Who Am I?

Do not break rhythm, just to rhyme

To replicate the pantomime

Do not spend life trying to climb

A ladder that’s a waste of time

Seize the day, right at its dawn

Do not exist as someone’s pawn

For ’tis not what you’re meant to be

So live your life, and live it free

Lay the pavement, craft your path

Worry not for aftermath

For it will never worry you

This may be harsh, but it is true

Worlds are large, worlds are great

And we should all appreciate

That nothings given, nothings owed

We only reap what things are sewed

Be who you would always dream

Create your motif, and your theme

Everything is up to you

You are defined by what you do

The Actor

A twisted tale of truth he hid, as lying’s what he always did

Fleeing from the fear his bedroom mirror might make

He never judged the things he’d do, but if the same was done by you

His fingers would be first to point out every mistake

 

No thought for who he really was, and just like this world always does

The lies were the one thing that did him in

He had a picture in his head, and no one ever really said

That he should maybe stop and look within

 

So the tales grew bigger, and, supporting his false life’s grandstand

It wasn’t long until he wished he’d quit

For someone came along, you see, and though he tried to disagree

They ripped his mask and forced him to admit

 

They made him face the truth, at last, and when the time had come to pass

He realized just how awful he had been

And that’s how this old story goes, its theme, the world already knows

That people looking out will not look in

Where Do You Belong

You ask me why I’m like this

I’ll tell you best I can

Some things have happened in my life

That made me who I am

I used to see things one way

But that way got turned to two

And then I started seeing things

From all these points of view

Everything around me changed

◦ ‘Twas different than before

The world revealed itself to me

As it drug me ‘cross the floor

It showed me everything it made

It showed me that I’m lost

It showed me that there’s many more

Who feel the same exhaust

Then, it softly spoke to me

It told me to be strong

And if you let your weakness win

You’re right where you belong

Necessary

NECESSARY

I think I’ll write a poem that speaks epic truth, tonight
It doesn’t matter if you tend to lean left or lean right
Politics aren’t helping us, the gap is greater in-between
We need to stop fixating on whose King or who is Queen

We need to shift the focus to what matters, that’s for real
We need to stop the spinning and start breaking culture’s wheel
Martin wasn’t joking when he wrote that brilliant line
The story’s great, sure, but a grander message lies behind

Nothing’s stronger than a thread that’s woven one and all
But if you try to weave it on your own you’ll sadly fall
History has proven this, it’s not news to anyone
The ink in this here pen I wield weighs more than your big gun

Every life we live is shaped by minds that can run free
And if we came together just imagine what could be
Forgiveness, empathy, this is what we need
And we ever grasp these things our whole planet will be freed

Fire doesn’t put out fire, its ego you should bury
Someone had to say it, right? These words are necessary.

Support

It’s so funny

To me, at least

Each time I see

A friend succeed

As others shout

He’s a sell out!

In a negative outburst

Real friends agree

And true family

Support you, see

Help climb that tree

They do not doubt

What you’re about

They help you charge headfirst

It’s easy to see

The irony

For if you feed

In jealously

As people go

I’ll let you know

My friend, you are the worst

Toe in the Water 

It looks so cold 

This water, bold

As evening reaches crest 

And yet I know

Aft icy blow

The warmth will be abreast 

Is it so hard?

Why do I guard?

No logic can be found 

Just jump right in

But wait! I grin 

I will! The next time round

I promise, then

I’ll dive right in

I know the shock is short

Okay, let’s go!

Hang on! Go slow

No wait, I must abort

I must prepare 

And get some air

For easy, it is not

To take the leap

It looks so steep 

One chance is all you’ve got

This life’s not long

So sing your song

Leave worry in the past

For when you’re old 

You’ll wish you’d told

Yourself to have a blast 

Don’t be the one

To miss the fun

Make every second count

As fortune faves

The bold in waves 

The risk worth all amount 

Your life is yours 

Not boring chores

This, please understand 

It starts with you

That water, blue

Don’t waste away in sand

Just take a toe

And dip it slow 

The cold will soon feel hotter 

The time is here

No more “next year”

It starts with toe in water

Monster in a Mansion

As we sit here, looking

Across the plains, the sea

One looks at the other

And the other looks at me

He says “Hey,

My goodness gracious,

That lady needs a room”

She says “I know,

She surely needs one

This weathers looking gloom”

And as I sit observing

The clouds, they start to rain

The lady pulls her pockets

Naught a penny to her name

Frowning, I sadly watch her

How helpless she must be

To try and find a shelter

That will take her in for free

Then my dreary gaze shifts

To the hill beyond the tree

As the Monster in the Mansion

Stands on his balcony

As he looks upon her

She says “I’ll give you all I’ve got

Please save me from this weather

I ask not for a lot”

Laughing, loudly scoffing

The Monster tilts its head

“Why give my hard earned money?

You should get a job, instead”

Ironically, I’m thinking

As this lady begs and crawls

That the Monster made his fortune

Off of peasants, so he calls

I sigh and cry, just watching

This Monster; not a care

And realize how disheartening

That this life is so unfair

Mission

The focus settles, nestles in

I sit here waiting, lights are dim 

And though I know what must be done 

I always feel that loaded gun 

The push to work, this call to act

For naught fulfills a ghost’s contract

Forever now, forever then,

Armed with paper, bladed pen

No fear of future, charge ahead

No time for doubt, remorse or dread

The task is clear, the goal I know

As light fights through this dark window

Two years have passed, as I attest

Since fire sparked, ignited quest  

To do the things that needed done

To tell the Lord – Thy Kingdom come.

How the World Should Work

For far too long I’ve waited

And put off this vital task

No more shall I lay dormant

It’s time to shed this timid mask

The road ahead, its daunting

Just where does one begin?

It matters not, get started 

As complacency’s a sin

The goal is set, if only

Our path was just as clear

Uncertainty’s foreboding 

We must march ahead, no fear 

The battle may be bloody

Perhaps some won’t survive

But die for cause, so noble

And keep your memory, alive

From deepest soul, I mean this

To all who read this text 

This is not to entertain you

It’s to usher in what’s next 

Earth needs our help, its falling 

While its evil casts a smirk

But mark these words, we’ll change it

We’ll show them How the World Should Work

Go…

My head’s above the water

That drowning feeling, gone

A year point five has passed

The dark before the dawn

I know its up to me now,

To act, to make her proud

No longer shall I question

Why the pain was ere allowed

Instead my eyes shall focus

On this path that’s clear ahead

And journey down the trail

Where nary a foot hath tread

For loss lasts but a moment

The shock, the pain it sends

Yet those we loved would tell us

To heal and make amends

What words would ‘scape her lips?

Is there encouragement today?

I know she’d want me happy

I know just what she’d say

Go! Be the one we spoke of

Go! Live the life you dreamed

For one day all shall gather

Our love, will be redeemed

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wall

I think its time

For far too long

Neglect I have

This useful blog

 

A journal it is

Its purpose, clear

Therapist, counselor

My shelter from fear

 

For only this place

Can I share the “real”

And only here

Can I truly feel

 

For when I walk

Outside this door

The world shall greet me

That endless bore

 

For reasons unknown

Sad truth will befall

That fake is the norm

Currency for all

 

One day it will change

One day this won’t be

A time will arrive

When I can be “me”

 

And you can be “you”

Coalesce shall we all

But ’till that day comes

Get back…to the wall

 

 

 

 

 

Love Life

I bet you’re all like me

And you really couldn’t care

About the fame and fortune

You just wish that life was fair
So one day I decided

To quit The System, Inc.

And go off all alone

So I could ponder and could think
I learned a lot about me

‘Twas so much I didn’t know

If you truly want to know “you”

Just get up and leave the “show”
Regret shall never taunt me

My purpose fine’ly found

Contribute to this world

Spreading smiles all around

No longer can I sit here

Watching terrifying news

Somebody’s got to fix it

There’s don’ts and then there’s do’s
So that’s the basic story

How my writing came to be

One day I hope this changes

And our lives are truly free
Arduous it may be

This road I have ahead

Surrender’s not an option

I’ll fight until I’m dead
So many people ask me

Who cares? Why do you fight?

My answer, friend, is simple

My mother raised me right
We all know that we struggle

There’s no point in hiding so

Just embrace collective hardship

And all the stress, let go
Be happy. Love. Remember,

Our time on Earth goes fast

So make it worth your while

And create an epic past

Another Awesome Day @ the Cube

Phew. Well, today freakin’ ruled!

Days like today are the best – those one of a million types that you look back on as you nestle into bed and think “dang…I wish they could all be like that.”

BEHOLD!! The Cube.

They’re the kind that make you really appreciate this ball of chaos on which we occupy. The ones that make you forget the stresses and obligations of daily living and instead let you focus on the good and the great. The stuff we should actually focus on – gnome saying?

Truthfully, this was something I’ve been looking forward to since my first visit several months ago (the recap of which can be found here: Pushing Boundaries: My Day at iCube). To spare you an unnecessarily verbose description of why I was so excited, I recommend you read that post. Basically I got to spend all day screwing around with super expensive virtual reality stuff, among other toys that any nerd would die to get their hands on. Read on for the deets of today (I’ll pause so you can get caught up on the aforementioned post).

The team at iCube most certainly inspire.

The main thing that made today so much better than my first visit was the added bonus of bringing a close friend, Johnny. Incidentally, now that I think about it, he’s someone that many of my readers are already e-acquainted with (I refer to none other than infamous Johnny the Slick-Handed). So to most accurately place you into my mindset, imagine the value of attending something, anything, with a good pal. It results in a profoundly different interaction – not only for the event itself, but when also considering the small things like the hour-long conversations both to and from said event. For lack of a better description, it simply elevates the entire experience. Couple this with the fact that our tour-guide was not only a friend, but one of the most down-to-Earth, smartest people I know (Mack Lunn) and that’s just a formula for…well, fun. Rhyme not intended.

The day began with an incredible bacon-burger-filled lunch at Spanky’s, a local joint located on the campus of TN Technological Institute in good ole Cookeville, TN. Johnny, Mack, and myself were joined by two painfully beautiful she-geniuses, Tara and Brooklyn – who, I should add, also work at iCube. Evidently the place excels at hiring super-intelligent, motivated human beings; something indicative of any organization which winds up being enormously successful.

Before I forget – and this has absolutely nothing to do with anything – one thing I’d be remiss not to mention that happened during lunch: the literal tear inducing moment of sharing a short video of a poor, trapped sheep being rescued only to be accidentally tossed down a mountain. You’re probably thinking that sounds sadistic and evil, but I assure you it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. After all, I’m like…90% sure…the sheep ended up just fine (stop and watch this video immediately). Again, totally irrelevant to this post, but something I found so funny that I simply had to sprinkle in here. Blame Johnny for showing it to me on the ride up.

It gets no more immersive than stepping into virtual reality.

Anyway! Let’s get back on point. More important than TumbleSheep, lunch produced some extremely stimulating conversation – not a surprise considering the company. My favorite thing about highly intellectual environments is the conversation, which always proves to be thought-provoking and relevant. Not to mention that Spanky’s is the absolute business if you want a decent burg in Cookeville.

After lunch, Mack led us back to iCube, where I wanted Johnny to try out the same stuff I got to enjoy during my first visit. So, armed with all things VR, Mack strapped him into an Oculus Rift and let him immerse himself in the digital, virtually realistic universe we’ve all read so much about. The post I referenced earlier alludes to much of these applications/games, but one thing I want to mention that most definitely separates today from last time: FREAKIN STAR WARS!!

Sorry, let me adjust myself before my visibly aroused scribbles create an awkward environment for us both.

Who, me?  Not much…just using my LIGHT SABER! Whatchu up to?

Yes, you read that correctly. They have finally developed a game that allows us lessor humans to step into the shoes of a real life, force-slinging, saber-wielding Jedi who can block FRICKIN’ LASER BEAMS. I kid you not. So Johnny, being the guinea pig of the day, was able to enjoy this as I sat there taking pictures for this very post – silently dying a little on the inside wishing this had come out when I was younger. Kids these days get to have all the fun, right? Whatever. They can take their iPads and their fake online girlfriends and…ahem. Moving on!

After awhile of fiddling with VR, we again (for me) stepped into the craaaazy-expensive “VisBox”, which is this huge platform/dark arena where you put on some goofy goggle and walk around in a real 3-D, immersive environment. My last post described an application catered towards hospitals, where diabetic patients can waltz around in their hearts/arteries, truly visualizing what’s going on in their bodies if they don’t follow the doc’s instructions. Again, Johnny was the “player”. We also showed him the other applications that the Vis Box offers, such as a super cool app where you can walk around the old Quake video game’s map. You know the one I’m talking about – that old FPS game where we all learned to shoot people. Not this sissy COD junk that the nerds of today are used to. In any case, I imagine the Vis Box is always one of iCube’s crown jewels that has a lot of impact and wow-value for the folks who aren’t familiar with their work.

Where the magic happens.

After the VB, Mack took us through the studio, showing us where the (seemingly literal) magic happens. Imagine a video game studio, but sprinkled with students, Oculus Rift headsets, and a bunch of dry-erase board with hieroglyphics…only the hieroglyphics are actually just stuff that English-speaking people who are smarter than me understand and not actually a foreign language.

If you understand this, stop reading this and go design some stuff.

Following the studio, the final part of our tour began, which was a quick look at the things they do in terms of 3D printing. This time, unlike my last, there was actually one printer that was actively printing something. This was really cool to see, since earlier I didn’t have the chance to see something manifest out of what seemed like thin air (these things are nuts if you haven’t watched videos or anything on them). In fact, the sheer thought of “printing” objects still sort of boggles my mind, but alas – that is literally the world we now live in. Get used to it, I suppose.

Since we mentioned light sabers and all…

All in all, I’ll wrap up with by reiterating how much I appreciate Mack and days like today. Many thanks to all the folks at iCube for creating such an inexplicably incredible venture that I eagerly hope to read about as time moves forward. I genuinely expect some revolutionary things coming from them and theirs in the future.

A future which, as iCube clearly indicates, is blindingly approaching with lightning-fast swiftness.

Thanks again Mack!!!! You da man.

For more information on iCube and the amazing work they do, please visit their website at http://www.ttuicube.com/

The Meaning of Life

There are times that we quit

We wrestle, and fit

As we call our hard lives but a strife

We get caught in the past

Or get told we won’t last 

And we wish for a bullet or knife 

My friends, let it go

Just take this life slow

Remember one thing, most of all

Our time here is short

The sole thing of import 

To get up, if ever you fall

This rule isn’t hard

Your heart, it will guard 

As it shines a bright light in the dark

Your friends will, at length 

Take notice, this strength

And they’ll join you as journeys embark

You’ll go a long way 

As you smile and play

It rubs off, as others will too

This shouldn’t sound strange 

As we all know that change

Will happen, when starting with you

Mr. Puggle Fish

Quietly swimming, all alone

Through a sea of madness and blue

A tiny creature sighs to itself

And wishes it’s dreams would come true
“What’s wrong?” You might ask

“What makes this fish sad?”

“Oh why does this creature feel blue?”

It’s simple, my friend

This fish is alone

Just one, out looking for two
Struggling, searching, with tears in its eyes

The creature has only one wish

To someday be whole, to one day be loved

To find it a Miss Puggle Fish
“How sad!” You will say

“This cannot be so!”

“We must find a two to his one”

You’re right, I would add

So what do we do?

Oh what can be did or be done?
Well while he was swimming, just darting about

Our Puggle swam into a girl

Who stopped on the spot, and lovingly thought

“He’s cute, let’s give him a whirl”
“At last!” We all cheer

The fish has found love

He’s filled that small void in his soul

Alas, all my friends

This Puggle Fish tale

Illuminates life’s greatest goal

Life Flitters By

But Mom! 

Says the little girl, pouting about 

To the woman, 

Who feels left than thirteen

‘Twas Tom!

The girl cries, as she wrestles and shouts

Pulling hair 

As she’s acting so mean

Have I grown?

Asks the mother, all riddled and scared

To herself,

For yesterday seems

Like she was 

Just the poor little girl in this poem 

Who’s pulling 

Her hair while she screams. 

On the Eve: 10

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

Lies.

They plague our souls, causing us to act in ways of which we never believed ourselves capable. Yet we often cling to these falsities; desiring the reality we’ve fabricated over the painful truth that is life. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Perhaps there is some validity to the sentiment. But willful ignorance? There is no greater atrocity.

I have been deceived. All these years, lied to. Ulric, who, as Jordain’s Hand, was only charged with protecting the crown, came to me years ago with that crushing dispatch. News that the love of my life had been unfaithful, and intended to replace me as Queen with the Vice-Regent, Elaine. I believed him.

Last night I was greeted by an emissary who represented my former husband and King. Ulric’s journal, cataloguing his sadistic, manipulative thoughts, was presented to me. I was told Jordain has spent all these years tirelessly searching for anything to clear his name and prove his loyalty to me. After all this time, his efforts finally produced this journal. This, evil, disgusting journal that revealed everything he did was a lie.

Jordain’s actions, in light of this, have illustrated precisely the man I so fiercely loved. The sting of the irony is a dagger in my heart. He never shed his honor. He agreed to let me govern the Western lands. He conceded to my terms those many years ago, rather than waging a war that would cost the lives of thousands. And he did so knowing that my revolt was grounded in deceit. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise, I refused to believe him. I believed Ulric’s fabricated tale of my husband’s infidelity. The enormity of my regret regarding this is inexplicable.

Tomorrow, we shall ride and face Jordain once again. My armies are not aware of the information this emissary has revealed. Tomorrow, all shall be unveiled.

On the eve of what will become a day fabled for ages, my mind is at ease.

There is no provider of solace equal to that of the unabridged truth.

Reflecting on the Greats: Drew Karpyshyn

For my second entry in this series, I’ve decided to highlight someone who has had a particular impact on me in terms of inventiveness and imagination. Many of you will likely raise an eyebrow when you see the name of this writer. Yet many of you, particularly those versed in the realm of science fiction, will nod and smile in appreciation of the writer to whom I am tipping a cap.

As so many others in my generation, my recollection of my life involves a series of great stories portrayed in the form of video games. My kin were raised to the liking of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Crash Bandicoot, the list goes on. For me, personally, I always gravitated toward RPGs when it came to my video gaming habits. I suppose, subconsciously, I’ve always had a writer’s heart – as the story was first and foremost the thing that captivated me in my digital endeavors. Call of Duty is fun for awhile, but for me, I need a the intellectual stimulation of a well-written story to hold my attention for longer than a round or two of TDM.

It is for this reason that I’ve chosen to take a knee in honor of Mr. Karpyshyn. For any that are unfamiliar with him, he was a primary writer behind such behemoths as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur’s Gate, and (most importantly for me), the Mass Effect Series. In fact, his work on Mass Effect stemmed into several novels, elaborating on the vastly complex and beautifully-hashed-out science fiction work of art.

If you find time to look into his work, I strongly suggest you do so. The environments he achieves, the motifs that are conveyed, and the sheer quality of his writing is awe-inspiring. As a budding writer myself, I’m compelled to send my deepest appreciation for those such as him for setting such a high bar to which I can aspire.

Brock Keckler: Full Interview

Millennials Making a Difference: Brock Keckler

What is a general description and title of what you do? 

I am the Marketing Director for the Edwards Porter Group Wealth Management. We do financial planning, investment strategies, retirement, 401k plans, life insurance, and estate planning.  My job is to help my firm be the premier financial institution in Wilson County.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Helping people with their financial future. Everyone has to start somewhere and its awesome to make an impact in people’s lives.

What things do you do/have you done to benefit the community?  

I am leading the MJYP [Mt. Juliet Young Professionals]. The Edwards Porter Group is extremely involved with local networking groups and events. We are always open to helping the community in any way.

What made you decide to chair the MJYP?

Joining this firm in my hometown, I wanted to find an additional avenue to help the city. The Young Professional population is growing exponentially in MJ and I want to be someone who gets them connected within the community. MJ is a special place to me and my family, so I want to do my part to help it succeed. As the city gets bigger, this group could be best professionals group in the mid-state.

What events does the MJYP have planned for 2017?

We have speakers lined up for the entire year along with some local tours and social events to promote networking. One thing we are focusing on is getting together at all of the local restaurants for some social time to get to know people outside of the business setting. New people and new connections are the foundation to our city and we look forward to all of the events we have planned for the year!

As always, I like to find out the “why” behind the “what”. Why do you enjoy the aforementioned career choices/extracurricular activities?

I worked for several years for a big corporation and I have seen what it takes to grow a business, and having the opportunity to grow an amazing  local company, in the city I grew up in, is a dream come true. I work with lifelong friendships, to people that just moved here, and I get to share my MJ experience with them. I enjoy playing golf, Basketball in our local rec leagues, and running the trails in providence.  My wife, Michelle, and I are expecting our first son, Carson, in the Spring.  We spend a lot of time at the local events and restaurants. We look forward to raising our family in Mj and helping this community flourish.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please check out some of my other work at How the World Should Work

On the Eve: 6

King Jordain

She knows exactly where my heart lies. Buried deep within that sheath of angst, she knows the truth.

She knows I cannot raise my blade to her. This foolhardy campaign is fueled by her insatiable desire for revenge; her misguided malfeasance. Yet reality continues to elude her. The entirety of her army’s morale rests upon the simple assertion that I, King Jordain, committed the treacherous act for which I was accused. Why choose now to invade – does she wish to reunite East with West? Her accusations, ones which she herself believed to be true, were the very catalyst that ripped these lands apart to begin with.

And now, here I sit with the watchful eye above penetrating my soul. On my honor, woman, nothing occurred between the vice-regent and myself those many years ago. This divisive plot was a meticulously crafted story by that scum of a Hand, Ulric. The same Hand who deceived her, my Queen, for all these years. Slicing his throat was the greatest gift our God could ever bestow upon me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We will hold these lands. God willing, we will reunite.  Jocasta shall at last hear the truth.