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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

Shadow People


By Carl Martin Johnson

For days I climbed the mountain,
Determined in my chase.
I was hunting wisdom’s fountain
Atop the great peak’s face.

Beyond a crag of stone,
Before hidden from my sight,
Appeared a cavern on its own,
Its interior dark as night.

Is what I seek inside,
So close, so near my reach?
Then why in darkness hide
When there is so much to teach?

I’m peering into the den.
What does the darkness hold?
Does good or evil lurk within?
I need now to be bold.

If I enter, I may grow wise,
And thus fulfill my quest,
Or some danger may surprise.
I could become the Dragon’s guest.

Undecided here I stand
Will my thirst for truth prevail,
Or will I succumb to caution’s command,
And my evolution fail?




By Carl Martin Johnson

I first saw the sun this dawn.
First time with my soul’s eyes.
I found the world the star shines on
Is God’s face in disguise.

The sunrays’ colors I could smell,
Shades of orange, yellow, red.
The aromas wrapped me in their spell,
Painting eternity in my head.

I tasted an early sunbeam,
Savored its life-giving spice,
Let it lull me into daydream,
Fantasies of Divine device.

The flaming sun and I were mated
Granting me rebirth.
As a New Man now I’m fated
To be guardian of this earth.




By Carl Martin Johnson

The mirror showed a comely face,
With youthful beauty left behind.
She looked close to see the grace
Still there, though hard to find.

Had she wasted all her youth
In vain and selfish living?
Perhaps she had, in truth.
But life had been forgiving.

Behind her in the reflection
Her handsome lover stood.
He was no longer perfection,
Yet few men looked as good.

They would not grow old alone.
And they were far from their lives end.
Each the other’s heart would own.
Now each was lover, each was friend.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I’ll be beside you when you wake.
I’ll hold you when you sleep.
I’ll share every breath you take.
I’ll dry each tear you weep.

When you hunger I will feed you.
When you’re tired I’ll give you rest.
I’ll let you know I need you
And want you with me on Life’s quest.

In the twilight we’ll embrace.
I will kindle your desire.
The longing in my face
Will light your passion’s fire.

When Life’s light grows weak,
Our time here nears its end.
We will have no need to speak.
You’ll know this lover was your friend.




By Carl Martin Johnson


Life is not a thing that money can buy,
Or the rich would live and never die,
And a poor man would die young.


Could I reach up and kiss God’s face,
I would ask him please to give me grace
To speak the angels’ tongue.


I would make a very fine song to sing.
Write it out myself on an angel’s wing,
Then listen to it sung.


That’s enough for a poor poet like me
To buy my own slice of eternity,
Where Heaven’s lights are hung.




By Carl Martin Johnson


Inside, my soul is burning.
Its flames light up my being.
For love and truth I’m yearning.
Life’s pettiness I’m fleeing.


Let my passion rule.
Only then can I succeed.
I will not remain a tool
Of life’s lethargic speed.


My loving is not mild.
It is a roaring fire.
An inferno raging wild,
Consuming all with my desire.


Join your soul’s blaze with mine.
We’ll illuminate the night.
Our own world we’ll design,
And keep our souls alight.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Is it you, my love, I wonder,
Or a figment of my emotion.
Are you the storm or only thunder,
A lovely fiction of my devotion?

Are you my creature of desire?
An illusion of my heart,
Formed in ardor’s raging fire,
A living work of art?

If I could look inside your mind,
Is it the real you I would see?
Or is the person I would find
The lover dreamed by me?

Your eyes sparkle when they see me.
Do I just hope them so?
Your expression, warm and dreamy,
Is that true passion’s glow?

Imagined, dear, or real,
You own my very soul.
The passion for you I feel
Is the glue that keeps me whole.




By Carl Martin Johnson


I lurk in shadows made by starlight,
Though what casts them I can’t see.
Beings blocking that soft farlight
Are invisible to men like me.


My angel cannot find me there,
With no starshine to guide.
He smothers me with too much care.
Sometimes I have to hide.


I must make my own way,
Or I never will grow strong.
Wading alone into life’s fray,
Is where men like me belong.


I’ll stay in shadows ‘til the dawn.
In the day I’ll prove my worth.
With no protector I’ll go on.
I’ll be the one who rules the earth.




By Carl Martin Johnson

Your brothers already have warmed me.
Dear compadre, now it is your turn.
Your sweet fire has never harmed me,
Though it’s true I do feel a burn.

But you soften my worldly sorrow,
Lead me to happier dreams.
Make me feel that tomorrow
Will be better than it currently seems.

So I’ll stop talking and drink you down,
And I’ll probably have several more.
You’ll resculpt a smile from my frown,
Even though I may fall to the floor.

Tomorrow when I awake,
I’ll swear never to taste you again.
Yet I know that for courtesy’s sake,
I’ll greet you ‘fore nightfall, old friend.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I died for you today.
I would die for you again.
I took the warrior's way
So that our child might win.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I reined in my horse at the eerie sound.
Pulled my six-gun just in case.
Up ahead on the rocky ground
A coyote’s prey had lost the race.

The rabbit screamed like a demon dying,
Sharp teeth sunk into his throat.
Desert silence pierced with crying.
Chances of survival were remote.

The wolf kin sensed me and went still.
I cocked my revolver and took aim.
He would not run, leaving his kill.
For that I gave no blame.

He looked up at me and knew.
The fear in his yellow eyes gone.
He saw I was a hunter too.
I holstered my pistol and rode on.


By Carl Martin Johnson


The shadow people move by day,
Yet never see the sun.
They find no joy along their way,
No happiness….no fun.


They walk past in a mist of gloom.
Smiles never break their faces.
They hold in close embrace their doom,
Freezing dead all human traces.


Their shadows surround and block the light.
In that darkness do not follow.
Choose the day, refuse the night.
Shadow people live life hollow.


By Carl Martin Johnson

When I found him he was dying.
He lay bleeding in the dirt.
I saw that he’d been crying,
But not from his body’s hurt.

He was wounded gravely.
Even so he forced a smile.
He was facing his fate bravely,
Leaving life in manly style.

Jacket and tags were blown away,
So I couldn’t read his name.
He motioned me to stay.
He seemed relieved I came.

“In a minute I’ll be dead,”
He spat through bubbling blood.
“I’ve got something must be said.”
He rose up in the mud.

“The enemy that’s killed me
Is lying over there.
I’m done with the hate that filled me.
Poor bastard fought me fair.”

“I wish I wasn’t going,
But I’m a soldier too.
It’s a thing soldiers are knowing.
But don’t think it will come true.”

“You know, it’s not the leaving,
That makes me feel so sad.
It’s that no one will be grieving.
I got no family, never had.”

His eyes closed for a second.
I stood to let him go.
Then he looked up and beckoned.
I knelt and he whispered low.

“I won’t cross nobody’s mind.
Won’t be no one at my grave.
So, if you’d be so kind,
There’s a favor that I crave.”

“Look at me quick again.
I’m goin’ fast I know you see.
I am a man who once has been.
Please…..Remember me.”

And I do.
By Carl Martin Johnson

Let Life inundate you.
Let it drown you in sweet cheer.
Let its current stimulate you.
Let only joy bring you a tear.

Ride the tide of Being.
Your existence fully know.
Your soul you could be freeing.
Take command and let it go.

From Life’s river drink you deep.
Quench your soulful thirst.
One day you will sleep,
But live completely first.
By Carl Martin Johnson

I see a bubble floating by.
Try to catch, but it’s too fast.
Seems no matter how I try
It eludes me, slipping past.

It may hit the ground and pop
If I don’t get it soon.
Or it might rise and never stop
Until it hits the moon.

Reflections shine from the sphere’s smooth skin.
Life that is…will be…and gone.
All my virtue, all my sin.
All I build my dreams upon.

But is the bubble tricking me?
A secret does it hide?
It is only the surface I can see.
Could the truth be kept inside.


By Carl Martin Johnson


Your nails carve red rivers down my chest.
You are tigress….I’m your prey.
You tell me I can have no rest
Until you have your way.


You sink your teeth into my shoulder.
I writhe in pleasure from the pain.
I rise up as you grow bolder,
But you shove me down again.


With your knees you pin me firm,
Your naked weight against my skin.
I begin to squirm,
But your fierce eyes declare you win.


Your hungry mouth attacks my own,
Lips burning me with their heat.
Lighting passion never known,
My body throbs with loving’s beat.


I am drained, but your beauty thrills me,
So your torments I’ll endure
I care not if it kills me.
My love is madness with no cure.




By Carl Martin Johnson


He looked back over the years.
There was much that he’d undo.
But he would cry no tears.
That would do no good, he knew.


It was a summer day, and hot,
Sweat already forming on his brow.
Some things best forgot
Were coming to mind now.


He drove those memories from thought,
Raised his gaze to the sky’s clear blue.
His life was dearly bought.
He would treat it as brand new.


He threw his duffel over his shoulder.
It was heavy and the journey long.
His stamina dimmed now he was older.
Even so, he was still strong.


Despite the time the journey took,
To a man’s death he’s never late.
He turned back for a final look
At the closing prison gate.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Look into my eyes.
You’ll find all Mankind in my soul.
So it should come as no surprise
That without you I’m not whole.




By Carl Martin Johnson

I am a soul that’s just been slapped awake.
This is my body’s day of birth.
So now my first breath
I’ll take,
And begin my time on earth.

Perhaps I was asleep before,
Though I doubt we souls need rest,
Or only kept behind birth’s door,
Held unaware until life’s test.

I’ll lose this memory in a minute,
My mind becoming a clear slate.
This is a new existence, and I’ll begin it,
From this moment on this date.

I’ll live until this life is done.
I’ll grow then have rebirth,
Into a life, a better one,
Where I will have true worth.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Whisper to me, Brother Wind.
Reveal all secrets you carry.
I will be your trusted friend.
No need to be wary.

Speak quietly of the gods on high,
What their plans are for my race.
Act, dear Wind, as mankind’s spy.
Deceiving the gods is no disgrace.

Blow softly past their celestial thrones.
Take heed of what they’re saying,
Lest you soon sweep over our dead bones
To the wails of widows’ praying.

Be with us in the war to come.
The battle will be glorious.
When cruel gods beat the divine war drum,
It is human soul will be victorious.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I would have drowned,
But drank the sea.
Never have been found,
If not lost in misery.

All my life has meaning,
All the good and all the bad.
Since the womb I have been weaning
With each experience I’ve had.

I embrace trial and travail.
Though they cause me pain.
I may struggle, even fail,
Yet through suffering is there gain.


Did life not wound and batter,
I could not learn life’s joy,
Finding the things that matter,
Those that hurt cannot destroy.


By Carl Martin Johnson

"To change my land,
You must kill me.
So here I stand.
I will bend no knee."


The Cave
Remember Me
My Soul's First Dawn
Love Late
Ride The Tide Of Being
Price Of A Poor Man's Immortality
The Bubble
Lover Friend
Woman Unleashed
My Burning Soul
Reflection On Leaving
Starlight Shadows
Are You Real?
Birth Day
Brother Wind
Ode To A Shot Of Tequila
I Drank The Sea
Hard Life
I Died For You Today
Look Into My Eyes
To Change My Land
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