Monday, December 11, 2017

Carlton Johnson


"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
—Albert Einstein


The ground broke before you
entered the stage and took the part.
Darker black the ground that night
chased through Kew Gardens.
A cold, whitening grey shadows
the truth. All those listened
with stone ears and curious
blind eyes. Cries found no soul
to wash away the bitter cobbles,
bedded into lung and gullet,
like a dove.


The blade, pain’s laugh
drawn by shake and shadow
till the glint finding her,
entered in,
a thief of life,
the screams that fell
to dozens of turned backs,
return to sleep
or pray, perhaps,
at 3:15am.


Her blood red Fiat parked
at the LIRR parking lot, is still.
Before her life left, he charged $49
for his pleasure. Her dignity lost again.
The marvel, a single soft dull light
sconces the floors. Illumines the
failing flames grasping for air,
for one more.


4:15 am breath left body last
in the arms of a single neighbor.
A dozen or so, upstanding
thought a lover's quarrel
only after when disaster
deals death held hands
with apathy.

The air rose like vagrant spirits
through flues and chimneys as dried eyes
cry wish, did wish, that they had done more.

Gerald So reads "Broken Sky":

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Carlton confesses: "My inspiration came from hearing about the tragic story of Kitty Genovese, who famously was murdered in Kew Gardens New York, and the story that followed her death—that 39 people heard her cries for help and did nothing. I was intrigued by the bystander phenomenon. Additionally, I recently saw the movie Witness (after my first draft of the poem), which covers her surviving brother's attempts at getting some resolution. Her death lead to the creation of the 911 system we use today. It is a sad story, which has echoes and reverberations today around abuse and mistreatment of women in our society."

CARLTON JOHNSON is an educator and a tutor of math and science and the owner of Carl's Tutoring. A Winter Park, Florida resident for the past eleven years, he is originally from Baltimore Maryland. He has been published in recent anthologies of the Florida State Poets Association as well as in Breakfast Poetry, Provo Canyon Review, and and most recently, Haikuniverse. One of his poems ("Tour of Flanders") was included in the 2014 K9 for Warriors Veterans’ Day Program. He is a member for the past several years of the Florida State Poets Association.

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