© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

 
 

THE MAN IN THE PICTURE
By Carl Martin Johnson

There is a picture in my room
Of a man I never met.
Dead when I was in the womb,
So there’s nothing to forget.

But he made me who I am.
Many things I owe him.
That’s why I give a damn
I never got to know him.

He would have thrown the ball
I caught in my new glove.
He would have given all.
Showed me a father’s love.

I make up days we had,
Wishing they were true,
Saying “Thanks, my buddy, Dad!
You know that I love you.”

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IF WE MUST FIGHT
By Carl Martin Johnson

If we must fight, we cannot wait.
Our enemy grows stronger.
Strike now, or be too late.
Then the bloodshed will last longer.

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HOLDING BACK THE DAWN
By Carl Martin Johnson

I am holding back the dawn.
No new day will break through.
Life cannot move on
Until I’m back with you.

Under night’s black cloak I’ll hide.
No light will warm my heart
Before I am by your side,
Never more to part.

Then I’ll release the sun,
Let it set afire the sky.
Melt two souls into one
With love that cannot die.

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JUAN ARTURO
By Carl Martin Johnson

His song was still inside him
When Juan Arturo died.
Its aria denied him,
And for that his sad ghost cried.

It was a song of glory,
Of great service to Mankind.
It was the sort of story
A man would love to leave behind.

The lyrics were quite daring.
The music brave and bold.
An epic well worth sharing.
A tale worth being told.

But Juan Arturo held it in.
No coward, only shy.
Now it was too late to begin.
Now the song would die.

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RUN!
By Carl Martin Johnson

Run! Or Life will catch you.
It’s your keeper, not your friend.
Too soon it will dispatch you.
Its goal is just to end.

Life follows close behind,
A bright shadow on your trail.
Watchdog to you assigned,
Who knows he will prevail.

Run now, while yet you can.
Life is a small piece of Being.
You are more than just a man.
Only a part of you you’re fleeing.

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HELLO, SILENCE, MY OLD FRIEND
By Carl Martin Johnson

Hello, Silence, my old friend.
I need to talk to you again.
In you alone can I confide.
From all else my fears I hide.

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LIFE IS A DISEASE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Life is a disease.
It will kill you in the end.
Meantime, let it please.
Make of it your friend.

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MY FATHER’S GRAVE
By Carl Martin Johnson

I’m at my father’s grave today,
Wondering about his life.
About where his thoughts and memories stay
Of his children and his wife.

Does he see me praying here?
Is he now who he was living?
Does he hear with his soul’s ear
The song that my soul’s giving?

My son may one day stand like this
When I am in the ground.
I hope he’ll know his laugh I miss,
No matter the joy I’ve found.

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I WILL WORSHIP WITH MY LIPS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Let me worship with my lips.
You will feel my moist tongue pray,
Tasting your beauty in slow sips
Until you beg for me to stay.

You will my every kiss endure,
‘Til fiery passion drives you wild.
Though the love we have is pure,
It has bred lustful Eros’ child.

And when our ardent play is done,
Then my kisses will grow tender.
Our two bodies joined as one,
Intertwined in sweet surrender.

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KISS ME, LIFE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Come, sweet Life, and kiss me.
We have been in love so long.
If I lose you, you will miss me.
Our bond is wondrous strong.

I keep your warmth inside.
I feel you coursing through me.
On your wildness I will ride,
While you do magic to me.

Someday we will rest.
On that day we must part.
‘Til then I’ll do my best
To hold you dearly in my heart.

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NEW SON
By Carl Martin Johnson

Rest gentle ‘gainst my chest, dear son.
Your world is just beginning.
Some battles for you I have won.
Soon you must do the winning.

God grant that you be strong.
You’ll need a manly heart
To sing your own lifesong,
Long after I depart

Always protect the weak.
Keep your homeland free.
Think long before you speak,
And then speak sparingly.

I’ll try hard to raise you well.
I’ll protect you when I can.
But let you your own wars quell,
Then you’ll become a Man.

 

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BLAZE!
By Carl Martin Johnson

Blaze! Burn high and bright!
Let your fire devour.
Life demands a fight.
You are Man. You have the power.

 

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LOVE I HAVE NOT MET
By Carl Martin Johnson

There is a love I have not met
Who will set afire my soul,
Whose fervent kiss I’ll not forget,
Whose embrace will not grow cold.

We will dance beneath the golden moon
To music no others hear,
Whirl soft as stars play a silent tune,
And angels our love cheer.

The watching universe will smile
At our passion fiery pure.
Devotion with lust we’ll reconcile
To make our love endure.

I smell its fragrance in the air.
This love is on the way.
Flying through the sky somewhere,
Toward my heart to stay.

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ESCAPE OF MY DAMNED SOUL
By Carl Martin Johnson

When the Devil’s back is turned,
I will make my move.
Already my soul has too long burned,
And my lot will not improve.

I will not claim I’m innocent.
My sins were large and mortal.
I know my life was poorly spent
Before entering Satan’s portal.

Still, I was a living man,
A soul that God created.
So, I’ll leave here when I can,
Though Heaven find me hated.

Where I go when I break free
Is, I know, uncertain.
But, even damned, I am still me,
On this side of Death’s curtain.
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CHRYSALIS
By Carl Martin Johnson

My chrysalis is now splitting.
A new being will break through.
My man-life I am quitting
To evolve as something new.

The Old Book gods are dead.
The New One hangs there crying,
Giving hope as He has bled,
Giving life by His own dying.

Now I can be more,
Rise freed from mortal chains,
A better creature than before,
More worthy of Savior’s pains.

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THIS PLANET IS MY PLACE OF BIRTH
By Carl Martin Johnson

This planet is my place of birth.
But it is not my home.
Like every other man of worth,
The stars are where I roam.

 

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THE OPENED HEART
By Carl Martin Johnson

I opened up my heart just then
To chase the gloom away.
I let Life’s golden sunshine in,
Changing dark night into day.

Self-pity was a treasure.
Self-love filled my heart.
They gave me so much pleasure,
I would not let them part.

I made myself Life’s center,
No thought of fellow man.
I let no shared joy enter
As the selfless can.

I know that I have worth,
Yet more with all my kind.
I belong to Mankind’s birth,
Though this thought took long to find.

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RUN TOWARD THE CRACK OF GUNS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Run toward the crack of guns.
That is where honor lies.
Be among the few brave ones
Who lives before he dies.


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DRINKING LIFE
By Carl Martin Johnson

Today I’ll stop to drink again
At Life’s sweet-flowing spring.
Another dawn on earth I’ll win
Before I hear angels sing.

Death, indeed, is my close friend.
He will visit me in time.
Yet, I do not wish to rush that end,
Though the golden stairs I climb.

I’ll inhale for now soft dawn’s perfume,
Sip the dew on morning flowers,
Let my eyes feast on each bloom,
Offering thanks for these fine hours.

One gentle night I’ll breathe my last
To seek my soul’s reward,
Grateful for this mortal past,
And for both lives thank the Lord.

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CHOCTAW
By Carl Martin Johnson

A drop of blood runs through my veins
From a tribe I hardly know.
Yet at times I feel old pains
Suffered long ago.

They are driven under white-man guard
Mile after arduous mile.
An unknown land they trek toward,
The tract of their exile.

They move forward at a steady pace,
Chanting constant but not loud.
Sober dignity on each face,
Defeated but unbowed.

They must start the tribe again,
But no one hears them whine,
Each is an ancestor of brave men,
And one of them is mine.

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I THINK GOD WHISPERED TO ME THEN
By Carl Martin Johnson

I think God whispered to me then,
That mankind must mature.
He did His part in creating men.
Now we must on our own endure.

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I FALL SOFT INTO MY DREAMS
By Carl Martin Johnson

I fall soft into my dreams,
Leave the waking world behind,
Riding on moonbeams
To ease my troubled mind.
 
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AS HE DIED
By Carl Martin Johnson

I held him as he died.
He begged me not to leave.
I hurt badly when he cried.
I knew I would long grieve.

Then he stopped and raised his head,
Sightless eyes turned to the sky.
He knew he’d soon be dead,
But death’s terror he’d deny.

Wounded littered the killing ground,
Screaming souls too torn to aid.
Butchered flesh was scattered ‘round.
Warriors’ dues all paid.

But I could help just one,
Soothe one man’s dying pain,
Feel his mortal life undone,
As I watched his spirit drain.

His blind eyes could not see.
His burst ears could not hear.
But he held tight to me.
He sensed death’s sword was near.

It was my bullet laid him low.
I had put him in his grave.
He would never know.
But I knew that he died brave.

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IF I SLEEP, DON'T WAKE ME
By Carl Martin Johnson

If I sleep, don’t wake me.
Let me live my dream.
Let the conscious world forsake me.
Things are only what they seem.

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SHALL I FIGHT?
By Carl Martin Johnson

Shall I curl safely in my bed
While the world outside’s aflame?
Was I a coward bred,
That I hide myself in shame?

Have I not dragons slain?
Wrongdoers put to flight?
I am the oppressor’s bane.
A man they fear to fight.

Should this time I fall,
It will be a warrior’s death,
And posterity will recall
That I took bravely my last breath.

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ICARUS
By Carl Martin Johnson

Icarus flew too near the sun
On feathered waxen wings.
His demise a caution to everyone
Of the death that hubris brings.

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THE STARRED NIGHT SKY
By Carl Martin Johnson

The starred night sky is a symphony,
Heard only by the soul,
Transcending life with its brilliancy,
That it may Man for his death console.

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MIKE’S KITE
By Carl Martin Johnson

With great care the sticks were bound,
And a frame made with strong twine,
Covered with gold paper he had found,
To be fit for the Divine.

His mother’s ribbons served as tail.
He tied a small box with his note.
He knew his message could not fail,
If his kite went high with what he wrote.

Then he ran ‘til wind took hold,
Up, up into the sky,
Carrying to Heaven letters bold:
“Please, God, don’t let Mommy die.”

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THE TYRANT
By Carl Martin Johnson
(For the people of Venezuela)

The tyrant crushes with fists of steel,
Slaying all who dare oppose him,
Grinding resistance beneath his heel,
But strong hearts will depose him.

Like a vampire he bleeds freedom dry,
Sucks the spirit from his nation.
The more he hears the people cry,
The more his celebration.

Sleep not easy, fascist brute.
We will not suffer meekly.
An evil tree bears bitter fruit.
We will not chew it weakly.

I swear, Tyrant, this is true:
Your countrymen are brave.
One day soon we’ll come for you.
We’ve already dug your grave.
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