© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 

DEATH OF A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER AT VICKSBURG
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

I see the Yankees comin’.
Must be a thousan’ on that hill.
I hear their drummers drummin’.
It’s me they’re out to kill.

 

Soldiers like them burned our farm.
Wasn’t much, but all we had.
Said they wouldn’t do us harm.
Then they up an’ killed my dad.

 

Walker’s Texans signed me on.
I lied about my age.
Momma cried an’ carried on.
But I was full o’ hate and rage.

 

Front of me’s a scary sight.
Most blue boys I ever seen.
Hell of a day to fight.
Today I turn fifteen.

 

Now their cannons spittin’ fire.
Muskets blastin’ through the noise
Their shootin’ I admire.
Good shots, them Yankee boys.

 

Damn! What slapped my head!?
It hurts….hurts pretty bad.
A Yankee bullet’s killed me dead.
It’s been quick, this life I had.

 

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THE STAR LOOKED BACK
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

I searched the star-strewn summer sky
Seeking solace for my soul.
I watched the comets flying by
Under some wild god’s control.

 

The sight lifted my sad heart,
Sparked a reluctant smile,
Blowing my dark thoughts apart,
Leaving me happy for a while.

 

I focused on a single star.
Whose blue beauty made me gasp.
It seemed not out so very far.
If I reached out, I could grasp.

 

I was strong drawn to its cold fire,
The way it ruled the night,
Tiny angels’ funeral pyre,
Spyhole into Heaven’s might.

 

I peered deep into its spark,
Brilliant glimpse of infinity.
Loving light in the endless dark.
And the star looked back at me.

 

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LIFE DOES NOT OWN ME
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

You will never own me, Life.
Of my whole you’re just a part.
Your comrade Death’s sharp knife,
Can’t stop my soul, only my heart.

 

I hold you not most dear.
Many things I place above.
I will trade you without fear
For honor and for love.

 

The time will come I’ll lose you.
With some regret we will part ways.
Although I did not choose you,
I have embraced you many days.

 

Without me you’ll survive,
And I will go on being.
You’ll make other men alive,
But my soul you’ll be freeing.

 

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THE SNIPER
By Carl Martin Johnson

I can clearly see your face
In the crosshairs of my scope.
I cannot offer grace.
I cannot hold out hope.

I stare at your watchful eye,
The twitch pulling at your cheek.
You are about to die,
Though that’s not what I seek.

You scan the treeline for me
And others from my side.
I am hard for you to see.
In this jungle I well hide.

The sweat falls from your brow.
This place is goddamned hot.
Yes, you are drinking now.
I’ll hold off on my shot.

What’s that in your hand?
A photo, I believe.
If my bullet goes where planned,
At least you will be grieved.

Is it your wife and child?
What will they do when you are dead?
I almost hope my aim goes wild,
Or the slug will split your head.

The sun is nearly set.
I must do it soon.
So quickly I regret.
But there may not be a moon.

On a day to come
Could be my profile in the sight.
Then I’ll hear the bullet hum
That sends me into night.

We are brothers, you and I.
Bastard sons of war.
Under the same earth we’ll both lie
Before time travels very far.

But I will not kill tonight,
From hiding dealing death.
Tomorrow we will fight,
Face to face, to the last breath.

 

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LIFE IN DREAMS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Maybe it is funny, or maybe only sad,
That the life I have in dreams
Is the best I’ve ever had.
It’s a world that I create.

A magic one it seems.
Entered only through sleep’s gate.
One day I will choose.
In one life I will stay.

The other life I’ll lose.
Should I want what I designed,
And it’s likely that I may.
Then my world will be my mind.

 

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INTO THE FIRE
By Carl Martin Johnson

I walked into the fire
With no fear of the heat.
The flames fueled my desire
To make my soul complete.

I rushed into the night,
Held its softness in my hand.
Searched its darkness without fright
To help me understand.

I dove into the sea,
Hoping its depths could share
What it means to Be.
What we are, and where.

I inhaled a baby’s breath
To find if it is true
That there is more than life and death
For those like me and you.

At last a whisper found me,
Absorbed into my soul
From the noosphere around me.
Not wisdom’s flame, only a coal.

And I knew, just for a minute,
All there was to know and why
About the world and all that’s in it.
Then it vanished ‘til I die.

 

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MOVING ON
By Carl Martin Johnson

I stumbled in life yesterday.
A large bump in the road.
A trouble was placed in my way.
An especially heavy load.

I could handle all the pain.
I had dealt with that before.
It would serve nothing to complain.
It was not worth it any more.

I’d been hurt, but not quite killed.
I could still stand up and fight.
If I wanted life’s dreams fulfilled,
I must strive with all my might.

There were tears.
A little blood.
I held off fears.
Not down for good.

I slammed the trouble in his face.
Took him out before he took me.
A new one would soon take his place.
But for the moment I was free.

I’ll keep on forging down the road.
To stop me will take death.
No matter how dire the load,
I’ll move on ‘til my last breath.

 

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COME BACK, HOPE
By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw her beauty far too late,
Gold haze slipping away.
Without her I loathe my fate.
For my sins I’ll dearly pay.

Without her kiss I cannot live.
Why did I ever doubt her?
Only Hope my dreams can give.
They will die undone without her.

My grasp closed on vanishing mist.
She had given up on me.
My lips would not by hers be kissed.
Hope had cast me free.

My heart called out in pain.
It begged her to return.
To come back and remain.
Lest my soul in despair’s flames burn.

Defeat weighed close my eyes.
I could fight no more.
My shouts reduced to sighs.
My dreams strewn o’er the floor.

Then I smelled Hope’s angel breath.
Tasted her nectar on my lips.
As she saved my dreams from death
With her wine’s life-giving drips.

I took her in my arms.
I held her fast to me.
Life without her has no charms.
She sweeps away its misery.

 

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STAND PROUD
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Sing to me of times long past,
Of days of strength in men.
Days when justice was true and fast.
May those days come again.

 

When we allow the weak to guide us,
When we adopt a coward’s ways,
No dark scoundrel’s cloud can hide us
From our Founders’ judging gaze.

 

Will we not stand proud?
Must we bend to whim?
If we citizens are cowed,
Our nation’s future will be grim.

 

Let none insult our soul.
We have reason to stand tall.
Proud of our worldly role,
We must not let our banner fall.

 

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OUR AMERICAN EXPERIMENT
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Can we succeed in what we’re trying?
Will it work with what we are?
Has it been worth all the dying
To move along this far?

 

Our Founding Fathers risked their all
To create a fine New Dream.
We must not let this nation fall.
We have the future to redeem.

 

Now her birthday comes again.
We’ve survived another year.
Look proudly where we’ve been,
And face the future without fear.

 

Take deep pride in our birth.
There is no other like us yet.
Be an example to the Earth.
It’s up to us, do not forget.

 

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BREATHE YOUR LOVE
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Breathe soft your love upon my skin.
With that same love anoint me.
Our sweet lust is no sin,
So come, don’t disappoint me.

 

Sip gently at love’s dew,
Our passion’s perspiration.
The nectar that we brew
Is of our ardor’s celebration.

 

Feel the energy, feel it surge.
Fueling the hot fire of our need.
Let it feed our bodies’ urge.
That invitation we will heed.

 

And I will breathe your breath.
Let your aroma fill me.
Pure ecstasy, near death,
Yet, love for you can’t kill me.

 

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WAILING WIND
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

Wailing Wind, blow past.
Carry sorrow far away.
Shred the clouds low overcast.
Show me a sunny day.

 

Your sad notes I hear.
Sounds of lost souls weeping.
But these songs inspire no fear.
I know the dead are sleeping.

 

Cool me with your flowing.
Soothe my troubled mind.
Let happiness be knowing.
Be gentle, Wind, and kind.

 

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DEATH’S COLD EYE
By Carl Martin Johnson

My gaze held fast on Death’s cold eye.
He was challenging me to blink.
He’d come a long way to see me die.
Hoping my lifeblood to drink.

I put fiery hate into my stare,
Disdaining his thirsty grin.
One day I would pay my mortal’s share,
But this was not where or when.

I felt his cold grip ‘round my heart.
He squeezed tight, but I fought.
If this world I was to depart,
My leaving would be dearly bought.

Death saw in my eyes he would not win.
His grin melted into a smile.
He knew the fight was over then
I would live a while.

 

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A PRETTY WOMAN’S TEAR
By Carl Martin Johnson

I saw a tear fall from her eye.
I did not know the cause.
I was only passing by,
Yet it made me pause.

She was lovely and alone.
She looked so helpless to me.
My heart is not made of stone.
Her forlorn beauty drew me.

I wrapped her in my arms.
Wiped the teardrops from her cheek.
Entranced by the darling’s charms,
I could scarcely speak.

I decided to be brave.
To ask her to be mine.
To confess her love I crave.
To beg affection’s sign.

Before a word was spoken
She pulled free from my hold.
My heart was nearly broken.
Had I been too bold?

She ran to a handsome youth.
Perhaps he who made her cry.
I knew the cold hard truth.
Now the tear was in my eye.

A love quick found and lost,
And the morning was still new.
I had paid a heartbreak’s cost,
But I had more loving to do.


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ALONE IS WHO I AM
By Carl Martin Johnson

Am I alone for good?
To be alone just who I am?
Should that be understood.
Should my heart’s door slam.

In love’s pursuit I’ve lost,
My affection unreturned.
I’ve paid a heavy cost
In torment at being spurned.

Shall I hold myself inside?
Keep secret my desire?
All soft feelings hide?
Smother passion’s fire?

Or more risk shall I take,
Though my heart be broken?
Once more brave for true love’s sake,
Let the words be spoken?

I must risk the sorrow,
For a chance to be complete.
Perhaps I’ll find love tomorrow.
I won’t accept defeat.

 

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DRINKING RIVER WATER
By Carl Martin Johnson

When you’re near dead of thirst,
River water is damn tasty.
I looked ‘round me first,
Then gulped it down real hasty.

A slug got me in the back.
Bounced a rib, so didn’t kill me.
Cartel’s way down the track,
So I got time for this stream to fill me.

I’ve been moving for two days.
Not a bullet for my gun.
I would have gone out in a blaze,
But instead, I better run.

If I rest here for too long,
It’ll be a hard end for this sinner.
I’ll be singin’ my death song,
I’ll be the coyotes’ dinner.

This Rio Grande I’d cross.
In Texas free and gone.
But I’m so goddamned lost,
I can’t tell what side I’m on.

 

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STEP INTO MY MIND
By Carl Martin Johnson

Step into my mind.
Let me introduce you to me.
I think perhaps you’ll find
You only thought you knew me.

My eyes can be peepholes.
When lightning flashes fire look in.
Way down inside those deep holes
You can see where I begin.

There is a soul there growing,
Becoming a creature greater.
I am learning that geist’s knowing.
I am its creator.

 

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SECRET LOVE
By Carl Martin Johnson

 

My lover is not mine.
She sleeps in another’s arms.
I drown myself in wine
To forget who enjoys her charms.

 

But she lies with me in dreams,
Where our naked bodies touch.
Intertwined amongst moonbeams.
Fleeting moments our hearts clutch.

 

Her breath is sweet with lust,
Eyes dewy with ardor’s tears.
We share complete love’s trust.
No inhibitions and no fears.

 

As she gives in to her man’s desire,
Lets him satisfy his needs,
Thoughts of me set her afire,
And her woman’s torn heart bleeds.

 

When they are done she turns away,
Her body’s pleasures wasted.
She begs the angels for the day
We share love we’ve only tasted.

 

I look up to the skies,
Seeking solace from my pain,
Cold drops of sadness in my eyes.
Hoping I don’t love in vain.

 

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