Dear Sleep, Bring on the dreaming.

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2011


"Insomnia" artist unknown from
Insomnia. For a year, now, I've become rather familiar with this bastard companion. I've spent whole nights lying awake, turning from side to side in a desperate effort to sleep. Books move from my nightstand, to my hand and back again. Sometimes the pen will find a way to scrawl words in that half awake, half mindless state. So close to sleep, yet unattainable.

The whole world seems to make its way through my thoughts while I lie there, eyes wide, staring into nothing. And all the words I searched for earlier in the evening come spewing forth. All I want to do is sleep. I don't want to write the poem. But my brain has other plans.

When I was young, I can remember lying awake for hours constructing richly detailed stories in the darkness. High-speed car races twisting around curves, tires screeching. White knuckled and high on adrenaline. Hitting home runs out of Fenway or Yankee stadium along greats like Mickey. Getting the girl who sauntered down the halls of my high school, unattainable to me for whatever reason. Eventually, I'd sink into the mattress wrapped in a world of ethereal thoughts.
That, however, was childhood. When energy was abundant and worries were few. Now, instead of concocting  fiction, I wrestle with reality. Sometimes the reality seems more unbelievable than the fiction.

What really has me worried is wondering whether or not this is simply an unfortunate phase or if this will continue on throughout the rest of my days. I suppose, either way, it's something I've got to face. On that same thought, it may be a way for my own restless mind to force me to confront those things I'd rather not.

Dear sleep, bring on the dreaming.

If anyone happens to know the artist of the first photo,
please let me know in the comments.

The writer's harvest comes in winter

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2011


“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, 
what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
~Joan Didion
Writing has been a bit of a difficult task for me this past year. It's not that I haven't any material from which to cultivate words and scrawl them across the pages, but every word, it seems, has been stubbornly yanked from stone like a sword. When I finally do come to pull them out, they've become deformed and ugly. Useless. Or, seemingly so.

The words have not ripened. They're still growing within the fields of thoughts sprawling through my mind. I've spent the year gazing over the endless acres of memories. Taking a broad look. Watching the growth. Now, as the year ends and the snows near, it's time to look closer.

Now, I'll look at the pebble and not the mountain. Trace its subtle curves and grooves.  I'll gaze into the puddle, not the storm, and watch each drop of rain expand through ripples. Concentrate on the minute and not the hour. It's time to focus in on the details. Harvest my words and prepare them with great care.

Pages turn as I catch up on my reading. Patience sets in while I wait for submission responses. And my pen, my typer and the keys of my laptop begin to chisel away at the granite. It's time to sit before the blank, white expanses of what could be and create. Time to roll up my sleeves like Hamsun's Isak, dig in and bleed.


The lake of reason ripples; Hitchens gone at 62

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, December 16, 2011


“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

Christopher Hitchens, a voice of reason and advocate of free thought, passed away at the age of 62 on Thursday after a battle with cancer. An extraordinary writer, exquisite speaker and thought-provoking man, Hitchens leaves this world with less like him when we desperately need more.

Hitchens was a man who asked you to think. Who made you challenge your deepest beliefs. We, as humans, have the extraordinary ability to question and philosophize. To use our minds and reason to understand the world around us instead of falling into ignorance.

When I read a Hitchens piece, I find myself exploring my own thought patterns. Asking myself questions that I had never asked before. While I didn't always agree with what he said, Hitchens' work always came through honest and sincere. I respect that, in writing, more than anything.

He didn't try to beat a new way of thinking into your skull with no supporting argument. Hitchens painted a mural and asked you to actively partake in it. To ask him as many questions as he was asking you and to deduce your own conclusion.

What people should learn from Hitchens and what they should remember is not how controversial he was, but how we all should question our world. That we should use our minds to explore and ponder. That only through the exchange of ideas and thought, not bullets and bombs, will we understand one another as one human race and not multiple, feuding teams.

And we should always remember that, as Hitchens' words speak above, life is to be lived intensely and fully. There are no second chances. This single clock is all we're given and, when it winds down, it is over.

Pick up a book from Hitchens and read it. You don't have to agree with him. You don't have to like him. You just have to think. 

Photo by John Huba, Vanity Fair

Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011

Keep our internet and speech free; Strike down SOPA.

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2011


████ is █████████, ██████. ████ █████ ████. You ████ to see ████ ████ █████████ █████ ████ in ███████ and not the ████████████ █████ ███████ of ████? If not, ████, █████ and █████ ████ ███████████ and █████. Don't let ████ ████. ████ our ████████ and ██████ ████.

Uncensor This

The Wolves are Feeding the Sheep: My rant on SOPA

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2011

Since the election of Barack Obama, the words socialism, communism, fascism and various other terms have been thrown around by fear-mongers and the Right to frighten the populace into believing that we are one step away from concentration camps and Riefenstahl films.

Although this is hardly the case, an alarming amount of citizens believe it to be true whether they understand what socialism or communism is or not. It's an incredible feat of trickery, then, when those who scream communism and socialism, in an effort to preserve our American ways, come to support dangerous legislation that could and would bring the United States closer to the realization of such government.

One bill, H.R. 3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), being pushed by both Republican and Democratic members as well as media giants like NBC and affiliates, Rupert Murdoch behemoth News Corporation (which includes FOX News and 21st Century Fox), and virtually any company tied to Hollywood and the like, threatens to strangle the internet in censorship much like communist-controlled China where what you see online is strictly controlled by government.

SOPA supporters say that the bill will allow law enforcement to better combat "rogue sites" engaging in Intellectual Property Theft, which they claim costs the U.S. between $100 billion, by conservative reports, and $200 billion a year. The bill would allow sites to be blacklisted and blocked using practices such as DNS blocking if they were found in violation of the law.

Stopping illegal copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods from "rogue" sites may be the overall intentions of the bill, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith  (R-Tex.), but H.R. 3261 is written so broadly that negative repercussions, internet censorship and Free Speech infringements are inevitable. 

Even now, media corporations are pressuring affiliates and anyone associated with them to stay away from the discussion and support the measure. Television outlets are barely mentioning the bill or any of its problems. You can rest assured you wont find any negative commentary, if any, about the bill coming from FOX news and their "fair and balanced" [sic] reporting, but you wont find much on MSNBC, CNN or anywhere else, either.

Assück's "Blind Spot" cover.
What does this all mean for the average internet user? It means that the possibility of sites like YouTube and Facebook facing private legal action and, in accordance with the bill, being blocked through your ISP or nationally is very real. And those two are media giants in the online world. Smaller sites, blogs and personal sites could also face censorship or be blacked out completely. 

Imagine being fined for embedding a YouTube video on your blog. Or maybe something like the Occupy movement would have never happened, a movement largely organized and orchestrated using the internet. 

Smith claims that this will not be the case, however. That his bill is solely aimed at combating and eliminating internet piracy. He even goes so far as to compare internet piracy to child pornography in the National Review, another great shock-inducing tactic perpetrated as a means to scare up support for the bill.

The fact remains that this bill is dangerously written. That the possibility of a communist-like internet is very real if H.R. 3261 were to be passed. It is broad, held up by shaky arguments, and an actual threat to Constitutional rights. While pundits and members of government are trying to frighten you into the belief that you're living in a communist-led, socialistic, Marxist society, they're marching in secrecy to try and push laws through that will actually lead us there. 

They're playing you for fools. And some of you aren't seeing it.

A new bill, called the OPEN Act, will be introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa to combat the dangerous aspects of SOPA. The OPEN Act is described as targeting financial flow to piracy outlets rather than targeting and censoring any portions of the internet. SOPA is an "overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective," said Wyden

Whether or not the OPEN Act will be a much more reasonable and Constitutional alternative to SOPA remains to be seen, but at least the opposition towards SOPA is growing.

Keep an eye on all of this and contact your representatives to say NO to SOPA. There are a myriad of sites which help you contact your reps if you are too busy to find their email or telephone information.

Articles Referenced:

In the works

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, December 03, 2011


It's been quiet for me as far as writing goes. Publicly, anyway. Between long work hours and various other projects, I haven't taken part in a reading since summer. But the pen keeps moving. Fingers keep clacking away. I've been working on new poetry and tackling bigger projects as well as diving back into photography.

Winter always seems to get me writing more, though. While the molasses slows, my words quicken. I've got to do something with my time cooped up indoors. Something tells me I'd more than likely begin emulating Jack Torrance without writing. Then again, he was a writer. Maybe it's innevitable.

This winter I've been invited to trudge from the confines of my home and release my words before an audience.

Prose in Pubs, brainstormed and created by fellow writer Amye Archer, has been, in my opinion, the best ongoing literary event in the northeast Pennsylvania region for the better part of a year. Amye has consistently showcased local writers from around the NEPA region who's talent never ceases to amaze me. And, for the last handful of Prose in Pubs, she has begun adding one national act to the mix.

Prose in Pubs is a no frills event. Sans-microphone, even. Couple that with the incredible venue which is Jack's Draft House and you end up with a laid-back, thought-provoking beautiful night.

In January, I'll be joining Gale Martin, Dawn Colangelo Leas and Laura E.J. Moran for 2012's first Prose in Pubs. It promises to be an incredible night, as every PiP tends to be. So, when you've got nothing to do on a cold (if the weather ever decides to match the season) January night, come out to Jack's on the 22nd to join us for a drink and some words.

- You can find more information about Prose in Pubs by visiting the Facebook page here.
- Visit Dawn Leas's site here.
- Visit Gale Martin's blog here.
- Visit Laura E.J. Moran's site here.

Watch Jason Carney's performance during October's PiP. 

A shivering sun

Posted by Unknown | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011


December. After a week of unseasonably warm weather, it begins with a chilling frost. The icing of winter. Even the sun seems to shiver in the sky with promises of warmth. I can watch my breath form around my words as I speak. The year is slowing to a crawl. Trembling while a gravedigger breaks ground.

With the new year closing in, many things have been running through my mind. The holiday season is a time of interaction, not only with family, friends and disgruntled shoppers, but with thoughts and memories of the year passed.

I look at the soles of my boots to see where I've been. Toward the mountains to see where I'm headed. I never look too far ahead anymore, though. One lesson I'm walking away with this year is that the future is never guaranteed. Right now, where my feet stand, is the only moment promised. And even that can be fleeting.

I've been remembering back further and further to past holidays. Joyful and miserable. Times spent in the company of family or good people. Times spent alone. Times spent grieving.

All of the memories have a way of  whittling down the excess of the season leaving me with a clearer view of the core. Instead of seeking shinning wrapping paper and disposable like I did as a child, I look for a smile. A laugh. Warmth.

During winter, moments seem to hang suspended like photographs. Maybe we all just slow to take it in. Remember it better. Etch the seconds into our mind to relive time and time again.

Here's to another year. Here's to experience. Here's to life.

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer”
~Albert Camus