by John Casey


That moment
Your sweet smile
Elevated me
Asked for nothing
Warmed my world-worn heart
Validated my existence

The honest, nova-bright life of your eyes
That purest expression of a want
Only to love
Only me
And I was overcome

A sublime, singular smile
Ethereal, unconditional, real
From then to now and ever on
Is the memory by which
I measure joy


Crystal flowered vases cast sunbeams astray
Diffused about her figure, as if by nature’s design
She smiles, reposed by the window
Elegant, serene, inquisitive

Luminous warmth caroms through the glass
The resplendent bouquets are caught, indecisive
Lured by an uncommon radiance
A hopeful smile touched by impending joy
That portends at once both question and answer

But what does she ask?
What does she know?
Should they lean to the Sun, or to her?

All this, captured in a smile
By the light of the window, at the onset of spring
With wonder at what may rise anew
Knowing that it will be beautiful
And that it starts from within

Carpe Diem

Work it Earn it Live it Learn it
Climb It Run it Yell it Fun it
Like it Date it Joy it Fate it
How it Why it Hold it Cry it
Love it Leave it Miss it Grieve it
Hurt it Need it Shame it Feed it
Lie it Fake it Lose it Break it
Drug it Thrill it Hate it Kill it
Quam minimum credula postero?

Ne Plus Ultra

Cool, clear air
Oxygen thick
Inhale slowly
Sunbeams peek between trees
Cutting the chill, just enough
Sharp report
Adrenaline rush
And we go

Instant warmth
School of fish
Bumping shoulders
Field of view narrows
The goal
Unseen but known
One simple distance ahead

Find a nice little pocket
Settle in
Sounds muddle together
Overcome by rhythm
Droplets of perspiration
Tingling the brow
Proof of purpose

Personal space
Silently agreed upon
Each of us
In our own little world
Counting up
Counting down
Intermediate milestones

Endorphin kick
Riding the wave
Euphoric endurance
Good time
To break from tunnel vision
Glancing left and right
Quick smiles exchanged
Shared empathy acknowledged
Only we know this
Pace, breath, life

Carry the distance
Passing some
Passed by others
No matter
The goal is common
The purpose is mine

Banner ahead
Cheering cuts through
A monotonous
Drumroll of footfalls
Break rhythm
To embrace speed
We shared the distance
But suddenly
It’s more personal
Each remaining second
More important
Than peaking pain

Waves of emotion
Vision goes wide
Colors and sounds
Back in tune
Bright and crisp
Pats on the back
Grateful for these moments
Breathe it all in
This is one way I know
Life is beautiful

About the Author:


JOHN CASEY grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992. He earned an MA in International Affairs from Florida State University in 1994, then began his flying career as a tactical airlift and developmental test pilot. Casey left the cockpit in 2005 to work as an international affairs strategist and diplomat at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., embassies in Germany and Ethiopia, and at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he retired in 2015. Since then, he has focused on his writing. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, magazines and online blogs. Raw Thoughts is Casey’s first book, and he is currently working on his upcoming novel, Devolution. He is passionate about racquetball and fitness, music, travel and nature, and the human spirit. His writing is inspired by the incredible spectrum of people, places and cultures he has experienced throughout his life.