor we were creators of.

At last we separated,
Drained, but more complete.
Our primal thirsts were sated.
The afterglow full sweet.

Then she led me to her steed,
And took me up behind her.
She is the woman that I need,
But it took a storm to find her.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I came upon an unopened door,
And I stopped to take a look.
It was plain wood and metal, nothing more,
So a glance was all I took.

As I turned to go, I heard a sound
Somewhere beyond the portal,
Such as might be from a creature found
Between human and immortal.

With hesitation I reached out.
The knob was cold and slick.
Instantly I succumbed to doubt,
Snapping my hand back quick.

I felt some strange thing calling.
Not sound, more like a touch.
Tactile music, and enthralling,
Holding me tightly in its clutch.

But my fear proved stronger.
I shoved myself away.
I dared not linger longer.
I was afraid to stay.

Sometimes at night I wonder
What lay behind that door.
Did I make a tragic blunder
By being too timid to explore?

Now I will never know
What adventure lay in store,
Had I the courage to go
Through the unopened door.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Yesterday was a good day.
I lived the time complete.
All sad thoughts I chased away.
I had enough to eat.

Yesterday was a good day.
I made someone smile.
I watched some happy children play.
My soul was peaceful for a while.

Yesterday was a good day.
I lived it hard and well.
I chased Life and it fell prey,
Surrendered to my spell.

Today I may die.
My earthly life may end.
But I surely will not cry,
Because yesterday was my friend.




By Carl Martin Johnson

The lonely tear summed up his life.
There was nothing more to say.
His spirit had deserted with his wife
When at last she went away.

Her love had filled now empty space.
Numbness stilled his heart.
There was nothing that could take her place.
Grief was tearing him apart.

He could not fathom why she left.
No mortal love was greater.
It was a cruel and shocking theft,
And yet he could not hate her.

He looked out at vacant skies,
Over the road she’d taken,
Wishing he could close his eyes,
And when they opened he’d awaken.

He knew she did not want to go.
But could not stop her, though he’d tried.
All the joy he ever know
She took with her when she died.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I am Mangas Coloradas.
I take my tribe to war.
Or we will be “vidas enterradas”,
Killed like dogs for what we are.

I am Chiricahua Apache chief.
I have led my people far.
Our lives are hard and brief.
Yet we are proud of who we are.

Now the Mexicans chase us.
They take our scalps for pay.
We fight them when they face us.
To our children war is play.

Our lands are harsh, but home.
Our gods live in the hills.
The plain was made for us to roam.,
To hunt well and share our kills.

Last night a vision found me.
Showed me what would come.
The white man would surround me.
He would beat the soldier drum.

They would take me and kill me.
They would boil my head to bone.
The llano sand would fill me.
My wives and children would be alone.

But this day my warriors fight,
Though our lives will not be long.
We hold fast to day ‘til it be night.
Then I, Red Sleeves, sing my death song.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I conquered Gaul without a wound.
My blood remained inside.
Now I lie where I have swooned,
From daggers in my side.

I did not heed the omens.
They warned me of the ides.
But I, like all we Romans
Sail my affairs with fate’s tides.

My life is spreading red
On the Senate stone.
I know I am soon dead,
Adored in life, in death, alone.

I am only a man,
Quite mortal it would seem.
This was not my plan.
To be a god was my dream.

Cassius ended that.
It was he whose blade bit first.
And vicious words he spat
To lubricate his murderous thirst.

My head I covered with my robe
To hide my anguished face.
How hard the darts might probe
I would preserve dignity’s good place.

Three and twenty cuts I bore
From the assassins wild bloodlust.
While I fell silent to the floor.
Dying well, since die I must.

Only once did my lips part
“Et tu, Brute” with last breath done.
Love’s shaft sliced my heart,
For to me he was a son.

Of Caesars I have most renown,
Greatest Roman of them all.
Yet my enemies have pulled me down,
Gathering near to watch my fall.

The light is draining from my sight.
My end is here to greet me.
Will mankind celebrate my plight?
At the gods’ table will they seat me?


A Ghost Dancing
Lover in the Night Storm
The Unopened Door
Yesterday Was a Good Day
The Fire
A Teardrop
Mangas Coloradas
If You Kiss Me
Caedes Julius
Laughing at Mortality
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