A Blog’s Purpose

I published a post about blogging last week, and a great point was raised by my fellow blogger, Bookstooge; he said he would be interested in learning the reason behind why I recommended connecting a blog to social media in order to share it with more people and invite online traffic. While thinking on this, I began reflecting about the journey my blog has taken me on and how I got to the point I am at today. So this is the story thus far; let’s start a little before the blog even existed and try to understand why it was created. Continue reading “A Blog’s Purpose”

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Love Songs

They exist in
a contradictory courtship
between the abstract and
specific.

Proclamations attesting to
the Divine
nature of love.

Laments of
time lost. Shrieks
of regret and
betrayal grating at
the worth of it all

How many were written
in hopes of gaining? How many
were
premature?

Which describe
the actuality?
What if they’re all just
pleas
for what can never
truly be?

Are they love songs,
or just songs about love?

A Miserable Creature

(A Plea)

There is a creature
that isn’t quite
alive.

Rather,
It simply seeks to
survive,
thriving on what It believes
is owed.

Taking an
emotional tithe and
fabricating frightening fantasies of
intimacy
and growth.

Its hosts can’t
blame
others for
choosing to
live their lives without
It;
but that doesn’t mean they
enjoy It either.

It slithers from
one to the
next; imprinting Its
ideals and
wants and
needs
onto subjects undeserving of
such psychotic symptoms.

It is envious
and apathetic
all at once.

At Its most microscopic, It is not
made of cells, but
interlinked insecurities.

Its very
presence is

paralyzing

and warrants
nothing
but the
destruction of its
desolate form.

(A Dismissal)

But It is necessary for
the protection of one’s
heart.

It seeks to procure for
Its host
in the least selfish way
possible.

It is self-aware,
knowing Its beneficent nature and
sarcastic sadism.

(An agreement)

There is a creature
whose only goal is to
feed on the happiness
of others, and this time

It wins.

In(Re)trospective

The beads of summer
sweat coated your upper lip;
a foil to the chilly
distance of
my heart’s malcontent.
Cheeks would blush.
Flushed.

Your hair, a
curtain of auburn mimicry,
brushed my brow with
each lustful kiss.
Pressure enough to
freeze time.

We marched through
our passion, always
just out of

step.

I wanted what was best; you wanted
me.
Burns and scars forced
me to pave the road to hell.
You never wanted to
hurt me,
just yourself.

How many have I pined after
in your wake?
How few reciprocated? How
could I replace what was
lost?
But a relationship cannot be
built on lies and
no matter how much I wanted you,
it just wasn’t
meant
to be.

I hardened my heart
in the hope of
saving yours.
I left you crying
amid the laughter of children
on that summer day.
Such promise; such potential
gone
because of my best intentions.
So many false starts, swearing oaths
I couldn’t help but
break.

I wanted you to get
better;
and you did (I think).
You met shortly after our split.
A decade later and
you’ve been together
through it all.
For what seemed an age,
I watched from afar and remembered
who we used to be.

Ten years on and we’re different people.
A gold band now tips the scale of your left hand
while the pair of mine remain
balanced.

It seems a
lifetime ago.
It might as well have been.
And the worst part is

I couldn’t
care
less.

Are You Ok, Cupid?

When people hear the name “Cupid”, they usually picture a winged, infant archer who brings love, lust, and romance. I have come to think of him as a smirking little brat who enjoys setting up the select few while making the rest of us fumble through forced icebreakers, awkward dates, and the eventual repetition of it all.

Since beginning my online dating journey in 2014, I have: been on five dating sites, three dating apps, gone on five actual dates, been catfished twice, and entered zero relationships, meaningful or otherwise. I have spent hundreds of dollars over the last five years in membership fees with close to nothing to show for it. I have tried to put almost every permutation of my personality into my profiles: my humor, my intention for a serious relationship, my likes and dislikes; all to no avail.

So what’s the appeal? Is it just a game where you swipe through and shop for a person? When is it reduced to sending a message in the hopes of a response notification that shoots dopamine to your brain without understanding that there is another person on the other side of those messages? Perhaps it is the last hope of those of us fighting the gravity of the realization that we may be single forever. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but what happens when no one thinks you’re a catch worth keeping?

Continue reading “Are You Ok, Cupid?”

The Warrior & The Valkyrie

Who was she that left so deep a mark
upon a warrior covered in scars?
Gather closer to the fire and
allow this
humble skald to
recount the tale.

There was once a warrior
deeply in love
with a woman of
self-professed,
unconventional beauty.
Her eyes were the captured,
cerulean waters
of the fjord.
Her laugh was
the life-breathing wind.
Her silken hair,
the ruddy brown of
freshly peeled
tree bark.

But be assured, such joy
does not last,
and a pest crept into the lovers’ hut
one night.
It passed over the warrior,
knowing that
a far worse fate
awaited him.
The next morning, her
life
was drained as that
malevolent cancer
struck
without warning.
An enemy that even
the mightiest warrior
can not defeat.

Shattered by
grief,
the warrior gave her a burial befitting
her splendor, and
threw himself
into battle with wild abandon.

He could find no consolation
from his comrades,
and on one of the
many
battlefields, he was felled by
another’s spear.
Looking down, he saw
his lifeblood
cascading
from the wound in
his chest.

All thought of pain
left him as
his gaze lifted
with relief and saw
Her;
His love
transformed with
cascading braids of gold
in the visage of
a Valkyrie.
He knew then that
he had been chosen for Valhalla,
where he would
gladly
be a thrall
in her service.

But the Norns had a cruel joke planned,
and rather than
cutting his life’s thread, they
severed
his connection to
the Valkyrie. Just
as she was about to speak
words of comfort,
his soul
plummeted
back to Midgard
into the ruined tissue of
his flesh.

And what did she leave?
Regret and the
backward translation of
lost language
never to be understood.

Finding himself no longer in bliss,
he shrieked a
black song
toward the heavens:
“I will drink of
Kvasir’s blood and
speak
my love back into being.
I will make
a mountain
of skulls to climb
and find you again.
I will carve
my name into
the histories of men;
challenge the
bravest, the strongest, and the hardiest
Until I find one who is
worthy enough to
return me to my beloved.
This, I swear.”

The warrior trekked across
craggy peaks and
dark ravines to find
the Mead of Suttungr;
but mere words were
not enough to conjure.
As an age passed and
drifts of snow began to patch his beard,
the warrior carried on;
hoping to
meet his match.

He continues
his search; a man
aged beyond his years.
But, if asked, this
lone warrior would tell
you not to weep for him;
he has
purpose and the
terminal knowledge of
his quest’s end.
And while his memory
remains true, he never
travels
alone.

Why Does Everyone Look So Happy?

The following essay is what was published in the 2018 editions of Minnesota’s Emerging Writers: A Nonfiction Anthology and America’s Emerging Writers: A Nonfiction Anthology. I felt that it would now be appropriate to share the piece since I am posting personal blogs . I hope you enjoy it and pick up a copy of either anthology to own not only my essay, but those of my fellow emerging writers in Minnesota and around the United States.

Why does everyone look so happy? This is a question that I ask myself often and it finally has bugged me enough to try and answer. Why does everyone look so happy? I am primarily talking about social media, and I believe the obvious answer is that we are able to edit our lives down into 280 characters or 6-second videos that are bite sized attempts at escape from the dreary and weary troubles which wear us down on a daily basis.

The inherent properties of social media mean we don’t need to have original thoughts because we can share and repost content created by someone else. I don’t mean to say this as something strictly negative, especially because I have done so as well. I think it speaks to the human condition of sharing our lives; the comfort in knowing that yes, things are bad for me right now, but they are probably bad for someone else too. This solidarity through suffering seems to be one of the main facets of why we regurgitate and share the things we see on the Internet and various other forms of media.

But why does everyone look so happy? Are we smiling only when the camera is pointed at us? Do we create situations or go to events simply for the photo opportunity? If I go out to dinner with friends or family, why do I feel like I have to take pictures and post about it as soon as possible? Who am I trying to impress? It clearly isn’t those I am with in person since I took the time to post about the moment rather than thriving in it.

Why does everyone look so damn happy? Are we kidding ourselves? Does the “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality permeate the underlying motivation in our daily activities? Much like photography and film, which are two prevalent types of media on the Internet, what we decide to post and share goes through a process of elimination and editing. I can choose to write a status that would be read how it would be heard if I had said it aloud, but I would be doing that on purpose.

For example, um, if I decided to put vocalized pause and, uh, ellipses… my apprehension becomes apparent because I have crafted the sentence in such a way as to convince you of how difficult it is to say what I want.

I have calculated and chosen what to show you in my sentence and, through this, you don’t get an honest picture of what I am feeling. I can write to tone and inflection, I can change my vocabulary to increase the verisimilitude and wax poetic in order to belittle and condescend if I so wish. I can choose whether or not to tell you that I checked the definition of verisimilitude to ensure that I was using it correctly.

The Internet gifts us with precious seconds or minutes in order to bolster our defenses in an argument, or to google a snippet of poetry or song lyrics to better caption an Instagram post. We have control over what we show others and often that control is relinquished due to the fact that many people don’t often think before they post. Perhaps this is something that I have come across more since starting my own blog; I must be cognizant of my intentions as a writer and the way in which I use my voice, because it is surely not something that was in the forefront of my mind in the last nine or so years that I have had a Facebook account.

So the question is no longer, why does everyone look so happy; the question is, if everyone is able to look so happy, why can’t I? I have watched a few TED talks that cover happiness and self-fulfillment, and from what I have gathered, happiness is something that we must each qualify for ourselves. Now, I realize this might sound a bit like common sense, but I’m not sure that it is routinely thought of as such. When we think about what would make us happy, we generally dream of a better car, a bigger house, the love of someone else, the life of someone else. If only I could make more money, if only I could talk to that guy or girl, if only I could be discovered by a talent agent. We leave so much of this up to circumstance; we blame not ourselves, but the world around us for our lack of contentment in our search for happiness.

I include myself in this and it has taken more than a few harsh, but honest, words from friends and family to make me realize this truth. I am lucky to have such wonderful and strange bedfellows in my life, and their contentment with themselves comes at a different cost than mine. In my family, we talk about picking our battles, and though some may compare it to an ostrich sticking their head in the sand when frightened, I believe that focusing on what is right in front of me rather than all of the injustice in the world will help retain my sanity.

What can I change about my life to make it better for myself and those wrapped up in it? Maybe this means I don’t have intimate knowledge about certain social issues, and though solidarity and empathy are important to me, I also know that I cannot take on the weight of everyone else’s suffering. Perhaps that is the secret known to everyone smiling in those photographs; they are concerned simply with the moment and those around them. We can only change what is in our power to control, and it is through exercising this agency that we can fake the smiles, focus on those around us, and perhaps one day feel the pull of our cheek muscles in genuine glee.