A snippet in time but a year hath made

But such a pillow of love my head hath laid

Creates a myriad of life time echoes upon

A canvas that blooms to life like the dawn

As we dance on the lawn of whispering peace

With a mutual symbiotic understanding and new found lease

On old lives now released, but trudging completed together

Brought to wholeness by love – not a tether

And now happiness no longer needs to rely solely on the weather…

Ali, will you take my hand and venture into forever?


(Justin read this poem to his fiancée when he proposed. 
Read the story of the proposal that won "Most Romantic Proposal")



Other Poetry Collections





In The Beginning:




My soul feels black and empty

Like the deepest pit of hell

Blood flows out my emotional wounds

And where my light went I cannot tell


I stumble through the swirling black

Trying to return from the abyss

I feel the claws and clammy hands

That love my soul suffering like this


Stumbling into my emotions hands

I feel like I can do no right

Here once stood a galiant warrior

What has become of his great might


From the bottom my ego feeds

Like a serpent on the rivers floor

Ripped apart by a blackened spear

And thrown to bleed up on the shore


Deep inside my mind and heart

I can sense some evil seed

Try to rip, tear, and extract

So my soul can be freed


But loneliness rips into me

Like a bullet breaks through bone

Giving strength unto the place

Where the fabric of my tears is sown


All I want is gentleness

To take the emotional pain away

The softest touch, the softest word

Patience, peace – something kind to say


I have vainly tried to navigate

The river where this gentleness may birth

How sadly I have been misled

For I have found that it is not of this earth              





We struggle for control

But it is not ours to take

It is a desperate illusion

That our fleeting mind does make


To tear apart this illusion

What would be left behind

Anything but fear and hurt

Would be very hard to find


We enjoy the illusion of control

But the illusion controls us

It takes us on our destined ride

Like a lonely stranger on the a.m. bus


How quickly we do defend

Our anger and our hate

Despite an undertow of gentleness

That we never quite appreciate


This gentleness could be so grand

Just let our defenses fall

But someone might see who we really are

And pride erects another wall


This wall we call control

Let it tumble to the ground

To know each other honestly

And be not by illusion bound


Is it so hard to give it up

And really learn to trust

To ever create a closer bond

Breaking through the illusion is a must


So let us not be afraid

To let our real selves shine through

I would consider it a privelage

To know the real you                                               



Stirring the darkness


Gentle stirring of wings against the midnight sky

She begins her graceful, beautiful dance

Those that choose to see and drink her beauty

Like a whisper are overcome by her radiant trance


Black against the bright full moon

Wings reflecting a translucent, deceptive blue

Brought forth from legend and stories old

Long forgotten, but now so wonderfully new


Her delicate, graceful butterfly wings

Trail behind like streamers in the breeze

To some she is aphrodite reborn

Yet others in their veins their blood does freeze


How she sadly is often misunderstood

Flying lonely without hope – so sad

Her wings drooping in quiet despair

Shackles of ignorance and hate hurt so bad


She has been searching in vain for her earthly prince

Who can break her shackles – her shame

That will lift her up and reveal her glory

Then all of her enemies she will certainly tame


Oh over the years she has had her suitors

Drooling and stumbling over her beauty, power, and might

But they could not love past their selfish, stagnate walls

So she faded back into the night


She has needed nothing from anyone

Yet she has always wanted it all

She would drop from the sky like a comet

If just one were worthy of answering her call


Some say she is evil, but not evil is she

Although her spirit is blacker than slate

For god she has searched like a ship in the mist

Seeking peace to escape from the hate                       





A glowing ember amidst the gloom

In this stifling furnace we call life

A precious breeze in the hottest hell

Piercing the heat, misery, and strife


A butterfly among the moths

For my weary eyes to behold

Adding color, warmth, and sunshine

Where all else is black, white, and cold


A warm light against the darkness

Of a dark – pitch black day

A beacon in the mightiest storm

Lighting my path and showing me the way


A sunflower in a field of thorns

That stands tall and shines bright – despite

The thorns that tangle, pull, and tear

Jealous of the sunflowers very sight


Sometimes the world is very cold

Numbing me to my fragile bones

But then I feel your radiant soul

That warms my spirit and creative tones


You have awoken my sleeping creativeness

In a sense you have been my muse

I mean this in a warm and friendly way

As it is not my nature to take and use


So thank you for being there for me

Even though I do not make it an easy task

I know I am so hopelessly inconsistent

And my feelings behind words I mask


But I hope I can be the same for you

Your pillar of strength – your light

That I can be there when you need me most

To frighten off the coldest – darkest night               





Black clouds billow on the horizon

Evil I see in the lightenings flash

I suddenly find myself alone

I have been brazen, bold, and brash


I have set my sights too high

Set goals I can not achieve

Forced to face the storm alone

Always the giver – never to receive


Which way has my refuge gone

Please point to me the way

Left alone out on the limb

For the vicious storm to slay


My sunflower seems wilted now

Once golden petals turned ashen brown

The seeds that once brought me life

Have tumbled to the ground


My once beautiful dancing butterfly

Who’s wings have now returned to dust

That is torn apart and whisked away

By the winds slightest gust


My light against the storm

Has finally burnt out at last

Time and I go marching on

Flags hanging at half mast


But I know the storm will pass

And my light will return

Because I know now that in its heart

It is for me my light does burn


Because even in its darkness

Life’s illusion does betray

And her walls she hides afraid behind

Begin to fall away and decay   


(back to top)


Pre Happiness:


A Bottomless Cup


A bottomless cup of froth thrust before me

Rich and verbose yet pointless without what is beneath

No warmth of substance I see rising above to nourish

So that my psyche and soul may flourish

Just a façade of boorish intimacy that teases my senses

That lies in wait to tear down my fences

Once all my defenses have fallen asunder

As I cannot put it down and constantly wonder

If everything I have chosen is just a blunder of consequence


Rest assured that I have fervently racked my brain

As the tidal wave of futility has struck like a train

With my body lain on the track of confusion

Being emotionally run down with multiple contusions

Ever seeking fusion and a mixture of it all

But nothing but uncertainty ever answers the call

As I hit the impasse wall with no room to turn

And grips like a vice my ability to discern

The truth as it burns down to coals and then nothing again


Reality eluding my grasp at every junction

Pieces of me whirl willy-nilly serving no real function

As I keep feeding at the luncheon of the contrite

All apologies rendered yet I keep up the fight

I’m sure to the delight of all that I pretense

As nothing adds up and I am thrust into nonsense

Keeping my body rigid and tense waiting for the sledge hammer blow

Of reality to smash down and reap what I sow

As I keep my safety boat in tow for yet another day


The question eternal begs to be asked

Can we ever move on once the psyche has basked

In the glow of albeit masked unconditional love

That for all logical purpose seemed like a gift from above

Until the past tried to shove the future

From a soft peaceful slumber and rip from it the suture

That held it all within a waning sepulcher so full of hope

That it seems like a nightmare so much that sometimes I can’t even cope

But despite it I furiously climb back up the rope to find my destiny



A Heart Turned Hard


A heart turned hard by another’s greed

Bled dry by souls without spiritual creed

No one cared as I was in need of something more

More than the arrogant core of selfish acts

That would not allow my emotions to sore or lead

A fringe element seed planted with shackles

To hinder me and a heart that needed to be freed


Black like coal my emotions flowed

Down a sludge dried river bed my pride tried to row

Dusting a mask of soul scum from my face as I toiled

And the python coiled and flexed and tortured

As my blood felt boiled over as I kept missing the glow

The glow of a sacred row of flowers in a lawn

That was mowed by a savior that would send the serpent back down below


Finally torn free from the thorn of hate

A ragged piece of me still dangling from a despondent mate

But good I made my escape into a scary night of change

The bottle I tipped would test the range of my sanity

Seemingly arranged by God to numb my pain black as slate

Filling my plate slowly… not wanting to rush inflicted hurts

Slowly speeding up the rate in which my healing may overcome my fate


Then a miracle… a ray of sunlight came streaming through

My bewildered eyes stared as a flower grew

Certainly just an apparition that would disappear

Through the changing mirror of life’s cold wanton waste land

But yet there it was standing tall and clear… fresh as dew

A wild bird that should have flew, but didn’t

As its beauty stirred a slough of feelings bold and new


At first it hurt to learn how to trust

Reviving emotion that had turned into rust

Ripping the calluses from my weather worn hand

Because alone is bland… a tasteless morsel to swallow

God whispering for me to take my stand… and listen I must

If ever I want to blow off the dust of a torrid past

With just one mighty gust – mapping terrain between loving and lust


Easier and easier the feelings they have came

Ripping through me like a genesis flame

Eating my hurt and bringing me back to life

Eroding my personal strife and promoting wellness

Performing surgery like a knife… eliminating sadness and blame

Taking away my shame like a whirlwind of beautiful leaves

Leaving behind not a shred of blame… only our feelings of love that we reach out and claim



A Snippet In Time


My feelings reduced to a snippet in time

Ongoing anti-climactic drama cut down in its prime

Allowing romantic vines to climb only so far

Up this sliver of an emotional scar

That sets the bar for anything that hopes to be real

Perhaps persistence can stay the course so my heart can congeal

With the past’s insurgent able to heal the sore

And its festering pain that has been at the core

Of the height of my heart’s means to implore for its freedom from pain


Click, click the snippets shoot by like a still frame show

Good memories individually wrapped with a pretty bow

But all eventually get buried in the snow drift of fate

The past is here, but the future is already too late

The next frame is out the gate into the present abyss

Floating unsubstantiated in a primordial mist

That pretense the gradual bliss of empty’s calm

Soothing my jagged heart as if with a balm

As I lay beneath the palm tree of complete nothingness


My mind floating in a sea of tranquility and peace

The soul is intact, but the heart has skipped out on its lease

And although alive it runs until the issues cease to be of consequence

As it wades through the fog and jumps the fence

Into a yard of dense foliage and brackish trepidation

This eats through my patience like a dollar on inflation

As I look for blissful sedation in the eye

Of the insufferable storm that lashes me and attempts to pry

A reason why from my reluctant consciousness


Jumping back into the arms of thorny love

The past invading my future and giving a shove

To something shiny from above as I wonder how

But God says do not question as he takes a bow

And says… my son, the time is now for your service

Yet not having a map to heaven sometimes makes me nervous

But my soul has long ago become impervious to it all

As I build things up to his will and then watch the fall

As I taste the bittersweet gall of it all yet once again


The time has come to run into the arms of the clay

An un-kilned statue that shimmies and sways

Until the day in which I touch the real

If I will even recognize it or know how to feel

It will be a blessing that appeals to my burgeoning heart

That longs for the past to come claim the dart

That it blew into me in part to slow me down

And to hearken when all that my imagination needs is a noun

To describe and tear down the gown that shrouds my senses



Cut Me Loose


Please rescue me from my coffin of obscurity

Nails pounded in that tear through my objectivity

And challenges my lucidity as it takes hold like a flower

But leaves me stranded in the fortress tower

Of my failures and lessons not learned as I cower in silence and insecurity

Convicted and condemned by the ever growing rings of uncertainty

The age old power that displaces my simplicity and threatens to steal my infinity


Just a moment’s peace would be so fine

An episode of problem free living even for a short period of time

Free from the worries and cares that eat me alive

Carnivorous issues that buzz in my head and torment me like bees in a hive

As I strive to feel alive and to shed myself of the stifling anxiety

That brings me to my knee and seems to arrive when the potential is there to feel sublime

God please unveil the time line even as I know the punishment would never fit my crime.


Why can’t I put my talents to any good use

Sometimes I feel that my head is caught in a slipknot noose

Waiting for the executioner to drop the floor away

And let my body drop, pop, and sway

When my death could finally not be stayed by a rope that is frayed

All my decisions would then be made and I’d be through the abuse

And the Lord could cut me loose and take me where life is reversed

And ping pong balls rain down on Mr. Moose


Dread be dead and may I awake in my bed

And not the one burning inside of my head

Snatch me from the nest I have made and pillow on which my head has laid

Put there admittedly by myself, but I was nowhere near alone in my efforts

As now starts the crusade

And the witch hunt that makes me afraid to remember what has been said

And how much I’ve bled

Dieing in an emotional pool of red

The blame all mine after the carnivores have all been fed

And my failures and I have been bound tight and wed


(back to top)


Post Happiness:




Simplicity reigns eternal in her complex mind

Concealed waves of depth pulsate deep down behind

Two, blue liquid crystal eyes enshrined in a beautiful face

Natural and free… somewhat rugged yet feminine as lace

It is she whom I long to embrace and care for

Also to hold in my mind on a pedestal as a tribute to whom I adore

Someone I could give my life for and create something greater than solidarity

Finding something emotional and a precious gem of rarity

As I reverse my polarity and finally see with clarity

A truth that can only come from unconditional parity

Unbridled and not remotely tethered voracious feelings and passion

That feeds off our mighty independent wills and my last bastion

Of inner strength that was forged in a fashion that cements the foundation of a home steeped in romance instead of lonely rationalization.


Trying to purge complexity from my rustic soul

She feeds my emotion as if from a bowl

From which strife has stole a whole lot of time

But it is now being made up for with a sequel sublime

Challenging my soul to hearken and climb yet again to the pinnacle

Purging my mind of anything fallible and cynical

My offering otherwise miniscule now overflows the bank…

Of passion displaced by the ship of despair that finally sank

And subsequently then filled my tank of all things divine

I will drink in her outward and internal beauty like wine

From a cup so sublime – though my thirst will never end

For the one who found me after my heart could mend

And is always willing to lend of her heart and an oh so beautiful mind

A sincerely crafted package of everything soft, gentle, and kind


She makes me soar with but a subtle touch

Lifting me up with a gentle, emotional crutch

That lifts me up as such as I long to return the same

Equal amounts of giving and receiving without casting blame

But igniting a flame that devours the dark

Allowing the sun to shine through my walls like a stroll in the park

Bricks falling like rain – hitting their mark in the sand

Always seeming to find a safe… soft place to land

As we make our stand in a world ruled by none

Life forced pumped in as together we worship the one

Who has already won even as the battle rages on

Sneaks through like a thief in the night – waking to a beautiful dawn

As we both lounge on the lawn of blessed eternity



If A Smile Could Heal


If a smile could heal, yours would be the chosen one

Like a pardon from winter by the hands of a golden ray of sun

The melting accomplished and done has left rivulets pouring from a heart

Once frozen so hard the slightest touch would cause it to crack apart

Before it could even start to soften and be of any practical use

But you have managed to stave the cold and set it loose

Removing it from its frigid noose of sorrow and despair

Taking my heart by the hand and gently guiding with such great care

Coaxing hidden feelings from their lair of loneliness and confusion

Daring to believe in something that in the past has been but an illusion

In my life, fusion has been for others to enjoy… eluding me

But hope burns eternal in a smile that threatens to turn my heart free

A smile which unrolls the scroll that houses the decree of its gratitude

As my soul sails on the vessel of your radiant warmth towards uncharted latitudes

Doing away with the platitude that has been the bane of an inept life song

Whisking away the feeling that whatever path I have chosen is wrong

As we move along the gentle slope to happiness upon the strength of a smile



Random Thought


A dislodged rationalizing thought drifts aimlessly and is expelled

The nocuous creature rendered powerless to repel

The random thoughts of her on my lapel, which I desire to be sacred

Conjuring delightful images to my senses, not the acrid

Lackluster scent of blanketed apathy that derives nothing but stagnation

But my revelry and boldness leaves time howling with indignation

After all, I must clip resignation like a dead petal clinging to my past

Like a vulture over a water hole that has dried up and was never meant to last

That breaks the molded plaster cast of what has been dictated as acceptable

And bend my theory of happiness to include the improbable and unpredictable

As I admittedly sit at the dinner table of the contrite and quite possibly write

By blue candle light, a future that opens a fresh set of eyes to unknown sights

While my decrepit past is remembered, but dieing in a bright collision with destiny





Fleeting glimpse of happiness plays against the background of my mind

Taking the place of where only the most prominent events have dined

On the delicate rose lined path that leads the way to a special place

That only my grandest desires have graced and added a pebble to the vase

That I hope will overflow the glow that your beautiful face has created

Stirring feelings I thought long lost and the whirlwind has not yet abated

The force ripping the crumbling cross bucks from the gated archways

That held my ambivalence, but have now been strewn aside by your gaze

Setting my heart completely ablaze by the rays of your blue bird paradise

On these cold and mercifully desolate rocks your heat feels radiant and nice

And has started the slice that will cut through my shackles of complacency

And free my intentions and wake my feelings from a long slumber of Latency

I want to be lost at sea and breathless in your blue gaze tranquility

Rippling on the rim of spilling over and over – saved only by our speed and agility

Nothing restoring stability from the maelstrom like the life raft of completeness

(back to top) 



Completed Manuscripts

Short Stories






Check out Justin's poem, Stirring the Darkness.
It was chosen to be included within the chap book associated with the world premiere of Brian Keene and Roy C Boothe's play Terminal.




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