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© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

The Jihadi Stabbed Me
Kissing Life

By Carl Martin Johnson

I lifted sweet Life to me
To kiss her baby cheek.
She smiled as if she knew me
And what answers I would seek.

I gazed deep into her eyes,
Searching for her soul.
But I could not find the prize
That would make my being whole.

She was an infant but would grow.
I would nurture her with care.
One day I would know
Life’s secrets should I dare.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I am lonely, but I smile.
To help disguise my sadness.
If only for a while,
It drives off the madness.

Perhaps a happy face,
False though it may be,
Will lead me to a place
Where I’ll find solitude’s key.

Somewhere along the way
I pray there’s someone waiting.
If I find her I will stay
And spend life celebrating.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I love the howling wind.
She is the storm god’s greeting.
She marks me as a friend,
One the storm is meeting.

She was a breeze before a gale.
Like a spark grows to a flame.
As her purr became a wail,
She whispered me her name.

In Man’s tongue it can’t be said,
But it flowed into my being.
The sound vibrates in my head
With the wind the storm is freeing.

She said the tempest’s song
Is the dirge for souls just dying.
It carries them along
And blocks their loved one’s crying.

My name one day she’ll scream.
Her music sung for me,
Escorting me to the dream
That is Eternity.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Her image in the mirror
Was a ghost and nothing more.
No magic words could cheer her.
Life had left her years before.

She stared at the reflection,
At the dead look in the eyes.
She once sought resurrection,
But that hope was full of lies.

Her spirit was sucked dry.
Life had taken heavy toll.
No more tears to cry
From her dusty, weary soul.

Her youth had not been wasted.
She’d known love and joy.
Forbidden fruit she’d tasted,
Then learned beauty could destroy.

Her heart had made mistakes.
Now penance she was paying.
Life permitted no retakes,
In spite of all her praying.

But in her eyes, far deep,
Hope sparked, though nearly gone.
It held despair in keep,
And made her carry on.

Then a smile came near,
One none could see but she,
From a dream she still held dear,
Someday she would make it be.


By Carl Martin Johnson

In the still I hear life flowing,
A river rushing by.
Deep, intense and growing,
The writhing cosmos’ cry.

The current draws me in,
Pulling me to the center.
Whirling in Being’s spin,
Challenging me to enter.

I close my eyes and listen,
Drowning in the joy.
Feeling the wavelets glisten,
As my sorrows they destroy.

I float softly in the stream,
All living things around me.
Loving my soul’s dream
And the wonders that surround me.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Follow me, my friend.
I’ve found where I am going.
Far past this life’s end
Into the realm of Knowing.



By Carl Martin Johnson

I stared into the soldier’s eyes.
I saw the killing there.
The fighter wore a man’s disguise,
But Death lurked in his stare.

I saw sprawled bodies of those he’d slain,
Rivers of blood he’d shed.
I gasped at the horror and the pain
On the faces of the dead.

I spied countryside laid waste,
Armageddon by his hand.
Fumes of annihilation I could taste
From the ruined, butchered land.

Then I reached for my reflection,
Touched the hard face on the glass.
Saw a man with Death’s complexion
Who had earned the Devil’s pass.

I would overcome death dealing
Though that fight be long and hard.
But I had lost man’s finer feeling
And my soul forever scarred.


By Carl Martin Johnson

A stranger saved me with a smile
On my way to suicide.
I had been down for a long while.
I envied those who’d died.

I judged my life a hopeless path,
With no hope for tomorrow.
My soul was filled with futile wrath.
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But his smile a memory brought to mind,
And that one sparked another,
Of days past that were warm and kind,
With every man my brother.

Now when I rise to see the dawn,
I thank that smiling stranger.
He encouraged me to carry on.
He saved my soul from danger.




By Carl Martin Johnson

He was a man worth knowing,
The sort you rarely find.
He’d been where I was going,
And freely shared his mind.

His wisdom was well-earned.
His opinion sought by many.
No question ever spurned.
Enemies? …He’d not any.

As he learned more each day,
The knowledge made him smile.
The lessons he’d convey
Made time with him worthwhile.

But as he pursued his knowing feast,
His bright smile lost its shine.
He had found Mankind a beast,
More animal than Divine.

One day he simply left.
No one knew where he was going.
For a time I was bereft.
He was a man worth ka nowing


By Carl Martin Johnson

Seems they signed a declaration,
Our educated men.
Says we are now a nation,
That our future can begin.

To a simple man like me
It is a mighty plan.
No more colonist I’ll be.
I am American.

King George won’t let us go.
There’ll be a damned big fight.
Many will die, I know,
But we must do what’s right.

I best get to the farm.
I need to tell my wife.
Time has come for risking harm.
Time has come for risking life.

And though we be ordinary,
What we will do is great.
The burden we will carry
Will forever change Man’s fate.



By Carl Martin Johnson

Stand fast against the foe.
Do not let him win.
If we fight him, he will go,
And a better world begin.

Let not terror rule our lands.
Take up arms and fight.
With weapons or bare hands,
It is we who share God’s might.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The jihadi stabbed me with his knife,
But struck my heart of steel.
For a man to take my life,
He must have a cause that’s real.

By Carl Martin Johnson

What word will I leave behind?
What letters will define me?
What will followers find?
Which syllables would enshrine me?

Will the word come all as one,
Or one letter at a time?
When the word is done,
Can I make it rhyme?

Will the word be read?
Will it be of worth?
Live after I am dead?
Be my legacy on this earth?


By Carl Martin Johnson

I feel it in the air tonight.
Something special’s coming my way.
It’s not yet in sight,
But hard-hurtling down fate’s highway.

Is it seeking my embrace?
Perhaps it wants my ending.
Until I look upon its face,
I’ll not know what it’s intending.

‘Til then I will stand waiting.
For any destiny prepared.
It will not find me hesitating.
I am anxious but not scared.


By Carl Martin Johnson

You can ride me if you tame me,
If you break me to the bit.
Then, darling, come and claim me,
If you’re a lover with some grit.

It is true that I am wild.
To the saddle yet unbroken.
Yet I can be beguiled
If love’s magic words are spoken.

Only then may you mount me.
At a gallop we will ride.
In your remuda count me.
I will carry you with pride.

A wild horse will want riding,
If the rider loves the steed.
The bronco will take guiding
If you fill the mustang’s need.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Heat is coursing through me.
Heating body. Heating soul.
What it will do to me
Is out of my control.

I am sizzling with Life’s fire,
Melting inhibitions.
Refining my desire
To love without contrition.

I see flames I cannot feel.
They are bright but do not burn.
Made of spirit, yet still real.
From where they lead I can’t return.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I am happy here inside.
Letting the world flow ‘round me.
Here I safely hide
Fears outside would hound me.

I know I must emerge.
Life is out there calling.
Yet I truly have no urge.
I would hate all the brawling.

But soon I’ll peek out from this womb
To face the dragons that await.
From then until the tomb,
I’ll use love to fight the hate.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Don’t you say, never say.
Keep the lie as true.
I’ll trust you anyway.
I’ll pretend I never knew.

I will make my eyes deceive me,
When he holds you in embrace.
I would not have you leave me.
I’ll endure any disgrace.

What worth truth if it bring sadness,
If only a source of sorrow.
Shall I let it cause me madness,
Or close my eyes until tomorrow.

Then truth may be my friend,
May show me that you care.
Then no more must I pretend
That I don’t see what is there.


By Carl Martin Johnson

I was wiser yesterday.
I let my youth inform me.
I watched troubles float away,
Unworried that they harm me.

Dawn chased off bad dreams
And filled my heart with light.
Livened me with sunbeams.
Made all wrong things right.

But the years have drained my daring.
Too many problems give me pause.
Precious hours I waste despairing,
Caught in trepidation’s trembling jaws.

I must go easy with Life’s flow,
Unafraid to take a chance.
Let youth’s wisdom help me grow.
Step bravely in Life’s dance.


By Carl Martin Johnson

Leave me now, my friend.
I’m off to find my way.
Our friendship need not end,
But you really cannot stay.

Only I will make this quest.
No one else can aid me.
No friendly arm for rest,
Until I discover why God made me.

I don’t know the path to take,
And no man can direct me.
But I must try for my soul’s sake
To have my fate select me.

When I find me I’ll return.
What I have learned I’ll gladly share.
For that knowledge I now yearn.
It waits somewhere out there.


By Carl Martin Johnson

The Dead wander serene.
No longer are they mortal.
No more blinded by life’s screen.
They’ve escaped it through Death’s portal.

While they are content,
They are not elated.
For a good life fully spent,
This is not what they awaited.

Must be another stage, they say,
Moving toward God’s Mind.
This peaceful Heaven is okay,
But not what they hoped to find.

These souls, impatient, wait,
Though time now has no meaning.
There must be another Gate
To escape this quarantining.

Far beyond they sense a glowing,
Pulling them in slow.
The spirits want the Knowing,
Feel the hunger for it grow.


By Carl Martin Johnson

She died before her song was played.
It was her kind of dance.
I think she would have rather stayed,
If she’d only had the chance.

It was surely not the first song
Praising her sweet being.
Her time on our stage was not long,
But a performance well worth seeing.

She didn’t live to hear a note
Of this piece written for her.
But I pray she knows it was I who wrote,
And that I still adore her.

By Carl Martin Johnson

A tear rolled quickly from his eye,
But it took all his life to fall.
It came from his not knowing why
He had lived at all.
By Carl Martin Johnson

In the Bible there’s a word
Whose meaning no one knows.
No man understands when heard,
But in many Psalms it shows.

Some say it’s a direction
To a psalm’s music score,
Instruction on inflection,
But what if it is more?

Perhaps an invocation,
Reserved for a magic being.
First uttered before Creation
When Lucifer was fleeing.

I will whisper “Selah” low,
See what the conjuring brings.
Then it may be I will know
Sacred, secret things.
Lonely Man's Mask
Something's In The Air
The Howling Wind
Ride Me
Ghost In The Mirror
In The Still
Don't Say
Youth's Wisdom
The Face Of War
I'm Off To Find My Way
A Stranger's Smile
Kingdom Of The Dead
A Man Worth Knowing
Her Song
The Declaration
The Quick Tear
Stand Fast
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