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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

A Walk With Other Ghosts
Dawn's Kiss

By Carl Martin Johnson

Dawn peeps over my windowsill,
Barefoot and scantily clothed,
Whispering that she loves me still.
She is still my dear betrothed.

She brings a birdsong serenade
And a flirtation of early light
That flows with the music being made,
Bidding farewell to the night.

I gratefully embrace her loving glow.
I return her morning kiss.
I feel her awaited soft warmth grow,
Filling my waking heart with bliss.

Her visits are too short.
Soon the sun will fully rise.
Barely time for our tryst to start,
But dawn always satisfies my eyes.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Hollywood streets are lonely
Late at night when the music dies.
Then it is just you only,
And your sad heart’s homesick cries.

You look up at the twinkling hills.
Lights there, and people living.
Yet for you the summer night chills.
On the streets there is no kind giving.

Long weeks of sleeping in your car,
Shaving in the public shower.
You thought by now you’d be a star,
Instead of working by the hour.

There’s a girl you left behind.
You asked her if she’d wait.
Better erase her from your mind.
You know that it’s too late.

Tomorrow fame may find you.
Your name in marquee lights.
Leave these mean streets behind you.
Farewell lonely Hollywood nights.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I know I’m only a lesser star.
There are many more resplendent.
While I am not all they are,
I am still an angel’s pendant.

I shine down on all mankind,
Hoping to give them pleasure.
Some sweet child may look up and find
That I am a small memory to treasure.

I gleam in a constellation,
Although I’m the dimmest light.
I have shined since the Creation,
Illuminating a small part of the night.

And I am good to wish upon.
I help make dreams come true.
All night long, until the dawn,
I will be up here for you.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I am tired….Life is heavy.
It’s growing hard for me to bear.
But I must pay the levy.
I suppose that’s only fair.

Some good things that I have done
Required hard work I don’t regret.
Some battles that I’ve won,
I’m paying for them yet.

But there was energy I wasted
Chasing leaves floating in the stream.
And sweet failure I have tasted
Pursuing many an elusive dream.

Even so, I am not through.
I will get a second wind.
I still have much to do.
I have not reached the end.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Jump up! New morning’s waiting.
Fresh energy from the sun.
Today is worth celebrating.
It could be the last one.

I’ll not swallow it whole.
Each second I will taste.
Savoring moments with my soul.
Not an instant will go to waste.

I’ll treasure sight and sound.
Every aroma I’ll inhale.
Be grateful for what I’ve found,
In all sun-kissed detail.

The entire day I’ll embrace.
Return its beauty with a smile.
And, if God grant me grace,
I’ll do something worthwhile.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I woke miserable at dawn,
Dissatisfied with life,
Wondering if I should carry on
In the midst of all the strife.

I had doubts the human race
Would survive much longer.
Evolution would clear the space
For a creature wise and stronger.

Each day brings more depressing news
Of men’s cruelty and vice.
It is the selfish path they choose,
When left to their own device.

I walked out to the street,
My soul wary and forlorn.
I was accepting my defeat,
Cursing the day that I was born.

Gloomy people passed me by.
How could living be worthwhile?
Then I heard a happy cry,
And I saw a baby smile.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Your softly spoken lies
Seduced my naïve trust.
You hypnotized with your eyes,
And played my schoolboy’s lust.

I believed your every word,
How we would never part.
I savored all I heard,
Until you broke my heart.

I wish that I had died
Before I learned the truth.
Before you tore me up inside,
Destroying the illusions of my youth.

Now your whispers haunt my sleep.
You have gone, but the pain lingers,
The torment running deep
Like venom from scorpion stingers.

But I will put you behind me.
You did not kill, but made me stronger.
One day true love will find me,
And I will hurt no longer.




By Carl Martin Johnson

His scars told the old man’s story,
Every battle, every fight.
Hard defeats… joyous glory.
Brown bear claws…grey wolf’s bite.

Fang marks from a daring quest
For ancient Mayan treasure.
The scratches on his chest
Tell of wanton youthful pleasure.

The jagged line across his face
Says he has been brave.
Perhaps he stood in a comrade’s place
And fought his life to save.

But there is a scar no one can see
Marking sweet pain on his heart.
From a love that could not be
That flamed too hot at the start.

The scars are his journey’s art,
Drawn from life’s hard toll.
But the one embracing his heart.
Is from a wound that made him whole.




By Carl Martin Johnson

This will be my last breath.
My lungs are growing still.
In moments I will meet death.
It is the last time they will fill.

I will hold it while I can,
Savor the air’s sweet taste.
It’s my final second as a man.
I will not let it go to waste.

My dying thoughts my breath will fuel,
As it has all since I left the womb.
It is ironic….even cruel
That it now carries me to the tomb.

Well, I have done my duty.
I am leaving with no shame.
I’ll quit this life of distressing beauty,
And return to whence my first breath came.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Cry out, beloved nation!
A demon eats your heart,
Ravaging our forefathers’ creation,
Tearing our principles apart.

In all the world we are unique.
There are none to take our place.
What we have all men seek.
We advance the human race.

But our leaders are not strong.
They fear our own great power.
They disgrace our nation’s song,
And lose our honor by the hour.

Shout “Halt!” before she dies,
This fine idea for which we fought.
Find leaders who hear our cries,
Lest we lose what God hath wrought.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I moved slow in the jungle hush.
The raucous forest sounds were stilled.
We were alone in the tropic bush,
Just me and those I’d killed.

Dead littered the village street.
I stepped around them on my way.
I felt no victory in their defeat,
No joy in their lifeless dismay.

The sky was filled with scavenger birds
Drawn by the smell of spirits fleeing.
A silent horror, beyond words,
Colored all that I was seeing.

I wondered which corpses I had felled.
Whose heads my bullets shattered.
Whose flames of life my aim had quelled.
Though none of that now mattered.

In my weariness I knelt,
Wiping off my bloody sweat.
The exhaustion that I felt
Only a warrior can get.

I stood again, worn and slow,
Limping not toward but away.
I knew not where I would go,
But I surely could not stay.

Then a sharp cold chill ran through me.
It paralyzed my heart.
A change was happening to me.
I could not depart.

I felt the dead behind me,
Souls following my soul.
Lining single file to find me.
I was leading a ghost patrol.

And through all these years,
I see them in the night.
My phantom volunteers
I lead in endless fight.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ve lived my life in chains,
Forgetting I had the key.
I endured innumerable pains,
When I could have set myself free.

Yet I often enjoyed my slavery.
The masters I served were kind.
I felt the better part of bravery
Was to hold back my restless mind.

At times I thought to cut the ties
That bound my spirit to the earth.
I decided that course would be unwise,
In case my future had some worth.

One day soon the key will turn,
By Fate’s hand, not my own.
My emancipation I will earn
My soul to freedom will be flown.

By Carl Martin Johnson

Have you ever seen the clouds at dawn,
Coals burning in the sun’s first light,
Lighting our way ‘til night is gone,
And day is burning bright?

Look very closely and you will spy
Morning angels lurking,
Readying the fresh blue up high,
Making sure the new day’s working.

Their red glow wakes the sleeping birds,
Lyric poets of the sky.
Their songs, lovelier than words,
Trail behind them as they fly.

Soon now the clouds will float away,
Their work having been done.
I’ll float off with them, too, one day,
When at last my race is run.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I looked deep into the abyss
In search of my lost soul.
I’d been seduced by a demon kiss.
I had let her take control.

She led me to forbidden ecstasy.
Made me beg for more.
Overcame me with erotic supremacy.
Left me exhausted on Hade’s shore.

My heart she chained and broke my will.
My lust conquered my shame.
She showed me every sinful thrill,
Until I burst with damnation’s flame.

Now I fear I will burn forever,
Soullessly blazing in her arms.
I know she will release me never.
I’ll broil eternally in her evil charms.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Thoughts are moving through my mind,
Ideas and visions of every kind.
Getting me excited.

I scan them quickly as they pass by,
Searching for order in the stampede.
But, no matter how hard I try,
The chaos pays me no heed.

I think some secret within them flows,
That, if grasped, would make me wise.
A word, perhaps, that no one knows,
Until a person dies.

Hidden in the confusion
Perhaps there is a guide
That cuts through illusion
And show me what’s inside.

I’ll just lie back and let them stream,
Let them bathe my being.
I hope that they will make me dream
So I may see what needs seeing.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Man’s future lies among the stars,
Not huddled timid on the earth.
There is a destiny that’s ours
Far from our place of birth.


This planet is mother to our kind.
We were nurtured here, and grew.
It is where we evolved our wondrous mind,
But our growing is not through.


We must leave our familiar shore
We will spread out wide and far.
We will grow greater, become more
Reach beyond what we now are.


From this small rock we will break out,
Let all worlds know we’re here.
The great cosmos will hear our shout.
And marvel as we appear.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Don’t dare look into the sun.
So the wise ones say.
But that is where life is begun.
I will not turn away.

Let it sear my eyes.
Let it burn my brain.
If it helps me find the prize,
I will stand the pain

There is warmth in the sun’s gold heat.
There is vision in its light.
There all forms of energy meet,
And great ideas ignite.

I will focus on the great star’s core.
Until it scars me with Truth’s fire.
Until it makes my Being more,
Until it lifts my searching mind higher.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Slip softly from my arms.
Linger briefly at my fingertips.
Give me a moment with your charms.
Let me brush your crimson lips.

Though you leave my bed,
You are always in my heart.
Through all the day ahead,
I will pray for night to start.

But when you steal away
From your world and back to mine,
You turn night into day.
You bring your own sunshine.

Once again I will caress you,
Light our fire and feel it burn.
With passion I will bless you,
Thanking gods of love for your return.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Close your eyes and look for me.
You will find me waiting.
I am where we both should be,
In the world we are creating.

We’ll keep the outside world at bay,
Only its good things may enter.
Sadness and cruelty stay away.
Love is our world’s center.

I’ll shut my eyes and meet you.
We’ll embrace and become one.
You’ll be me and I’ll complete you.
Our secret life will have begun.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I am only a gentle breeze,
A zephyr, mild and scented.
My mission is to please,
To leave mankind contented.

My whispers will caress you,
Make you relaxed and calm.
My silken breath will bless you,
Cross your face like soothing balm.

My brothers are the violent winds,
Ripping cyclone and slashing gale.
I am here to make amends,
To bring tranquility where the others fail.

My loving flow will bring you peace,
Will cool your forehead as you dream.
My soft touch will not cease
To carry you along in my restful stream.



Hollywood Streets
The Key
The Lesser Star
Dawn Clouds
My Lost Soul
Jump Up
Wondering If I Should Carry On
Softly Spoken Lies
Mankind's Destiny
Look Into The Sun
The Old Man's Scars
Slip Softly Away
Inside You
Last Breath
Cry Out, My Country!
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