© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 

THE KISS
By Carl Martin Johnson

It was just a little kiss,
Not first love’s burning flame.
But now and then I reminisce
On that moment all the same.

Her eyes were emerald green,
They sparkled with pure joy.
Never had been seen
A happier girl or boy.

It was a moment I hold dear,
Full of innocence and youth.
Through life’s tragedy and fear,
And living’s cold hard truth.

She has always held a place,
A tiny box in my heart,
Although I scarce recall her face
For all the years we’ve been apart.

I escape to that sweet second
When the world has got me down.
Her honeyed lips have ever beckoned,
Coaxing a smile from my frown.

That time will always last,
But today I learned she’d died.
So I clutched the memory fast,
Closed my eyes, and cried.

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ALMOST
By Carl Martin Johnson

I almost caught it yesterday,
That thing which I am seeking.
But I’m sad to say it got away.
Like lightning it went streaking.

It was that swift elusive thing
You feel flit through your mind,
Knowing it’s taming would surely bring
The answers you want to find.

‘Round the corner it is hiding,
Peeking from behind the tree,
As if it is deciding
Which truth to let you see.

One day I will seize it,
As it goes flying past.
Then, if I just squeeze it,
I will know it all at last.

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THE STREET
By Carl Martin Johnson

Greet me if you see me
Wandering down the street.
If my eyes are dazed and dreary,
I still would like to meet.

We can reassure each other
That this street is the right road.
You and I, Sister and Brother,
Can help one another with our load.

The burden that we bear,
The knowledge our lives end,
Does not at all seem fair.
But it is easier with a friend.

No other creatures fear
Each minute they’re awake,
That their end is drawing near
With every single breath they take.

In return we live past dying.
At least they say it’s so.
And, if those who tell us are lying,
It will be too late to know.

You and I together
Will trudge on down the street,
Until we discover whether
Death’s tyranny can be beat.

There is a Place, they say,
Where souls like ours live on,
Where Death holds no sway,
And all fear of it is gone.

This street may be the highway
That takes us to that Land.
So, if you are going my way,
We will brave together Death’s command.

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THE FENCE
By Carl Martin Johnson

The soldiers came this morning
To build for me a fence.
They showed up without warning
But I said they could commence.

The enemy had been seen.
I knew there was some danger.
I heard the enemy was mean,
So I was wary of any stranger.

As I watched the troops working,
I felt more and more secure.
If the enemy was lurking,
My new fence would endure.

The fence grew higher by the hour.
I felt more confidence.
I was getting a sense of power
From my strong and sturdy fence.

Razor wire was strung on top
To keep the enemy at bay.
It would cut his hands and make him drop,
And send him on his way.

The gate was made of sturdy steel,
With an impregnable lock,
So that it formed a reliable seal
To withstand the greatest shock.

I asked the soldiers for a key.
They said I would not need one.
They would open when need be,
And close when the need was done.

Since they stood guard they took my gun.
They would protect me now.
They would prevent harm from anyone,
And they would best judge how.

Now my fence is complete.
I should be content.
I know it will surely defeat
The enemy’s intent.
Yet sometimes at night I doubt,
When I lie safely in my pen,
My fence is to keep the enemy out.
I fear it might be to keep me in.

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THE DREAMER
By Carl Martin Johnson

He sat and watched the sunset
Spilling crimson across the lawn.
He liked the day’s ending,
Even more than the new sun’s dawn.

This sundown there were clouds,
From golden white to bloody red.
Many shapes painted with the colors.
For a young imagination to be fed.

He dreamed of white horses
Charging over the ridge’s crest,
Silver sword in his right hand
Golden armor on this chest.

His legions rode behind him
Like archangels from Heaven.
Quite a vivid evening daydream
For a boy of eleven.

Like a movie in his head
He could see his warriors fight.
Their plumed helmets by the thousands.
Sharpened speartips shining bright.

He called out to his troops
In a strange, foreign tongue.
As in a mirror, he saw his face,
He was a grown man, but still young.

The boy-man cut through the enemy hordes
At the head of his brave men.
They were courageous, they were strong.
He knew that they would win.

The soldiers shouted his name
Together and again.
In his mind now he knew
Who it was he had been.

But when his mother called, he obeyed.
Though in his past life he could command her.
For he had once ruled the world.
When his name was Alexander.

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A CHARACTER IN YOUR DREAM
By Carl Martin Johnson

Am I a character in your dream?
If you wake, will I be gone?
Am I not really what I seem?
Will I vanish when comes the dawn?

When I touch you, are you guiding?
Willing my hands to roam your skin?
Is it you who is deciding
What I do and how I sin?

Will we make love slow or faster?
Do you make all the rules?
Or is there a DreamMaster
Who plays us both as fools?

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THE DARK
By Carl Martin Johnson

The dark holds no fear.
I see with my mind.
As long as that’s clear,
I can never be blind.

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THE SILENCE
By Carl Martin Johnson

The Silence spoke to me last night.
It told me secret things.
Like how to climb up to the Light
On borrowed angel wings.

I listened closely to the quiet sage
About what Man should do
To move beyond his current stage
And transform into something new.

Unspoken words I heard quite clear,
Though not a sound was made.
I could tell the Silence held my kind dear.
I was not at all afraid.

For hours I lay in the soft sweet hush.
All the world was very still.
While soundless words continued to gush
Until I had absorbed my fill.

I knew then what I must do
To fit into Life’s plan.
I had the wisdom the Silence knew
To help my fellow Man.

I think I know the Silence now.
Perhaps you’ll think me odd.
Yet I’m convinced it’s true somehow.
Silence is the voice of God.

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THE RAINBOW  
By Carl Martin Johnson

Flash chased flash.
Like demons bursting from hell.
Booming crash echoed crash
Like bombs as they fell.

He woke covered with sweat,
Eyes wide with fear.
Had the terror, the threat,
Followed him here?

He lay stiff in his bed,
Waiting hard for the dawn.
Heart filled with dread,
As the storm thundered on.

But the sun fought in vain
To give birth to the day,
While he lay in his pain
Looking out at the gray.

Forever, it seemed,
The tempest whirled on.
And the horrors he dreamed
Could not be made gone.

As sad memory’s fangs
Sucked the hope from his soul,
He clawed back at the pangs,
Fought madly for control.

He leapt from his bed,
Cursing the gale,
Smashing the glass with his head,
Howled a piteous wail.

He would have ended it there,
Leapt to ragged stones below.
But for a change in the air,
Then a delicate glow.

He held himself fast.
Praying his eyes did not lie.
Was the gale moving past?
Was there light in the sky?

Yes, it was his soul that first saw
The beautiful hues
Spat from the storm’s maw,
In reds, yellows and blues.

The arch numbed his distress
Let hope’s light come through.
Bringing sweet forgetfulness
Of penance past due.

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THE WHORE

By Carl Martin Johnson

The cantina was dark and choking
With smoke and body smell.
Scattered pistoleros loudly joking.
All from the same cartel.

The disc player blared ranchera.
A well-worn whore sat at the bar,
Drunken tears running her mascara,
Swaying to the rhythm of the guitar.

A young man sat beside her,
Giving her butt a little feel.
He smiled, but to deride her,
Pinching her hard to make her squeal.

His compadres thought it funny.
They tossed pesos at her stool.
It was worth their money,
To make her seem a fool.

She looked straight ahead,
Downed her mescal shot,
Her brown eyes flat and dead,
All life’s kindness forgot.

Then she stood, red wrinkled dress,
Looking once around the room.
Her hair a neglected mess.
Her expression full of gloom

She stumbled to the music player.
Cut if off and changed the disc.
Put a black comb in her hair.
Clapped her hands, loud and brisk.

From the box a guitar sang
A crisp flamenco tune,
As her heels began to bang,
And she emerged from her cocoon.

She transfixed every man’s eyes
With her flowing strength and grace.
She was a miraculous surprise.
A fiery beauty seared her face.

When the dance was ended
She slunk slowly to her seat.
But she had left a feeling splendid.
An unintended victory complete.

She collapsed again
Deflated woman as before.
Though she’d shown she’d not always been
A tired old border-town whore.

And the boy who had shown disdain
Retrieved the money from the dirt.
With a look of contrite pain,
Placed the money on her skirt.


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SHOUT OUT  
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
Shout out, my brothers!
Shout out in alarm!
We are killing each other.
We are doing great harm.

There is evil around us.
We must not let it spread.
For the Devil has found us,
And he wishes us dead.

Take sword to the hateful.
Hold the good to our heart.
For this sweet world be grateful,
On Humanity’s part.

So, shout out, dear friends!
Keep each other from harm.
Until the world ends,
And God holds us warm.

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A LOOK INSIDE ME
By Carl Martin Johnson

I closed my eyes so I could see
Without visible distraction.
I wondered, could I look at me
With any satisfaction.

What I saw was dark confusion,
Erratic and obscure.
Scattered ideas without conclusion.
Decisions immature.

Yet behind it all there was a light
Pulling my soul in its direction.
I think as long as I keep it in sight,
I’ll be growing toward perfection.

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AURORA COLORADO JULY 20, 2012
By Carl Martin Johnson

I had no thought of death
When I walked out my door.
Did not bless every breath,
I expected many more.

I glanced up at the sky
In the hot summer night.
No thought I would die.
The world seemed all right.

The moon smiled down,
But kept the secret secure.
Not a hint of a frown
To spoil life’s allure.

I sat with my friends,
Looking up at the screen
Where the actor pretends
To rid the world of the mean.

Then a dark man stood beside me,
A real mean, not fake.
There was no place to hide me,
And I knew what he’d take.

I looked into his eyes.
No one lived there.
Where the spirit oft lies
Was empty and bare.

Then a flash blew me blind.
An instant of pain.
I still had my mind,
But I’d lost most of my brain.

Still, I have no fear,
Only a strange elation,
Because I know that I’m near
My true destination.

Now I have the answers I need,
And I won’t die again tomorrow.
It’s those alive whose souls bleed,
Crying for me in their sorrow.

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LIFE’S SPICE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Life is flying by.
Each day I wake with less.
I’m not ready yet to die.
Life’s too good I must confess.

My lover is sweet danger.
War my concubine.
I have never been a stranger
To adrenaline’s strong wine.

I know my end awaits
On a battleground somewhere.
Then to Hell or Heaven’s gates
My fate will send me there.

But I will fight Death for my life.
I will not end ‘til I am through.
Quote Athena, my good wife:
“You eat Life, or Life eats you.”

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RED DRESS WOMAN
By Carl Martin Johnson

Love that woman dressed in red.
She soft and sweet and take me to bed.
An’ then she go home.

She jump on me an’ make me glad.
I feel good ‘cause she so bad.
Then she go home.

All night long she break my back,
Make me hear my young bones crack.
‘Fore she go home.

Woman put a smile on my face.
Love me fine all over the place.
No, don’t go home!

Red Dress Woman grab my heart.
When she go, it break apart.
Now she gone home.

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