By Matt Johnson
Calm, Quiet, Reserved.
The muffled crowd in the distance.
A hood creating a dark cavern,
shadowing the beast within.
The heart beating slow and heavy in the chest.
Thoughts swirl and dance in the mind.
Concentration centered on the challenge.
The walk is not alone.
Friends, family, coaches,
protection from all others.
Sliding between the ropes.
The protection cannot enter here.
The challenge must be faced alone.
Only Support and encouragement can be offered.
The eyes gaze on the challenge ahead.
Body tensing, preparing.
A bead of sweat glides down the chest.
by Matt Johnson
What if you woke up underwater?
Imagine the feeling.
You are surprised; in shock.
The lungs open to breathe,
But icy water is your new air.
Can you feel the panic setting in?
The water presses against your body.
As inescapable as air.
You fight for your life, but it holds you down
As inevitable Death finally comes for you.
Do you see your life flashing before your eyes?
Your 4th birthday party, shared with friends who became strangers.
The sensation of your first kiss re-lived.
Your family, the one that started it all and the one you started.
Year’s worth of memories lived in seconds.
How much time do you have left?
Think of all the time you’ve wasted.
Would you have used it the same way now?
Or would you have made every moment count?
It is too late now; time has escaped your grasp.
What happens next?
The last thought you will ever think.
Lungs slowly becoming gentle pools within.
The sensation of life leaving your body.
Death has finally arrived.
A very special day is coming up soon. That day is Mother’s Day. I love my mom and in honor of her and all of the other mothers, I put together a little poem. Also, Happy Mother’s Day from me to all of you!
by Matt Johnson
I look at all our pictures, wow it’s been awhile.
I may not remember the days, but I’ll always remember your smile.
You’d watch me while I played with my toys.
Treat my bumps and bruises, saying “boys will be boys”.
You took me to all my favorite places.
Came to my baseball games to watch me run the bases.
All our long conversations and staying up late,
Cause I wanted you to know all about my first date.
You were the one who started it all.
You were there for me before I could crawl.
I could tell you loved me, you didn’t have to speak.
Always by my side, through the bright and the bleak.
Now I look back on everything you’ve done.
Nobody compares to you, not even one.
And now there’s just one thing left for me to do.
And that’s to tell you mom, “I love you”.
by Kojo Addo and Matt Johnson
It is late in the night,
But the warmth of the day remains.
I look out and see a resting community.
The sky a burning sea of red,
Only to be parted by the bright moon.
The street light becomes the artificial sun.
The warmth of the night
Now replaced by a cool breeze,
Hushing the foreign sounds around me.
My nostrils dance with the scent of freshly cut grass.
My tongue tingles with the taste of barbeque.
My ears ring with the constant chirping of crickets.
I hear a rumbling behind a wall of daisies.
Two rabbits emerge.
They sit like statues in the grass,
Gazing upon the night.
I am also a statue.
My own world.
Silence. Stillness. Solidarity.
Ballad of Sunny Sundown
By Matt Johnson
The sky was black as the night was dark,
And the screams cried out from the silent park.
The people in and the people out, everyone around,
Scared for their lives, knew not to make a sound.
The man was known and out again
And had just killed the one known as Jen.
His dark silhouette was all alone,
His face was masked and never shown.
The sun came up and brought another day,
And on the horizon Mr. Sundown was on his way.
All the people soon became excited,
For Sunny Sundown had just been sighted.
Valdez walked into town that afternoon,
He was in for trouble, he would find out soon.
He walked alone on down the street,
And what he saw sunk his heart to his feet.
It was the man he knew as Sunny Sundown,
And one of their lives would end in that town.
Valdez shot once and shot twice,
He missed both times and paid the price.
For Old Sundown had shot him, he was too quick,
But now Valdez had just one more trick.
He jumped off the ground and onto his horse,
“I’ll be back” he said, his voice sounding coarse.
And now Old Sundown, he was scared,
The fear of the people he now shared.
Valdez had once again got away,
And many more people he was to slay.
And then Old Sundown lay down to sleep,
But then slowly he began to weep.
For he knew Valdez was still on the loose,
And the job wasn’t over ‘til he hung by a noose.
Now Valdez was on a rampage, he killed and he raped.
There were many executions, one even taped.
Where was Sundown? Many were to ask.
He was passed out…right next to his flask.
There was a change of fortune, for Valdez felt empowered.
The roles had switched, Sundown now the coward.
He sat there and drank, all his troubles away.
And drank on as the people were made to pay.
They paid with their lives, one at a time.
No words could describe this horrible crime.
They screamed and they hollered, women and children, too.
Valdez left a note, “I’m coming after you”.
Very quickly word spread, all around town.
Valdez made it known, he was back for Sundown.
The word spread so quickly, it spread so fast.
Everyone knew but Sundown, he was the last.
Now here something interesting happened again.
Sundown was paid a visit, by an old friend.
They sat and they talked, continuing on
Until all of a sudden, Sundown was gone.
He had jumped off his seat, and out the door.
This old friend, he would see no more.
He hoped with his heart, their paths would be crossed.
He wanted to rekindle, this love once lost.
He had broken her heart, once and now twice.
The love of his life, Miss Hannah Price.
But she had said something to him, just a moment ago.
“Every person in town, is on death row”.
They waited and waited, knowing their turn would come.
Hoping Valdez would show mercy, just a little, just some.
And now Sundown realized all the trouble and pain,
And knew it was he, who could end Valdez’s reign.
He had been riding a while, almost a whole day.
A mile to town, he was on his way.
He entered the town as skies turned to red.
The sunset the color of all the blood shed.
The town was so barren, buildings burned and broken.
The only thing left, a terrible token.
A token so terrible, it brought tears to his eyes.
A pile of bodies, watching as the last one dies.
After this sight, frustration turned to rage.
The only thing left, a dog in a cage.
Bodies were bloodied, bodies were charred.
One tortured man had even been tarred.
The women and children had been shown no mercy.
There was James, and Reece, and a good friend Percy.
Sundown could not walk, he dropped to his knees.
He prayed for strength, please god please.
But there was no god, in this used-to-be town.
And he sat there in silence, his face in a frown.
He sat and he wept, tears streaming down his face.
Valdez had been killing, at an amazing pace.
He was now in the hills, only a ways away.
When something happened that brought darkness upon day.
What Valdez thought was over, had really just began.
Someone could still stop him, there was still one man.
Sundown rose off the ground and onto his feet.
He was after Valdez, once again they would meet.
And now our story has come to its end.
Now called enemy, once called friend.
They stood face to face, guns in their hand.
Knowing when it was over, one would drop to the land.
Their minds were clear, they could see their lives.
As they flashed before them, before their eyes.
It was said all time stopped, not even a sound.
And Valdez took a step, then collapsed to the ground…
by Matt Johnson
What happens when we cannot speak?
Does the world still listen?
Can we speak within ourselves?
Or do the words fade like a distant memory?
Feelings so often expressed by words
shine in a new light.
A light created by real emotion,
not the empty words we use to describe it.
Words, the tools of lies and deceit,
taken away by our inability to speak.
Eyes now see the world as it really is,
without the manipulative ears.
Words have forever blinded us.
Led us astray from the truth.
Now our ability to speak returns,
while the beauty of the silent world escapes us.
by Matt Johnson
It is all we have in this world.
Hope that everything will be okay in the end.
Hope for love, and the strength required
to take a chance to love.
Hope for when you cry alone at night.
Hope for happiness, like a beam of sunlight amongst the dark clouds.
Hope for pain, so that we can truly feel happiness.
Hope that when we feel that pain,
we will have someone to help us stay strong.
Hope that we will have a shoulder, a shoulder
for comfort when we are sad
and to rest our head on when we are in love.
Hope that the people you love will love you just as much.
Hope that you can find the good out of the bad.
Hope that you will have the strength to stand up for what
you believe in when the world is against you.
Hope that she’ll realize how much you love her someday.
Hope that people will see the beauty within you
because within each of us lies something beautiful.
Hope that the people you care about find happiness.
Hope that it wasn’t all for nothing.
Hope that you can help someone when in need.
Hope that in an unjust world, justice will shine through.
And Hope that you can maintain hope in those times
when there seems to be no hope…