Brownsburg Little League Baseball Pushed Aside For “New Downtown Revitalization”

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Before 1999, few outside our neighboring towns would know much about Brownsburg, Indiana. It was a small town with a small town feel, close enough to Indianapolis, but far enough away to not feel trapped in a city. Outsiders would often ask, “Brownsburg…where’s that?” when you told them where you were from. But in the summer of 1999, a Little League Baseball All-Star Team, which included myself, changed that.

It’s ironic (or rather disgusting) that the Brownsburg Town Council has ignored the very place and people that gave them a good chunk of the means for a nearly 100-million-dollar project to begin with.

I am not insinuating that there haven’t been other factors at play over the years that have contributed to Brownsburg’s growth. A key fact remains, however, that the initial surge over the last 18 years was largely due to our team playing on national television, filling the Indianapolis Star with our successes, and was once again revisited two years later when a second team from Brownsburg went to the Little League World Series – all advertisement for the town.

Brownsburg soon became a hot spot for young families who wanted their children to grow up in an area with so much success surrounding our Little League and baseball programs in general. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Brownsburg’s population increased from 12,513 in July of 1999 to 15,086 by July of 2000, an increase of 17% – the largest by far in a single year from 1990-2016.

Hearing that a crucial part of my childhood was going to be torn down – a place where a group of 13 kids worked their hearts out practicing day after day drenched in sweat beneath the summer heat for a vision and goal that seemed so out of our league – caused quite a bit of anger, stirred past memories awake again, and also brought back joy, remembering what we accomplished and how much fun we had doing so.

All places go through change and some changes are harder than others to swallow. There’s nothing wrong with vision, there’s nothing wrong with progress, and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. We created a lofty goal for ourselves starting from the first practice…we were going to make it to the Little League World Series. We aimed much higher than I think anyone in the community, our coaches, or even our parents truly believed we’d achieve. Yet, we saw our goal turn to reality by the end of that summer. But in the process we never forgot who we were. We never forgot where we came from. We never tried to be something we weren’t. We weren’t trying to be Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, or anyone else but who we were. We were Brownsburg Little League All-Stars, and that’s all that mattered.

The loss of baseball fields is not the key issue here. Of course I hate to see them go, but if it had to be done, so be it. The real issue is how it was done and that this entire “revitalization project” reeks of money. It’s repugnant with the fumes of phoniness – a town acting like a immature high school kid trying to fit in and be “cool” like all the other towns. My anger burns because it seems a select few want to sweep who we are as a town, where we came from, and all of our history under a rug, in order to start over, without any real feedback from the community.

This is the 21st century. A Town Board meeting is not the place to ask permission of the community to initiate drastic changes to a town. Few people have the time to put their busy life on hold in order to sit through a meeting where they feel little power to change anything anyways. But it’s much easier to enact controversial change without truly getting the opinion of the people. A board meeting gives them an excuse for their actions without fear of their decisions being challenged by the entire community. Conveniently, by the time word spreads and the true nature of what the change means reaches the masses, it’s already too late to stop it.

I hope to be proven wrong, but the only thing that seems clear from the vague diagrams and plans is money. Vision requires risk, but it also doesn’t jump out on a limb with nothing to catch it if it falls. Housing. More Housing. Development. More development…with no place to hold it all. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this town wasn’t built to be a major traffic center. State Road 267 is pushing its limits as it is. But more development means more revenue and tax dollars, which means more cash flow. So who cares about the long-term consequences…

Here’s a thought: How about we fix the current problems before we add more? How about we come up with real strategies and real solutions to deal with our current issues…like how the hell are you going to build this type of development in an area that is bumper to bumper traffic everyday as it is? How about we stop wasting tax payer money on things that are a complete waste of resources and are only for show? How about finding a good solution to where our children are going to play baseball before you tear down the field? Better yet, HOW ABOUT YOU HAVE A SOUND PLAN BEFORE YOU START CONSTRUCTION?

The town of Brownsburg vaguely even resembles the place I grew up. There have been some improvements, but at a high cost. Too often I’ve seen long-term consequences ignored for the sake of short-term gains. When you let the flood gates down and let anyone and everyone move in a town without first determining whether it is realistically capable of handling that capacity and growth, you have a serious flaw in leadership.

As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau cites that Brownsburg had 25,408 residents compared to 16,960 residents in Avon. Wow…and you wonder why we have traffic problems. US 36 is able to handle Avon’s numbers; 267 is not able to handle ours. And never will be. That is unless you knock down the entire town and rebuild it, which seems like what they’d have it mind given the opportunity.

Time and time again, you see lack of vision and lack of leadership. I have a hard time believing the people elected to serve us are this incompetent and lack any insight on future consequences. I sure hope so, because the only alternative is that they are knowingly putting aside our interests for money and more income from tax dollars.

I wish I was only sad to see a historical place in the town go, but I’m not. I’m angry and left with a bitter taste in my mouth. The Brownsburg Little League baseball diamonds are just another bead on a long string of decisions made by this town that all share a consistent theme – short-term gains for long-term pains.

Change must always precede progress. But change without respect and honor for principle and history isn’t progress.; it’s chaos. Without a firm foundation to build upon, change has nowhere to stand.

 

-Written by Justin Farley, member of the 1999 Brownsburg Little League All-Star Team and 1999 Little League Baseball World Series Finalist

 

 

 

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Poem About Modern Society Issues Today and the Wisdom of an Old Woman Dying

Even as a 30 year old man, I am already seeing the changes of modern society. While some of the changes in society are advances, many leave me questioning whether they are positive and reminiscing for “the way things used to be”. 

Friendships are based online and often more face time is in front of a screen instead of in a person’s actual presence. There’s more mental illness and unhappiness than ever before. More busyiness when technology is meant to reduce our workload. Are we really advancing or just stripping away all that makes us human and replacing it with machines? 

“The Deathbed Confession of An Old Woman”


My soul aches,

quakes with the rumble of ancient pain.

Grief abides by my side as an unwelcomed companion

and remains though the seasons change.


These bones are dry –

baked brittle beneath the sweltering heat of time

and are crumbling to dust like a ghost town,

forgotten on a once frequently followed road.


See these hands…

rough, grainy like sand, withered and old?

Written upon them, my life’s story is told.

And the story is slowly fading away –

my town buried by-and-by beneath the dirt of decay.


The way home some days seems so far away.

The paths I walked as a child

have been paved over by city blocks.

Silent stops, which I paused to ponder at beauty –

plucked like a wildflower in the country on a warm summer’s day –

now have wilted and lost their roots.

Down on the farm, the chickens no longer cluck.

Technological advances now roost in their coops.


Am I to quietly drift out

with the changing of the tide?

Paint on a clown’s smile

when inside I’m horrified?


These aren’t just the moans of an old woman

nagging against generational change.

It’s the magnitude of what’s been lost…

It’s the little we’ve gained…


The modern era has numbed you –

rocked you in the cradle to the ambience of machines

instead of your mother’s soothing voice.

They’ve sold you the lie that life has become easier,

yet you’ve neglected to weigh the cost of your choice,

and muted your ears when Chaos triumphantly rejoiced.


But Chaos, I hear you loud and clear

shouting deafeningly across the nation.

Turning children’s eyes to marvel at metal and pixelated color

instead of the beauty of God’s incomparable creation.


So, no. I won’t go quietly.

I refuse to “go gentle into that good night”.

For “old age should burn and rave at close of day”.

I will “rage, rage against the dying of the light”

until this old heart can beat no more.


You can pass my wisdom off as foolish,

once believed lore.

But long will my voice live on

in your weary heart when I’m gone,

when your screens of comfort need recharged,

and Truth rocks you restless, laying wide-awake

with tired eyes in the midnight hours of morn.


My soul aches,

quakes, but not due to my own soon-coming demise.

But because humanity has not matured in my lifetime,

rather relapsed into bratty girls and boys

who throw aside morals and values 

to play with the newest toys.


– Poem Written by Justin Farley

* Quotation taken from “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas


photo credit: talourcera the ring of her Lord – me perteneces via photopin (license)

Christians in Business

Christians In Business- Can We Live Out The Gospel and Run A Profitable Business?

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Are Christianity and Business Success Compatible?

As a Christian business owner myself, it is often difficult to mix the necessity of profits and making money with the language of the Bible considering the numerous warnings about money. Furthermore, I believe today’s culture labels business owners as greedy and always using other people to become successful. We now have a entitled society who bashes those who make money and believes everyone should be allowed to reap the benefits of success, regardless of whether they have sowed seeds of hard work or not. That doesn’t mean that some of society’s arguments about rich, wealthy business owners aren’t valid; it just means that for Christians in business, it’s easy to feel guilty or even sinful to make money and be successful.

Christianity and business (as well as money in general) are both compatible and incompatible. The key aspect that determines which category business men and women fall into are the business’s values. What contributions is the business making to society? Does it simply exist to rake in the highest profits at any cost? What are its core values? Are they consistent with the teachings of Christ? Is the business team using their talents towards the glory of God and to help serve a need in the community through a product or service?

Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about running a nonprofit business. A business has to make money and profits must fall somewhere among the top of key goals. But it must not be the only goal. There has to be something more – a key set of values and principles that it is founded on that are sacred and are never disregarded in search of higher profits. There is no need to apologize for being successful, but success comes with obligation to make a difference in the lives of others.

I think for Christians in business the main question we must meditate on and ask ourselves daily is “Am I running my business to serve me or serve others?” When we keep our focus on others, we can forego all of the guilt and hold our heads high in the face of public criticism of business in general. I think as Christians we often think of serving and helping others in terms of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc. And while these are things every Christian is called to do, I believe that God calls each of us to help and serve in different ways. Monetarily we can help, but we may not be called to the front lines on a daily basis physically. Our contribution may be making or designing a product or service geared to bring laughter to a child and put a smile on his or her face. We may be called to help people file their taxes, help people save money, provide a good or service that makes peoples’ life easier or better. And we must make money doing so. But Christianity is compatible with business when we ask ourselves what we can do to help serve the community, rather than serve ourselves. The mark of a great company is that it gives something back. It produces, but it does so by serving a need and making a difference in the lives of others.

Even as Christians in business, we have to make profits, or it wouldn’t be a business for very long. Usually though, when we place others in front of our own pursuits and constantly ask how we can improve the lives of others with our talents, profits naturally increase. What we do with those profits and with the gifts we’ve been given determines whether we’re serving God or serving self. Christians in business have tough obstacles and temptations, but we can be assured we’re in compatibility with Christian teaching when we wake up each morning with the customer in mind, instead of ourselves.


photo credit: Dr John2005 Shoreditch Bridge Portraits 265, Shoreditch High Street, London, 26 August 2016 via photopin (license)

Opus Dei – A Poem About the Work of God In Your Life

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Opus Dei – A Poem the Work of God In Your Life

Your hot breath has blown on me
and provided the oxygen for glowing embers of love
where there was once nothing but cold, hard coals.

You’ve cultivated my soul
and provided the rich, black soil for roots of patience
where there was once rash temperament without restraint.

Your loving hands have lifted by head hung low in shame,
while your fierce winds have blown like a cyclone across a barren desert,
beginning to level this wall of pride.

You’ve provided for me a solid fortress
deep in the heart of your city
with ramparts tall and wide, impenetrable by the sufferings of this world.

You’ve blessed me with the gift of wisdom, to pause for breath.
I once dove headfirst into life’s battles like a torpedo of chaos without thought,
only to be whipped into retreat, scrambling for cover alone in the dark.

Your tongue has embraced my closed eyelids;
your passionate kiss has restored my sight.
You’ve given me a new pair of eyes able to see farther than myself.

Your loving discipline has provided the humility capable of producing laughter
when I take myself too seriously,
caught up in grandiose schemes and dreams of personal glory.

You’ve implanted in me fragments of courage.
Each day I’m getting more comfortable stripping off clothes of delusion
and encouraging the world to look at my naked frame; imperfect, bound in anxious chains.

You’ve taught me how to sow, where I once only reaped.
The seeds of contemplation have grown into hope,
setting my heart on distant destinations, where not long ago I accepted defeat.

The Spirit moves in incalculable paces like a dancer swayed by rhythmic beats.
You’ve given me a new appreciation for the wind, smirking at how it blows wherever it wishes; I was once engulfed by anxiety embracing unpredictable forces.

Faith has given me footsteps where my feet were once immobile, heavy as iron.
Fear remains, but it doesn’t incapacitate me.
I can walk on water as long as my vision is focused on you.

I’m no longer terrified of your wrath; you’ve given me the green light
to doubt, to challenge, to investigate, to verify, but you’ve also allowed
my heart to accept that sometimes our walk requires steps of blind faith.

It’s becoming easier to call you Captain and turn over the keys to my fate,
finally able to humbly accept that I am incapable of steering this ship,
understanding your hands are the only ones qualified to take the helm.

You’re consistent affirmations are beginning to ease my mind over finite time.
I once restlessly rattled the cage, unceasingly beat and banged
upon the heavy door of immorality, feeling owed admittance.

But you make peace of mind a possible reality; detached from the bondage of self, starved from the selfish desires of the flesh. You give me food filled with substance where I once only chewed and swallowed emptiness.

I am far from at peace.
I am not absent of fear.
I am still riddled by questions without answers.
I am not unmoved by my sufferings.
I come unhinged by my own madness.
I am inhibited by narcissistic obsessions.
I am wavered by trials.
I can be found in moments of doubt.
I still unsheathe my tongue as a weapon.
I am sometimes caught without showing patience.
I am occasionally guarded and scoff at love.
I still sometimes rage against offering others my hand or my time.
I am not always victorious over my passions.
I fall prey to temptations.

Yes, I admit that I am far from perfect.
But your perfection is slowly, but surely
working to change me into a better man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Opus Dei – Latin for the work of God


 

photo credit: 2750 Hot colors for a cold days via photopin (license)

A Post-Modern Portrait – A Poem

“But I like the inconveniences.”
“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.

-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

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A Post-Modern Portrait

Steel covered sky.
Gun-stock gray rays.
Metallic molten moon.

Where do you turn when the hovering dome
That covers your head is sucked void of joy
Like an eternal vacuum, gasping for breath?

Is this really all there is left –
Empty shells consisting of robotic movements,
Resembling humans, but without hearts beating in their chest?

Why are the pure at heart so easily discarded as trash,
But the deceivers received as gold?
What kind of world do we live in when all meaning has been lost –
A heirloom remembered, but regarded as ancient and old?

I’m afraid the heart seeks a treasure that doesn’t exist,
Washed out by the waves of progress
And swallowed by the deluded ideals of feminists.

Woman, do you want to know why there’s no longer
Knights in shinning armor walking the streets?
Because you have become accustomed to the darkness,
Mated with the dragon, and your pride refuses to admit you’re in need.

Independence and self-reliance have paved the death of the soul.
Romantics lay in anguish,
Lost in a world gone cold.

When the Self becomes king,
Selfishness reigns supreme.
Love is shackled and silenced When “ME” “MY”, and “MINE”
Are the passions and desires the heart screams.

Gun-stock gray flock
Of unfulfilled passionate yearnings
Flutter across the cold, metallic sky.
Heartless, inhumane existence clatters
With each footstep of people passing by.

And I am lost in this game.
I don’t know how to join in the delusions.
I have no desire to come to your miscalculated conclusions.

I don’t know how to still the warm heart beating in my chest.
I have no desire to walk like a lamb to the slaughter
And watch my soul shrivel like all the rest.

I have no desire to play by the rules
Of this revised edition of the Game of Life.
I’ll boldly wait in my alienated prism reflecting the light
Rather than sell my soul and vulnerability for the sake of safety
And step out into that dark night.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Grace – A Poem

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Grace – A Poem

I am awed by the way you move me
like freshly fallen snowflakes dusting across the frozen ground.
Some days I forget the barren tundra from which I came
and how you whispered by name, echoing across that vacant landscape
so that a lost soul could be found.

Some days time passes by me without a single thought
that each waking moment is a treasure –
a gift granted, light years away from being deserved.
But despite all my wrongs and all the foolish footpaths
I chose to walk, in my time of desperation I called
and without hesitation you answered.

Each single second is abounding opportunity,
a renewed possibility for new life.
My destination was one I was unable to arrive at
by the work of my own hands, but while I lingered,
withering away in the darkness, you nestled me
within your loving embrace and brought me back into the light.

The fact that I breathe and my heart beats
is a living testament to your endless love and grace.
May I never forget from where I came and that each day is a gift
that I should unceasingly praise and never waste.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Morning mist via photopin (license)

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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God doesn’t make mistakes. It’s easy to compare your weaknesses to other peoples’ strengths and become discouraged; it’s easy to let it tear down your self-esteem and think you have no value or self-worth. But often times, it is our weaknesses that have the greatest potential to transform other people. Our weaknesses are what make us human and give God the greatest opportunity to reveal his glory and redemption. As hard as it is sometimes, by learning to like our weaknesses and accept them instead of hiding them in the dark, we can allow others to see God’s light and give others the confidence to open themselves as well. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to improve them or allow them to run our life because “that’s the way God made me”; it means we have the courage to admit we’re weak, have issues, and allow God to transform us instead of pretending like they don’t exist or trying to do all the work ourselves.

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

I like me.
I’m learning to love the flaws
I see staring back at me in the mirror…
They keep me humble.
Each time I stumble humility grows
And flows through my eyes. allowing me to accept others’ shortcomings.

I like me.
Just as crazy as I come,
Never refusing to silence the feelings that drip
Like sweet drops of honey from the tip of my tongue…
They keep me honest and open, vulnerable and true.
They give others the confidence to let down their guard
And feel comfortable walking in their own shoes.

I like me
With a belly full of fear
And a heart filled with angst…
It keeps my pride in check
And my will at bay,
Knowing that left to my own devices
I’d likely be lying in a grave.

I love me
Even when I don’t like me,
For after all, this is the way God made me.
Who am I to critique his work?
What can the clay say to the Potter,
Except to appreciate and accept
The art sculpted by His hands.
I like me because in the chaos created by my flaws
I know He brings order from anarchy and has a plan.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Living With Fear – A Poem About Anxiety Disorder and Mental Illness

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Living With Fear – A Poem About Anxiety and Mental Illness

Close your eyes.
Keep yourself blind
To the hideous beast
That hides beneath this veil of security.

Pretend you can’t see me
For who I am –
A scared, frightened, shell of a man
Raging in the solitude of fear’s prison.

I can’t even stand the vision
That stares back at me in the mirror,
So how could I expect you to accept me?
How could I expect you not to judge me?

I only wish that for one day you could see
What it feels like to crawl within my skin,
What it feels like to loose it all –
Everything you’ve ever loved, ever dreamed to your own mind.

Finding myself racing around trying to make up lost time –
The minutes, hours, days cowered in the corner,
Just wishing the world would fade away
And this anxiety would leave me in peace.

The attacks may subside, but the restlessness doesn’t cease,
Always waiting to jump me unexpectedly
Like a mugger in a dark, deserted street,
Leaving me helpless and penniless, staring death in the face.

How do I mingle and mix with the human race
When I know my revelations will label me an outcast and crazy fool?
How do I look confidently into another’s eyes
When inside my soul shrieks and my heart beats through my chest?

Where can my soul find rest
In a world of strangers
Who would surely laugh and jest
At the man beneath the mask?

How do I keep from being labeled an outcast
And not notice the eyes jeering at me like I’m a psychotic loon,
Pretending to understand, but keeping their distance,
With no desire to get close enough to help me clean up my mess?

How do I bear being labeled lazy when I’m doing my best
Just to make it through the day, make it out the door,
To achieve some level of normalcy,
And not get crushed beneath the weight of my fears?

Will they ever understand when my mind rears
Its ugly head and leaves me panicking,
Breathing in short gasps pleading,
“Can we please leave now?”

Will they ever understand how
It feels to be locked in a prison of your own being,
Pacing the hours away, wishing somehow
You could find a way to escape invisible bars?

Will they ever not be horrified at the scars
That cover the face of my soul?
Can they ever comfort me at my worst
And not run from the beast before their eyes?

So do you blame me from hiding this storm inside?
Do you know the shame I sleep with,
Always feeling like a monster –
A freak drowning in a sea of normalcy?

But this is me.
And no amount of hiding can change who I am.
I am a scared, frightened, shell of a man
Terrified of the world finding out how weak I am.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


*Painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch

 

Illusions – A Poem

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Illusions – A Poem

The demon water you drink
Is devouring your soul.
Don’t you know this road has no happy ending
And your heart will turn cold?

Repeating lies does not change reality.
Sooner or later you’ll have to face life’s inevitable truth.
Don’t set yourself on foolish paths, don’t chase foolish pursuits,
And hang your happiness up by your own noose.

The lies we tell our hearts are more deadly…more potent
Than the poison spewed from your lips.
Silence the serpent, the viper, the piper
That sings you mirages of bliss.

Strength is weak;
Weak is strong.
Pride brews careless ways
And pushes you to places you don’t belong.

Independence is dependence;
Dependence is independence.
Try to sweep the truth under the rug if you like,
But in solitude you depend on a mind of madness.

The free is captive;
The captive, free.
For the one who relies on self alone
Is bound in lonely chains of slavery.

Call yourself what you wish,
But truth still stares back at you in the mirror.
Pretending to be confident and defiant,
Does not erase your heart of fear.

The proud are brought to their knees;
The meek stand on their own two feet,
For the first step of growth
Is admitting you’re in need and weak.

So bat your lying eyes and put on a show.
But through your smirk, you’ll find only tears.
The road to hell is seen as heaven
By eyes that are blind and ears that refuse to hear.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Woman – A Poem

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Woman – A Poem

You are like the waves lapping against the shore –
Repetitive, seductive, intoxicating, cleansing
Like holy water that wrings out the darkness.

I sit unceasingly upon the sands of time
Waiting for the rise of your tide,
To feel your waters once more by my side.
Staring off into the drab, gray horizon,
I admire flocks of sea gulls.
Only for a moment, but never long enough
To loose sight of your ebb and flow.

Woman is an ocean –
An endless vessel of mystery.
Who knows the measure of your depths?
Who can see the floor of your soul?
We all float in safety as sailors in the bosom of your rest.

Your ripples are enough to rouse suspicion,
To know that beneath your surface currents rage.
But we all long to dive within your waters
And be nestled within the confines of your embrace.

Your seas are salty,
Yet our tongues still thirst for more.
A water that never satisfies,
But opens the flood gates of passion’s door.

You are like the waves lapping against the shore –
A sweeping hand seducing, gesturing
Us to step away from the safety of land.
Woman, you are the demise and prize
Of the heart of each and every man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Receding Sunrise | Assateague Island, Virginia via photopin (license)