30 August 2011


Song of my life: The Album Leaf - Twentytwofourteen

It's no secret that this is my favorite song ever. If you've spent any amount of time with me, I've probably mentioned it half a million times. Sorry for that. Not really, though. I'm proud to admit that such a beautiful song could be MY favorite. I wrote this poem to accompany it. I feel as though I've done this before, so bear with me if that is the case. However, I'm always becoming a more experienced writer, so this one may be way better. Maybe not. Maybe I didn't do this before and it just seems so familiar because it makes a whole lot of sense to do...

I observe on this pensive morning
the lingering fog, low-lying clouds
that act as a blanket to the dew-soaked
ground, bushes and trees. Neverending
forests steal my gaze as I reminisce;
of times, not better or worse, but different.
How the world has changed in these short
years, only a handful of decades. Yet,
in the grand scheme of this universe,
it is only a sliver. A humbling thought.
So much exists before us and behind us,
though all that can matter is what happens now.
The decisions we make will have lasting effects
And I consider how I can best fit into this puzzle
of fog-ridden forests and cool morning air.
Tranquility. Serenity. Solitude.
Alone, yet very much together.
Proximity does not dictate camaraderie.
As the sun begins to peak above the canopy
and warm my thoughtful mind,
I feel at home with the world,
one with nature, an integral part of
a much larger purpose. It's going to be
a most wonderful and promising day.

27 August 2011

An Open Letter to Incoming Freshman

These next four years will change you. There will be a lot about you that will be unfaltering. Nevertheless, expect to open your eyes further than you'd ever previously expected. Your capacity to know the logistics of the world will expand. A lot of it will be depressing, yet the opportunity you'll be providing for yourself will open new doors. That opportunity is what you make it. You can commit the next 12 years to a career in medicine, 7 to be a lawyer, or 6 to be a teacher. The world demands more than four these days. Four years, one piece of paper and a whole metric shit ton of memories and experiences that can't be attributed a fair value. Personally, I changed my career path about six times before I settled on a life of writing. At one point I was even set to attend law school, before setting myself down and having a serious contemplation session. The end result? I realized I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I was doing it for the prestige and money rather than my passion. I would have made a damn fine lawyer, but I wouldn't have felt like I was using my life appropriately.

The most important thing to take away from those experiences is to do what you love. Find something you are passionate about. Let me repeat. Find something YOU are passionate about. Never mind whether or not mom and dad want you to be a doctor. If you're going to invest this time, be sure that it is something you care about. You don't have to decide from the moment you get into college. You have a few years of testing the waters before you come up with some inkling of an idea. It's your future. Better to spend it on something you care about rather than what will be safe for mom and dad.

That leads me to my second point: value what your mom and dad say. They are the basis of why you are the way you are. Wanted or not, they're the ones who instilled some sort of belief system in your life, whatever that may be. Assuming they did something right with you, you're probably either a bit more like them than you care to admit (or otherwise recognize) OR you aren't a thing like them and you've carefully learned from their mistakes and chosen to prosper for yourself instead of linger on the setback. Whether they can afford to back you financially, they are a pillar of support in your life. Don't be afraid to approach them with problems, show them the same respect you'd like to be treated with, and don't ever consider lying to them. Honesty, especially so with parents, will lead to a much more fruitful relationship.

College offers the unique opportunity to try many new things. Don't be too engrained in your current life. Go out and meet new people. Make mistakes. Try getting a companion or two. Don't sulk when you fail. Figure out what you did wrong and don't do it again. People are feeble and everybody is different. If it all worked out the first time, the world would be boring and suck a great deal. Mistakes are pockets of hidden beauty. A subtle reminder that we are, in fact, human and our biggest flaw and, arguably, most humbling trait, is that we err.

Likewise, forgive those who err towards you. Everybody is looking for a second chance. Be harsh but fair. People can learn, but only if you are willing to teach and work with them. Second chances ease the pain and can often times be prosperous for both parties. Karma works both ways.

Friends will come and friends will go. You may begin to notice a distancing between you and your high school classmates. That is bound to happen. The one or two that mattered the most will stick by your side to the bitter end. They'll make themselves apparent, whether it be in a time of need or a reunion following a lengthy hiatus. Don't try to hard to make something failing work. People grow in different directions. That said, don't be ruthless. Try to understand where everybody is coming from. There is a lot of cause for dismissal between friends, but don't go looking for reasons, and don't be afraid if you lose some along the way. It may hurt, but there will always be somebody new to fill the void left behind by an old friend severing ties.

There is a dark side to life that becomes available in college. Something is to be said about the notion that nobody is watching you. What you do with that time is your own decision. Don't succumb to peer pressure, but if there is anything you were ever curious about, do it now. Do it well and don't get caught. Don't be afraid to try something new, but don't be weak enough to fall for something stupid. Use these opportunities to expand your minds. Someday, you'll be parents, and there will be no worse feeling than being caught off guard by something your child did that you know NOTHING about. The preliminary research can be enjoyable. In addition, the post-graduate search for a home, career or partner can greatly obscure the ability to experiment. Don't get me wrong though. These are the years that you will be responsible for your actions and accordingly have to suffer the repercussions. I can attest to that when I nearly lost my scholarship freshman year. There simply aren't enough hours in the day for school, friends, drinking, sports, eating, sleeping and so on. Have fun but find the balance.

It is important to always pay off your debts. I worked my ass off these last few years to pay for my education, housing, occasional girlfriend and lifestyle. Working almost full-time with a full load of coursework was no easy task. What became apparent right away was the need to manage my time better. It took me awhile, but I learned the value of my time and made sure to use it well. College is a long four years, which are comprised of many late nights, lots of headaches, and more compromise than I'll ever know how to accurately convey. It is important to always work off your debt. Those shackles will bind your ability to move forward and may eventually hinder your progress in the world. One of the reasons I turned down law school was because I couldn't stand the notion of owing $100,000+ dollars to somebody else. Sure I could spend the next few years working it off, but I haven't owed money to anybody thus far, why would I deviate from that lofty goal if I could help it? A modest and honest living with no debt is much preferable and conducive to happiness to one in which you're constantly looking over your shoulder for the debt collector and spending your days writing checks to people you owe for your success.

There are so many people from every walk of life here in college. Be sensitive to their situation. You don't know what they've been through to get there. Likewise, understand that they may not understand things you've been through. I came from a very small town, and spend my first year meeting people from all over the world. They had cultural differences, interesting stories, new foods and at times those aspects meshed, while other times caused conflict. I got in arguments about religion, cultural phenomena, and the prevalence of racism in a world I otherwise considered post-race. Boy, was I wrong about that. I learned to keep my ears open and hear what they were saying. It made me consider a lot—about the town in which I was raised, about how much I still had to learn and the way in which we are colored by our experiences. I clearly had much to learn and that still very much is the case.

Never stop learning. Push forward even when your education is done. Always move forward; just don't worry about doing it quickly. Speed is cause for error. Efficiency and speed are not the same thing. Always aim for efficiency. Don't be arrogant, unless you have just cause for your abilities. Even then, keep your big head to yourself. There will likely always be somebody a little bit better. No matter if that is the case, talent doesn't always outdo hard work. You may not be the most talented, but if you work the hardest, people will take notice. Hard work is learned and what you reap is earned. Talent is innate, but does not dictate success by any means.

With that parting sliver of wisdom I've encountered over the past few years, know that these are mere suggestions. If you understand them, you'll also understand that there is an equal and completely reasonable counterargument to each thing. The importance then becomes taking something away from this. Go out into the world and make a difference. Stand up for your beliefs and smile to everybody. Keep your head up and always push forward. Learn from your mistakes and carry on. In four years, regurgitate some of this information, as changed and influenced by your own experiences. I'd wish you luck, but you're all more than capable of success than to rely on something as trivial as luck. Go make your own.


Things that are Beautiful

1. The color of dusk

There is something striking to be said about the color of dusk. Most importantly, it isn't a static color, but exists on many different planes. Over a body of water, dusk is a surreal blend of purples, pinks, reds and oranges. The best part about that is that it isn't a definitive color or boundary. They just melt together. To figure out a specific point where the transition occurs would be in a lengthy and impractical process.

On other occasions, such as that of a landlocked locale, the sunset is a very defined orange to blue transition. The representation of the sun's warmth to the cooler evening air depicted by color is almost synesthetic. It is a humbling sight and one of the most aesthetically pleasing that I can conjure. It is representative of the simultaneous beginning and end; completing the circle and thereby providing closure and opportunity.

2. That which is known, but undefined

One thing I find particularly exhilarating is when two people share a thought without verbally stating it. It is highly anticipatory while captivating in the notion that both people are sharing on their own accord, without the pressures or coloration of another's beliefs. It is the quintessential and most genuine depiction of two unbiased thoughts crossing paths. It is unparalleled and natural. Furthermore, it is shared. It is a little glimpse into the underlying notion that we aren't, in fact, alone. Rather, our existence, our beliefs and thoughts, while seemingly our own, can at certain junctions slip into the realm of others. There can be no closer bond than sharing an unspoken thought, thereby making it one of the most important interactions in human existence.

3. The five-second relationship

What's more perfect than an unflawed relationship? That fleeting glance and smile combination that occurs for mere seconds with the occasional passerby on the streets. Both you and the other party know that there is a spark there. Some people have falsely attributed it to love at first sight, but I'd rather suggest that what really is at work here is intricately tied in with my previous notion of shared thoughts. Both people understand the attraction and appeal of one another. Without speaking a word, the circumstances prevent any further interaction. The time just isn't right, but other than that, those few seconds of unbridled knowing impose the belief that each person has found one another, shared a few of their precious seconds with one another and then moved on with the mutual agreement that it was the right thing to do. In essence, it is the most short-lived but flawless relationship you can encounter and those who experience it from time-to-time can vouch for the wonderful feeling it instills in the individual.

To be continued...

26 August 2011

The Interrogator

"Love is a continual interrogation. I don't know of a better definition of love."
— Milan Kundera

Ask the right questions at all the right times
and occasionally when the time isn't right at all;
learn from one another and be better for it.
It's all for you to figure out answers
there is no more at stake than that.
Guantanamo? They're doing it wrong.
A good interrogation is a relationship
where the weight is distributed.
Imbalance may make things exciting,
but there is no way to fizzle out faster
than to burn off everything at breakneck speeds.
That's what kills stars.
Keep things on an even keel and also
let them be what they are. Names aren't important
in the interrogation room. It's just two people.
You'll get your knowledge and, in turn, they'll
understand you all the better for what's transpired.
Just hope you aren't intolerable.
Then you might as well work at Guantanamo.
The path to success is a long one, and many will
bend before they break. Others still will stay stoic
untrusting and cold to the process.
Keep strong and know the endgame.
You have to falter before you can rise.

24 August 2011

Coffee Shop Love

There is something romantic of a coffee shop,
in the aromas, the unspoken work ethic
and the ability of people to reach for goals
It is a commonplace, of meeting and reunion,
of fleeting glances and bated breath.
It is a place for intro- and extroversion.
Where people seek escapism between the pages
or yearn to escape their own grim reality
in the eyes of another.
Others still come solely with the intent to recharge
albeit artificially, but nevertheless pushing forward.
Coffee shops are a place of tips, for the workers
and also those willing to listen to what's being said.
It is a place of relaxation and simultaneous pressure
Calmness in the ability to spend hours without remorse
while competing with the surroundings to achieve.
I watch the cars and people pass, the bus routes rotate
the cyclical nature of all, from suits to cyclists.
It is beautiful to note these patterns emerge
and to write freely, without consequence,
to spark up a conversation with any who'll have it.
Yes, there is something romantic about a coffee shop,
A place to get lost.
A place to be found.

23 August 2011

A Time for Change

Nirvana. Look within and find yourself. Push past the layers and find the unbiased, uncolored-yet-painted picture of who you really are. Ego death. Surpress it and prosper. It won't be easy, so take baby steps. Ease into your new skin. There will be a lot you don't like. Don't cheat on that. Learn from it. Grow. Thrive. It is only once you can see you for who you really are, without rationalizing your existence and flaws that you can push forward to the realm of true happiness and success. It may be a lifelong journey for some and others still will cut corners. No matter the means, get to the end. That is to say, the end of that chapter. No, not even a chapter. The prologue. Past is prologue. Get to the story itself. Who are you and who you want to be don't have to be so different. Engross yourself in the world. Blur the line between you and that which exists around you. 

There is a lot to fix. You may be one voice, one person with one set of thoughts. But the ability for one to become many and the crowd to take solace in the truthfulness of your words, the beliefs you stand behind with conviction. Inaction is the only obstacle. Get the ball rolling and let the momentum do some of the work.

The society in which we have been brought up has done a damn good job of trying to control things. It isn't for malicious intent, but rather for the safety of the masses. Somewhere along the way, the path taken was one that didn't trust billions of individuals to act freely. Safeguards were put in place and now kids grow up in a world where they don't question existence or reason, but rather do what they're told or otherwise find themselves punished. It is tangled, it is complex. I don't think there is an easy solution. That said, I do think it is important that somebody take the reigns and speak up to say what so many suppressed people are thinking.

These are tumultuous times. Our generation has been left to clean up messes and address long-building challenges. There is no better time than now to speak up and begin working towards a better world. We are the future, we are the collective voice. If we don't act soon, or even continue down the path that has been set before us, then in all likelihood our beautiful race is doomed. I've seen the best and worst in humanity. Our potential for both is polarizing. Atrocities happen, as do such powerful acts of teamwork and camaraderie. 

Our President promised us change, and then fell victim to those aforementioned safeguards. People are inherently afraid of change. They don't like what they don't know. The fear of change is reasonable, yet one that has created such problems as blatant racism, corruption in the government in which we rely, and  safety operating within "the bubble". We need a leader who doesn't fear that change, who knows that it can be embraced and that the most powerful trait of the people is that of adapting. We are an adaptive, intelligent race. We should not fear change, but welcome it with open arms. We should not fall victim to the temptation of riches and power, but rather create power by working together to fight the safeguards.

Listen carefully to what your mind is saying. Once you hear it, then do not fear standing up for those beliefs. In a world where originality is difficult to find, you can take assuagement in the notion that there likely is another nearby who agrees with what you believe. It just requires the commitment to speak up, as I'm very much doing here today.

The future is as uncertain as ever. It is time to create a new web, and new safeguards. One that will protect our planet, our race and our rights. We need to reboot the system. Let this be a public calling to anybody who agrees. The old system is slowly failing us and each day that we lack the ability to address it at large is going to make the path that much more difficult. If there ever was a paramount time to wage a war against the system and create a new set of rules, regulations and policies, it is now. Do not fear. I am merely one man speaking my mind, but I'm willing to stake my existence on the notion that others out there feel the same way. Let us unite now and pave a peaceful, more stable future for those who will come after us.


10 August 2011

Eye of the Beholder

The expansion of one's mind is the most wondrous growth
whatever the vessel of achieving such vision
and the perception of the world for what it truly is
in both its beauty and doom, at least we know it lives
for what lives that doesn't eventually move on?
Much has changed in the way I see
as the broad continents host our people,
a people of potential, for the best and the worst
to consume and protect, as we precariously teeter.
It is fascinating the way in which I've become aware,
as if I were asleep or looking through a fog.
Now I've discovered the veil lifted and gone
and I know that I can do anything
or happily move on trying my best.
If I happen to run into any obstacles on the way?
I just trip and don't fall.

05 August 2011

Re-Collective Conscious

We are all kindred bits of knowledge and energy
Uncatagorized. Unfathomable. Grandiose.
Single-minded we are small, but collectively
Unconquerable. Beauty exists in the small pockets
That comprise our wandering life force.
As we seek out how to strengthen and bolster
And slowly but surely as the universe itself
We attract until we reunite as One.

02 August 2011

The World is Yours

Your bokeh eyes distantly sparkle
as they so carefully observe the
equally blurry world around us.
Seeking, seeking, seeking
out the best in humanity but
skeptical, for power breaks resolve
especially when unchecked.
Use your free-spirited voice to guide
the lives of those you pass each day
back to their homes, to love, to virtue,
to happiness, equality and contentment.
Let that voice ring aloud,
and maybe they will listen,
and maybe they won't.
Yet, a quiet voice sends no vibrations
in the already chaotic air.
Your hands are delicate, but experienced
and have seen much wear from these
wearing times. They move with such care,
diligence and purpose. Deliberately so.
Each mark a story marking gained knowledge
that has shaped the mind, spirit and soul.
You have much work left to do,
but I have no doubts as to your ability.
You remain unparalleled in potential,
so go out into the big broad world and
find a way to tap it. Manifest your talent
into a game-changer. The world is yours.

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