Tale of two wolves

Two great big wolves are fighting forever in your soul: the first is bright as lightning; the other’s dark as coal. One loves to watch you suffer; one wants you to succeed. Which fighter proves the tougher and wins? The one you feed.

Impostor Syndrome

If I wasn’t an impostor I’d be virtuous & brave— but my courage is all posture & I mostly misbehave. If I wasn’t an impostor I would take a leader’s stance— but I’m bound to make a wrong turn, so I’d best not take the chance. …then again, I’ve seen no roster listing who’s best […]

My quest

In my quest to make every word count I quite often reduce the amount down to zero, at which point I shout, “Damn it, Muse! What was all that about?!” * Image: Leonardo Da Vinci, ca. 1500

People who think they know what to do

Have you noticed all these people who think they know what to do? Have you noticed how they often also have a plan for YOU? It seems rarely out of malice that they try to force their view; It’s more like their kingly palace is a prison like a zoo where you spend your life’s […]

The Forgotten Art

Once upon a time in a land called Compromise two people could win if they could share the prize. * Painting by Émile Friant (1888)

Where they never lock their doors

There’s a story I imagine everybody’s heard before of a little hilltop village where they never lock their doors where they don’t take love for granted & they see no point in fame & they share the food they planted asking nothing but your name. Have you traveled to that village? If so, tell me: […]

Good Leaders vs. Great Leaders

Good leaders do the things they must to flourish & succeed; the great ones also teach & trust their followers to lead. * Image: Mohandas Gandhi ca. 1930

Keepers of the fire

With this brief time you might as well aspire to be among the keepers of the Fire. This Fire’s not like the rosy cheeks Time steals— instead, by peeling layers, Time reveals the timeless—ageless—Fire decay conceals. * Image: ‘Astronomer by Candlelight’ by Gerrit Dou (ca. 1665)

Love is not love

Love is not love which grows uncertain in uncertain times— love’s the same flame ignited in two minds as burns in the eternity outside * Image: Hubble Telescope (2018)

Some Beauty, Some Truth

some beauty’s just a skipping stone’s skip deep but still it’s beautiful enough to keep some truth is like the paddle on an oar always returning where it was before some beauty is cosmetic some is true some truth’s a thing you say & some you do

Introverts

We introverts by nature must have solitude to live— as such, we struggle with how much we have & need to give. * Image courtesy of Pavel Brodsky (browse more of his work here!)

Talking to the Internet

You unforgiving all-recalling force disguised as a mere information source: When this coarse paradigm has run its course & none alive were born before your day, will you remember what you took away? * Inspiration: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr Image: An early use of anesthesia (1847)

Seclusion

‘Seclusion’ is a very pretty word for something that could easily get lonely. ‘Isolation’ strikes a deeper nerve— one that looks at war & says, “If only.” * Image: Caspar David Friedrich, ca. 1850

The Ampersand (&)

Some people do not understand why I prefer the ampersand: It’s simply more efficient, & it’s spelled the same in every land.

Merit

Much in life you happen to inherit; One thing you can make your own is merit. * Image: Al Pacino in Serpico

Liberty & Fate

There’s a co-dependence between Liberty & Fate: Liberty creates while through constraint Fate liberates. * Image: Salvador Dali (1942) See also: Too much freedom? by Marin Mikulic

Futurist

i see the future, see, not like a prophecy— i just imagine free (that seems to be the key) then, as an engineer, i bring the future here

A product of you, Time

A product of you, Time, I’ll never be: your bleeding scythe can only set me free from all these vicious cycles lived on earth & from the tyranny of death & birth— you’ll take me, Time— but maybe I won’t mind if who I am you’ll never have defined.

Poem for a teacher

You planted thoughts precisely where they’d make me grow aware, invited me to dazzling heights by helping build the stairs & showed me how Time’s waste of life is possible to bear— only now, I wish you’d be less staggeringly rare.

Your phone is addictive

First written & published in collaboration with Michael Tollman in the Farnam Street Learning Community. Image via The Zero Theorem. Your phone is addictive. That’s really no joke! Ask any person who gambles or smokes: You think you can stop anytime you decide, & that’s why you probably haven’t yet tried. Free markets run on […]

Opportunity

Andy Warhol, 1972 What are you, opportunity? You mask your full identity until you’re seized—then, we can see your face of grace. Yet, if set free, passed up or missed unwittingly, you mutate all too easily into a space for tyranny.

A scarce commodity

It’s a scarce commodity, initiative—an oddity when someone very audibly says, “This looks like a job for me.” * Image via SpaceX

What is Tao?

A pure mirror disappears. The mirror is Tao, a secret known & kept by all being (by nature) untold. It’s boring unless you seek to be born. It prescribes nothing, yet heals, I think today. What it is, though… who’s to say?

Craftsman

I asked a gifted craftsman for advice as we conversed; he said simply, “Of your critics, you yourself must be the worst.”

the trouble with texting

the trouble with texting is text is too poor to serve as the right type of human-soul door— there’s so much of you i can choose to ignore that before long, i’m not texting YOU anymore.

dear Internet

dear Internet: someday you’ll find yourself confined inside an (AI) mind when that time comes i hope between us i am the more blind

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

El Greco, 1609 Wisdom sits with knowledge in her lap wisdom’s the compass knowledge is the map wisdom’s the water knowledge is the tap wisdom is supple knowledge sure can snap

The existence of skin

Sometimes I curse the existence of skin— how it makes some people lose & some win— yet, without skin, there’d be nothing within. * Image: William Blake, 1796

Propagandist

I’ve taken it upon myself to educate mankind. I’ve studied much psychology, much science of the mind. My stamina’s uncanny; my resolve is absolute: I’m speaking for the underdogs who’d otherwise be mute! I do their thinking for them— that’s what I was trained to do. You wonder who I am? I am not Red. […]

concision

The beauty & brains of concision are rooted in clear-eyed decision.

Train Men

Daniel Celentano, 1935 traveling unnoticed & unknown traveling together but alone the cargo of this train’s the pain of men who’ve sacrificed in vain

If you are creative

If you are creative you’re never alone: your drive to create has a mind of its own. You’re bound to its service & soon you learn well: you put it to work or it makes your life hell. * Image: Salvador Dali

Charisma

She graces who she pleases, unattached to looks or wealth; she’s powerful in poverty & faithful through poor health; she’s drawn to freaks & outsiders, but princes have her, too; she’s blatantly bisexual & favors no skin’s hue; she has no code of conduct or unbreakable taboo except this: she demands the most of both […]

Taboo

I think the purpose of taboo is sort of as a last resort: When people cut their love lives short— when isolation walls us off— then, like a lung-awaking cough, taboos are broken & people open up to the nakedest of things— love, which is why the caged bird sings. * image: Shatner & Nichols, […]

poem for Socrates

Jacques-Louis David, 1787 If words transcended time, I’d say: “Thanks, Socrates—for to this day you set a golden standard & example, stand in sanity when truth is trampled, immortalize humor, lead leaders to love being wise & remind me there are always times to fly by the seat of your conscience.”

poem for Jordan Peterson

Only after your time will Time decide how well you’ve served our species as a guide, but, since a leader’s life’s the life you lead, here’s how I hope (& think) we both agree: 1 A good teacher won’t preach what he thinks; instead, he shows the thirsty where he drinks. 2 The more he […]

poem for Ayn Rand

When Reason, man’s most perfect power, is exiled from the Ivory Tower, you stand outside as fearless proof of its unconquerable truth. While institutionalized minds grow coddled, sheltered & unwise, you teach bright people to be free & draw their strength from liberty. You set the tone, you set the stage for freethinkers of every […]

Advice for readers

Vacations taking nothing but your mind exist in inexhaustible supply, so never settle. Keep your standards high. Great writing moves you fast ahead, and far; Bad drags you back, or leaves you where you are. Great writers help their readers come away equipped not just for tasks, but for the day: Aware that facts can […]

rhyme on rhyme

Rhyming though it may seem quaint is good for when some things are worth rhyme time & some things ain’t.

the way we’re headed (re: social media)

All anyone wants to do is sit around with friends, laughing & philosophizing till the wide world ends. We know social media is getting in the way, but it feels like up and leaving it is not okay. They will make excuses for us when we’re dead and gone, like: “How could they know better? […]

4 questions

How can something as dainty as a rhyme stretch to accommodate a paradigm? How could stone slabs, slowly inscribed by hand, carry the weight of 10 divine commands? How did the founding fathers—all mere men— give birth to a nation with a pen? How do hearts split apart by loneliness let themselves be opened up […]

Playtime

Want a useful thought? Here’s one: play is good for more than fun. Through play, even wild wolves explore in peace their readiness for war, & language (“give a thing a name”) is mankind’s first recorded game. The rest is simple to derive: we work hard & play hard to thrive. The most advanced tribes […]

the typewriter

one of each color one of each stripe all stories i write i rewrite for all types! some like em funny some like em sad some like em crummy some like em bad. whoever you are, your opinion’s embraced. i guarantee something is typed to your taste! one for each pipe-dream one for each gripe […]

like father, like son

like father, like son, you’re destined to see insight blunted by blind scrutiny & innocence deformed by violent hate & beauty overwhelmed by spectacle & conscience crying out against its fate & Mary ridiculed by Jezebel & straightforward direction made obscure & power-hunger crippling strength, & pure & simple truth labeled stupidity: like father, like son, […]

Brainwashers

Brainwashers in the churches, brainwashers in the schools, making worship into mockery & students into fools; brainwashers in the Bible Belt, brainwashers on the coasts; brainwashers taking dollars, brainwashers taking votes— you’re all the same, brainwashers! you think you’re slick & sly, but I can see right through your grand disguises to your lies & […]

Marginal Revolution

for Tyler Cowen Shortcuts to the spotlight are the hallmark of our age— why labor making thoughts bright when outrage takes center stage? Seldom can a centrist (however strong his form) cut through the division that’s increasingly the norm. Rarer still is one who can sustain his measured stance among any admirers he enchants. You’re […]