Brian Johnston Biography


The titles of my poems all begin with the category they fall into from my perspective. For example any poem that begins with PH for is a poem that I've written since early November of 2013 when I first joined Poemhunter. There are only 44 poems that do not have the PH in their titles. My earliest poems all are preceded by the category BEFORE COLLEGE, the next time grouping are poems written while I was still in college called COLLEGE, and the next two groups cover FARM poetry and poems about various love interests called GF for girlfriends. All the rest, (with PH in the title) are poems written after I joined

On 10/02/14 other members of this site helped me move into the group of 10 most popular poets on Poemhunter for the first time (and on 10/10/14, I was #7 also for the first time) . Wow! On 10/20/14 I have reached #6 for the first time and #5 seems to be a possibility? Although joining this group of poets clearly is not just a measure of the quality of one's poetry, still it is special and I thank Poemhunter's poet members for so honoring me. Today I have 233 points on PH's Popularity Poll which virtually guarantees me historically a place in the top ten group! Popularity on poemhunter is also a measure of how active a poet is, commenting on other's poems for example being a major factor. I personally salute members who serve the community in any way and promise to continue to serve PH in any way I can, into the future. Thank you so much PH members for this recognition of my growth as a poet on your site.

I started writing poetry my Senior year in High School and the Muse still strikes on occasion. I also wrote some short stories in college but poetry is my ongoing interest. I enjoy tennis, swimming and backpacking and have become a YMCA member in recent years. My short term memory has taken a hit but I'm physically stronger than I have ever been! It's nice to be able to see improvement in at least one area of my life.
I was in the US Peace Corps twice. The first time was from 1964 to 1966 in Tanzania, East Africa where I supervised the installation of small bridges and culverts on feeder roads in an attempt to encourage local farmers to produce more. I also did some survey work and was lucky enough to spend nearly a month surveying future roads for tourists on the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano whose rim exceeds 10,000 ft in places and is over ten miles in diameter. The crater floor is a natural game park nearly 2,000 ft. below the rim. The poem 'Venice' was written on my trip home from East Africa.
A 2nd Peace Corps stint was in Malaysia where I taught a two year Physics syllabus to very gifted students in Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia from 1970 to 1972. I don't think I ever worked so hard in my life as I did teaching those kids. It was a very rewarding experience.
I wrote a number of poems while I was at the University of Oklahoma and wound up getting a Master's in Physics before I left for Malaysia in 1970. The poems 'Venice' and 'California Montage' both won 'Honorable Mentions' in state poetry contests while I was at OU.
My Masters in Physics specialized in Superconductivity. I was again very fortunate in working on devices used by USGS to do a study of how the earth's magnetic field has changed through time. This study revealed that the earth's magnetic field has reversed itself many times through history and now the magnetic field found in the rock enclosing fossils can actually be used to help determine a fossils age. I also the wrote the computer program that USGS used to analyze their core sample data.
When money dried up for for scientific research under Nixon, my next job was working as one of the first video game designers using microprocessor logic. My first game, a copy of a game done completely in hardware called 'Bi-Plane' was perhaps the first commercially sold video game using a microcomputer chip, the Intel 8080, as it's heart and an Altair Home Computer Kit that a friend and I built as a development station. I wound up spending nearly 12 years designing games for companies like Extensys, Ramtek, Atari and Warner Brothers.
My last programming job was designing a micro-computer driven KSU for TIE Communications which was my most successful programming job. The final phone system sold over a million units and its program contained over 40,000 computer instructions. This assembly language program took me almost 4 years to write before the last of several versions was completed.
The remainder of my career has been in both farming and in real estate management. My father worked largely in farming related businesses and when he became ill I got heavily involved with our farms in South Dakota and Oklahoma, which gave birth to the poems 'A Walk Near Blunt, ' 'Driving Alone Through the Sand Hills of Nebraska, ' and 'Like a Farmer.'
I am retired now and live in Silicon Valley which I have called home since moving here in 1973.

My poems can be for fun, but mostly I write to communicate, to learn about how others perceive me and my thoughts.

When I think about the negative aspects of my personality or how people view me, the qualities I think might give me some negative votes are (not in any special order) :

1. Take myself too seriously (With all due humility, I am perfectly serious!)
2. Am too egotistical, not humble enough, make absolute statements! (That couldn't possibly be true!)
3. Argue too forcefully (I just enjoy debate, any debate really, tell me what side you want to take, I'll take the other!)
4. Have had too good a life (Yes, I have had a wonderful life, though not without pain. All my pain has made me a better person though, so my ex-wives say anyway!)
5. Am too prosperous! (I have been very fortunate in my career and investments as well. There was 'Rite Aid' of course) News flash! Even Rite Aid is coming back (from $70/share to under $0.50/ share and now rocketing back toward $10/share) . Buy and hold actually works sometimes! I am so blessed.
6. Always sure I am right. (Not true but I understand how casual acquaintances might think that)
7. Am too good looking (Hey that's genetics if it's even true. Sorry not my fault)
8. Am shamelessly Christian (True, but that does not mean I am not ashamed of Christianity as it is practiced by almost everyone except me! That's a joke of course!)
9. Confuse sharing feelings with talking about myself (True but perhaps still an honest mistake)
10. A poor listener (Maybe but not sure that's fair. If you volunteer nothing, does that make me a poor listener?)
11. Crave other's good opinion of me (Perhaps, but working on that one at least) ? HEY UP YOURS ANONYMOUS CRITICS! I wonder if that's better? Please like me please? Oh, I can't help myself!
12. OK, Brier Edwards complained that I'm a whiny K*** A** when people say they are going to put one of my poems in the 'My Favorite Poems List' category and then don't do it. To that one I plead guilty as charged. Hey a 10.0 is nothing compared to one of those! This does prove though that I respond to reader input!
13. Suggested by Lora Colon: 'If you don't know you have faults then that is really a problem! ' Guilty as charged! My faults don't exist because of God's Grace. Yes, you and I know I still sin every day (and I care what you think, I do) , but the Big Guy and I are just fine. I just love Christian Paradox!
14. Am truly addicted to Dr. Pepper! I am so ashamed. (But does that really cause people to vote negatively on my picture? Hard to imagine) Keep me in your prayers on this one. Two weeks are coming up of (almost) no Dr. Peppers. (Just slipped twice!)
15. Called to mind by Daniel Brick. Tendency to focus so completely on something that I avoid responsibilities to friends, paying taxes, even eating (but not Dr. Pepper of course) ! Again guilty as charged I'm afraid!

Anything else missing that you would like to add to my list Bri, Lora, Daniel, anyone? Go on take your best shot!
: -) I really am curious! In any case, thanks for your interest in my biography and for visiting my collection of poems!

If you think this list is embarrassing, you should see the list that both of my ex-wives had on me!