PRIME TIME DISCUSSION

If there is one thing that I have learned about over the last few weeks, it is that being a good person does not always equate to being a (financially) successful person. Which is not to say that there isn’t room in the world for more good people, but rather to qualify that the world as we know it may not be in a good place.

Recently, I heard a talk by Cory Doctorow, who is a brilliant guy and very engaged in the world as we know it. The key point that really stuck with me through his talk was this: There is no good or bad in the world, there is only people with leverage and people without leverage. This was backed up by a slew of examples, that included major businesses like Amazon, YouTube, and so on, where the simple number of people using these platforms outweighs any individual power. Think about it. Amazon literally said “oh hey, lets make a day called Amazon Prime Day” and it exploded. That’s a business with leverage that is more powerful than many governments.

And I’m not trying to say that Amazon is all bad or anything. I mean, I use it, my family loves it, and they have done a lot for the various communities, which has allowed many groups to be successful that otherwise never would have been. But it is a bit concerning to me that one business can hold so much power. Especially since they are not transparent. Now, I don’t know that a business should be entirely transparent, just as I don’t know that we as individuals should be. I mean, I certainly don’t wish to be monitored 24/7. That would make me paranoid and probably cause an early death. But at the same time, it frightens me that one of these businesses could be lobbying for changes that damage the core of our values, without us even realizing it. In some cases, it might be that they simply have to not get in the way.

For example, there are plenty of businesses that stood to gain by having Donald Trump elected, but with his unpopular choice of words, they could very easily back Hillary Clinton and publically donate to her campaign, thereby saving face. At worst, she wins and they are on good footing with her because of how much they contributed. At best, Trump gets elected, and suddenly all these regulations, like, I don’t know, the Paris Agreement, go away, and these groups get to maximize their profit by not sticking to emissions standards. Just a hypothetical. But likely one that did occur.

Regardless, it is always good to be keeping an eye out for what is going on in the world, and to see when the number match the public representation a company presents (and when they don’t).

——

 

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THE DINING HALL

“Good afternoon,” a friendly deep voice called to me from down the hallway. The man was a large, aging figure, dressed as a stereotypical butler would be dressed. He even had the covered silver platter balanced carefully in his right hand, which stayed unnervingly still has he sauntered over to me.

“H-hello,” I said back. The butler smiled politely, but I could feel the nervousness in my voice. I had somehow found my way into the house, but could not for the life of me remember how. Actually, calling this place a house was a bit of an understatement. It was more like a mansion from a snobby magazine. The carpets were red with gold, the walls were satin, every painting looked like it had been there since it was originally painted several hundred years ago, and all their frames had the same, faded gold shine to them. There were candles lit down several corridors, and a glimpse of massive rooms could be seen peeking out behind half closed mahogany doors.

Yet the place itself was spotless. There was no hint of dust; no stains, no cracks, no breaks; no unevenness. Everything looked perfect, as though every evening someone went up to make sure everything was in order. Which must take hours, based on the relative size of the place.

I realized my eyes had been wandering for a few moments too long when the butler cleared his throat.

“Sir, I must ask that we make our way to the dining table. The master has been expecting you for a short while now.” He began to turn away to show me the way.

“Expecting…how did I get here?” The butler paused, then turned back to me with a carefully practice patience.

“Sir, please, everything will be explained in due time.” I opened my mouth to respond, but before I could get a word out he had turned his back to me and began walking down the hallway. I fell in step a few feet behind him, my eye fixated on the patterns woven into the fabric. So simple, yet so precisely elegant. We turned a few corners, then passed through one of the large doors to an enormous room. There was a large, fifty foot table in the center, no doubt regularly filled with parties, as there were nearly one hundred placemats set out. Though interestingly, only two chair.

The chair closest to me, which the butler had indicated I should sit at, was a simple wooden chair. It seemed too homely compared to the rest of the house. Almost like they had robbed some poor family of their best chair in the middle of the night. Seated on the other end of the table was a large, black chair, made what looked to be a fine leather material (though from that distance I was not entirely sure). The chair towered over the man inside, who was shadowed mysteriously so that I could not get a clear view of his face. His hair appeared to be short, possibly even blonde, and he held himself like a man used to wielding power.

After I had taken my seat, the butler walked down to speak to who I assumed was the master. He was speaking softly, perhaps asking the master what he wanted to eat. The man waved him away, and the butler turned to walk back to me.

“The master will be dining on lamb tonight. What would you like to eat?” he said in a quiet voice.

“Is there a menu?”

“The menu is whatever you would like it to be. Though I would warn you,” he glanced down the table, “your choice of food will be noted by the master.” I looked down the table, past the perfectly placed candles and table settings, to try to get a read of what I should do.

“I’ll require an appetizer, of the chef’s choice, however it must be served hot and with mozzarella cheese. Then, for the main course, I would like a ribeye steak from a cow slaughtered no more than 3 days ago, cooked with garlic and butter to just above rare, but slightly before medium rare. To pair with it, I would like a merlot from 1950 or earlier, but prior to that I would like a Coca-Cola, from the glass bottle, not a can, served with two spoonfuls of vanilla syrup mixed inside it.”

“Ah sir,” the butler started.

“Is there a problem?” I quipped, trying to appear as regal as possible.

“No sir. I merely wished to ask if you’d like your steak to be twelve ounces, or sixteen.”

“Twenty.” The butler looked at me, then nodded quickly and walked off. I looked down the table to beam at the master, yet he was absentmindedly jotting notes on a pad of paper that had seemingly appeared before him.

——

 

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THE CHERRY TREE

We used to spend our evenings back in the country popping cherries. The sticky, sweet juice ran down the sides of our greedy lips, leaving us like a vampire after finishing his meal. Nights like those were beautiful. The dusty horizon faded from yellow, to orange, to pink, to purple, and finally into the deep blue-blackness that marked bedtime for most people. But for us, it was a secret thing; a special thing.

A cherry tree at the end of the day is a beautiful thing to see. After hours in the field, one certainly works up an appetite. The dirt and grime of the day seeps into the innermost pores of the skin, filling the cracks in our broken skin with a thin layer of powder. To hold the soft, dainty skin of a ripe cherry, taught and firm, between our thick, meaty fingers, was like holding the essence of purity between the fingers of corruption.

The best cherries always sat at the tops of the tree. Perhaps this was because it was late in the seasons, and all the low hanging fruit had been picked by the passersby. But we would spend hours a day there, watching the time shift around us. We would climb up the branches, until there were but little spindles of tree for us to stand on. We would reach out as far as we could, fingers straining to catch a cherry or two, while the rest of our body was stiff; carefully balanced like a tightrope walker. Until finally, in a moment of release, we would have the cherry, pop it in our mouths, and enjoy our prize.

But those days are long gone. The cherry tree was cut down, replaced by a care facility for the elderly. And while I am happy that my father will get the care he deserves (at least, that’s what the facility has promised, once he come to need it), I am still saddened that our liberties as maturing young adults were torn away from our hands. We no longer spend those late nights together, feasting on the pleasures of youth. We simply sit, and watch, and wait for the end of time to bear us a different fruit.

——

 

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I WISH

I wish the stop was as good as the start.

I wish the crop was as good as the carte.

I wish my time was as good as my tits.

I wish my rhyme was as good as the Ritz.

 

I wish the world was a bit more wise.

I wish the pearls were a bit less prized.

I wish my head was a bit more healthy.

I wish the Feds were a bit less filthy.

 

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish,

But in the end I’m just a fish,

Barreling down into a sea

That’s full of bigger fish than me.

——

 

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INTERSECTING PERSPECTIVES

Hello everyone,

 

I have been thinking about perspective quite a bit over the last couple days, mostly after listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” and then the follow up criticism a few of my friends have shared over Facebook. Because there was some division between my interpretation, and the interpretation given in the criticism, I’ve spent all morning pondering which perspective is closer to the mark.

So here’s the divisive lines:

 

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop

Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor

Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks

Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks, ayy

 

Make sure you watch at least this part of the video, so that you have some context for what the imagery displayed was (it’s at 1:43 minutes). What was your perspective on these lyrics? Are they sexist? I mean, an argument against Photoshop, in favor of a natural look isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, it is still telling women how to dress and looks, assuming this addresses women in the first place.

Now that you’ve gathered your thoughts on this set of lines, let me tell you the interpretations I have been struggling with. First of all, there’s the perspective that applies these lines to all women—as in, this is Lamar’s expectation for women, and even if he’s arguing against the mainstream media’s presentation of women, it is still narrow minded and does not actually make a difference. Women should be empowered for whatever decision they make—whether it is being all natural, getting plastic surgery, or whatever—rather than be judged as simply objects by men (and society). This isn’t an unfair assertion. I mean, look at the last line. It directly addresses the “you,” which can pretty safely be assumed to be women, speaking that Lamar is pretty clearly heterosexually inclined.

The other interpretation goes simultaneously less far and further. It stops at “he’s arguing against the mainstream media.” The allusion to Richard Pryor, an old, anti-establishment comedian, as well as the statement about Photoshop, indicates that his first three lines of this segment are perhaps not addressing women, but instead addressing those who portray women. Instead, he asserts that what people care about is the real look of a woman, over the superfluous tendencies the media puts upon them. It isn’t entirely a progressive view, since it does still objectify women to an extent, but it is less “anti-woman” through this perspective than through the previous one.

The video adds a significant amount of depth to the lyrics as well, showing the two faces of a woman—one apparently done up and whitened, in the way the media often prefers, the other lacking make-up, and so on. I’ve chosen to withhold which perspective is mine, and which is from Facebook, because I don’t want my personal perspective swaying you, the reader, one way or another. The irony is that sometimes even the most parallel perspectives will cross lines in the details. That’s what, in many ways, occurs here. But that’s why it is a discussion. Let me know your perspective in the comments!

——

 

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FRIEND ZONED

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Today I wanted to discuss the dreaded “friend zone.” Which is a term I strongly dislike, but at the same time have experienced the feelings that tie to what people often deem “the friend zone.” Before I get into it, in case you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps you don’t really date nowadays), the friend zone is a space in which a love interest of a person does not reciprocate that person’s interests, however both people still want to be friends. I hear this situation come up most commonly where girls tells guys they think of them as a friend, rather than a romantic partner, though that may be simply my experience. I do not hear women talk about being “friend zoned” often at all.

Ok, so I don’t like the term “friend zone” because it dismisses one person’s opinion. I mean, not literally, in the sense that the person in the friend zone is willing to stay there, but it indicates that the relationship is not what that person wants it to be, despite the fact that being friends is what makes the other person comfortable. The friend wants to be able to say to this person “man I’m having problems with a crush,” and not have them say something stupid back, like “well if we went on a date I’d treat you right.” That does not help them. That’s selfish. I think it is reasonable to assume that if they are friends with that person, they probably view that person as a decent human being.

That being said, it is also a reasonable reaction to a situation in this day and age (what, you thought I would just cram my opinion down your throat? Nah, that’s not what we’re here for). Lets think about it. Today is often about being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. If someone doesn’t appreciate something, they should be able to tell that person how they feel. Someone should never feel trapped. There is always the opportunity to leave, but there is not always the opportunity to stay. Let’s take a Hollywood cliché love example. Guy loves girl, girl rejects guy, but he persists until she eventually comes around. I mean, everyone adores Beauty and the Beast, and that’s pretty much how it goes, right? So if this is the rhetoric that everyone hears, then it’s not unreasonable for a guy to be expected to persist, is it? The idea that love follows rejection leads to ignoring rejection. It reduces the “we are not dating” mentality to “we are not dating right now.”

This concept is supported in our culture in all ways. “Don’t give up,” “hard work pays off,” and so on. If a person just tries hard enough, they can be whatever they want. Even happily married. There’s something romantic about crossing a barrier to win over a loved one. Which I think is what the thought process is for those who believe in the friend zone. They think their interest just has not seen the beauty of them yet. Which is a hard thing to disagree with, especially when we aren’t willing to ignore the feelings of others.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT DREAMS

Hello everyone,

 

Today seems like a good day to talk about dreams. If you haven’t noticed, I quite like using dreams as a reference point for my poems. I never have really discussed this with anyone before, so I figured why not give it a shot today?

Dreams are an awesome, beautiful concept—fall asleep for a little while and have your brain entertain you. The irony for me is that I very rarely if ever remember my dreams. When I do, it is in the way most people remember them—fragmented images and broken strings of plot, often blurry around the edges. Yet after twenty-two years of life, I can place what makes a dream so “dreamy” with some amount of ease. The vivid colors, the strangely familiar faces…and so on.

After seeing Get Out, the thriller film about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family (can’t say more than that, you should all go see the film), I think I can also talk about what makes nightmares so terrifying. At least some of them. One recurring one that I hear about is the nightmare where people have lost their voice. Often times, a loved one is in the distance, and something bad is about to happen to them. They call out—only to feel their voice catch in their throat. Try as they might, nothing happens, and they usually wake up in a cold sweat.

The movie took this idea a step farther, showing the conscious mind as trapped inside the subconscious in a “sunken place,” and it’s the core of every nightmare—the feeling of being powerless to do anything. Immobilized, silenced, and trapped. Not a place I would ever want to be. Personally, I think this is typically why I am glad when I cannot remember a dream—because even in dreams we seem to lack some amount of control, don’t we? In A Stroke of Red Ink, a poem I wrote fairly recently, I wrote about a dream that I had. Despite having pleasant factors to it, I still lacked control. Another dream that I remember fondly, is simply about walking through a void of ever changing color. It shifted and morphed, from wispy pinks to grassy greens, all through the color spectrum. I could almost smell the lush of flowers. Yet there was something unsettling about it—the fact that I was at the mercy of these colors. In an instant, they could have changed to a grotesque, bloody red, and suddenly I would have been in a hellish nightmare scape.

I think this is what makes lucid dreaming so appealing to people. All this power, this unchained imagination, reined in and harnessed, is empowering. Can you imagine waving a hand and watching the whole world change in front of you? The wind against your skin as you fly away? Can you imagine the person of your fantasies finally bending to your desires? It’s…well, it’s every person’s dream. What are your experiences with dreaming? Is it about power and control? Let me know!

——

 

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THE FLOWERS OF SUCCESS

Hello everyone,

 

First of all, for those of you who liked The Discovery of the Skyfish, I wanted to let you know that He will be returning next Monday. I have a few ideas I wanted to run with to put those poems together, but today is for some goal setting and schedule building. It’s been nearly a year since I began writing for this blog (in fact, we are just 23 days away from the anniversary, if I have counted right), which is strictly awesome, and I will talk about that more at a later date.

However, I realized that I, as a blogger, have only sort of kept to some of the ideas I have shared throughout my blogging experience this past year. Specifically, I wanted to discuss the schedule of this blog. Over the past year, I have been carefully tracking the data that WordPress keeps for me, and recognized that Fridays are my most popular days. Whether this is because I cemented love poetry pretty much exclusively for Fridays or not is up for debate, but what I realized is that I am not making this something I can track easily. I write somewhat randomly, which is great (I mean, in the sense that I can claim I am channeling “the Muse”), but it also leaves myself and others uncertain about what the next day entails. Do you have the vaguest idea of what I write about on Mondays? I don’t. Is Tuesday going to be something you want to read? Who knows?

One of the major inspirations for me, as a consistent, five day per week blogger, was YouTube. YouTube, you ask? But aren’t they, like, the enemy of written work? Well, yes and no. The visual medium, and the ease of access to it, has pacified many people, which may be why reading is less “popular” today than fifty years ago. Who knows? What YouTube (or rather, many famous YouTubers) did do right, however, was realize people like consistency. Take a look at the vast majority of popular channels. Consistent views, everyday, because they upload new, interesting content every day. Similarly, if any of you are aware of Twitch, the popular streaming service, then you probably have a knowledge of popular streamers. Those who are the most popular stream daily (excluding a few, who are typically members of the community in other ways).

So what does all this have to do with my writing? Well, everything and nothing really. Any expressive medium is a device that is unique to each individual in the same way that all petals are unique to a flower. Both are used to present ones self to a variety of pollinators. While on the surface they may all appear the same, the slightest detail is enough to distinguish between two different individuals. Video and literary art are simply two different species of flower—one with blue petals, one with red. Both still need water to grow. Put less artfully, I’ve taken the success of posting consistently on YouTube, and applied it to my own work. With this in mind, I’ve decided to solidify my schedule a bit more, in order to make it easier for you, the reader, to have an idea of what to expect. Here it is:

 

Monday – Poem/Short Story

Tuesday – “Serious” Topic Discussion

Wednesday – Poem/Short Story

Thursday – Short story

Friday – Love Poem

 

Look at that. Even in my scheduling I have some room for randomness. I have put serious in quotes, because it’s not really supposed to just be “serious” stuff. It could be the terror of the political spectrum, it could be the puppies I saw down the street the other day. Until next time!

– Cassady

——

 

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BAD GUY

I turned on the lights of the cell room. I like to think my cells are more humane than a prison’s, where in the place of bars and that dull gray there are windows and colorful walls. There are books, toys, various forms of entertainment—televisions, gaming systems, and so on…except in the unstable rooms, but that is for their own safety. This particular room was a favorite guest of mine. She’s a rough, robust girl with a fetish for pain, but she’s also classically beautiful. Take a Cinderella and add in a little Suicide Girl, and voila, c’est elle. Though her tattoos are only in places the public won’t see. It is quite fun, but also quite frustrating.

I am all for sexual expression, and having kinks, and what not. That’s all fine. But I do have a line. I do not much like when I walk in on a woman and she’s covered in blood and violent red marks because it “get’s her off.” Elle—you’ll forgive me, I must use a pseudonym for her own safety, relapse is so common, and easily caused by the lustful—but Elle is one of those people, who I stumbled upon completely by accident. Elle was a prostitute I had hired—I’d say escort but let’s not flirt around like I had other plans for her—whom I had asked to please engage in whatever would make her truly aroused, and while she did that I wanted a shower. You can imagine my surprise when, after my warm, relaxing shower, the first bed was covered in blood. She had opened her wrists with a pocketknife—she must have been carrying it. Logical. There are certainly some freaks (like myself, though in a different way) in the business, even for someone as expensive as she was. There was a thick ruler thrown to the side as well, no doubt the cause of her welts. Not a good time.

As you can imagine, dear reader, I was quite put out. I bandaged her up and we talked for a few hours. I convinced her to stay in my room until she was…treated. She is an interesting character. She is polite, well mannered, genuinely kind…but also extremely passionate. Her sex drive is off the charts (literally, I’ve spent years researching the sexuality of even the most driven people, and they pale), which is unfortunate, because it makes the process more difficult for me. I am only human. But enough backstory. Today was a me day…or rather night. I had woken her with the light. She had worn the silk nightgown I had provided her to bed. A good sign. She was standing up—one hand rubbing the sleep from her eyes, the other slumped off to her side. I entered the room, and dimmed the lights. I crossed the room meaningfully.

“Shh, why are you out of bed” I whispered in her ear. As she opened her mouth to speak, I cupped it. Her eyes appeared glazed over, but I could feel her smile behind my hand. She sank back onto the bed, and I knelt with her. I kissed her, once on the lips, then down in the space between her cheek and her chin, then more and more forcefully until I reached her neck. I bit it lightly, carefully running the skin between my teeth, but with enough force to cause her a little pain. She still liked that. I could feel her heart race. Her hands pulled at my shirt (a shame, it was an expensive material too), but just as she was getting it loose, I stood up and thrust her down onto her back. Like I said, today was a me day. I popped the belt buckle I wore, and tore the belt from around my waist. Her eyes flared open with excitement, but I discarded it. I motioned for her to turn around. She pouted. I felt a snarl creep to my nose for a moment, and in a wave of anger I gripped her wrist hard. She smiled wildly, and ragdolled as I spun her to her stomach. She put both arms forward, flat on the bed, and tucked her knees in against her stomach expectantly. I bit the bottom of my inner lip and gripped her torso, beneath the fabric, admiring her hip bones as a lion admires a recently slaughtered zebra. The rest, well, I’m sure you can imagine.

——

 

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