In my room there is only one picture sitting framed on my dresser, and it is of my Dad and I. As silly as it may sound there is a reason for that. If something ever happened to me. If one day I just don’t wake up I want him to know how much he means to me. My Dad is a tough guy, and sometimes he raised me on tough love. I learned the value of hard work, persistence, and dedication from him. I never saw him cry, never saw him back down from a challenge, never saw him give anything less than his all for my family. Sometimes it’s hard to show your father how much he means to you. My Mother, my sisters, my Grandparents are easy, they know how much I love them, I tell them all the time.It’s easy to show them, but sometimes I am afraid my Dad doesn’t realize he means the world to me too, and that is why his picture is on my dresser. Because I don’t want him to go a day without knowing how much I love him. I wish a happy Fathers Day to all the great Dads out there like mine, teaching the next generation how to be a man.

In the wake of the Elliot Rodgers tragedy and ensuing #yesallwomen movement I have found myself contemplating the way we perceive ourselves and those of the opposite gender. I have read articles, pondered the roles we all play in gender relations, and even made my own comments. I have read things that have made me sigh in exasperation, laugh in absurdity, and I am not afraid to say cry in heartbreak. There have been voices of enlightenment and reason to help me in my own journey of growth, and voices of terrifying ignorance to strengthen my resolve.

What I see mostly though is the urge to take the easy way out. It is not surprising that all of us give in to this temptation from time to time, but if we wish to give rise to progress we must look beyond the easy path.

Some women write articles, share blogs, and seemingly promote an over generalized view of all men as predatory beasts incapable of controlling themselves. In reaction to this many men reply and take a defensive stance pointing out that not all men are like that at all. Unfortunately more is lost in this exchange than is gained.

If we truly desire to make a difference, to fight inequality and injustice, we must fight it wherever it is, and whoever it is against. We must join the battle together, on the same side, unified in a common purpose.

It is easy to over-simplify and generalize. It is easy to lump each other into groups and apply labels. It is easy to issue blame to others. It is easy to coin terms like “rape culture” that add no true value to the discussion and ultimately have the effect of minimizing the responsibility of individuals for their evil actions. It is easy to do all of these things, but none of them bring us closer to equality.

True progress is anything but easy. It requires hard work, persistence, sacrifice, and very importantly understanding.

Understanding to recognize that not all men are rapists, not all men objectify women, not all men are enemies or obstacles in your path. Understanding to know that Elliot Rodgers was a sick and twisted individual, mentally ill and reckless toward all human life. Understanding to realize that the overwhelming majority of men are horrified and angered not just by his actions, but his views as well. Understanding to see that men can be victims too, that we can be traumatized, afraid, shamed. We are not immune to many of the very same struggles and situations that women have to face. Understanding to know that many of us already stand with you, and many more are ready to add our voice to yours. All we ask is that you view is for what we are, allies, individuals with our own thoughts, values and ideals.

As a man I recognize that we must embrace understanding as well. We need to be able to understand where a woman is coming from when she says that she lives in fear. We need to be able to put ourselves in their shoes to the best of our ability. We need to understand that she does know that most men are not rapists, even if she posts literature claiming that all men are the same. We need to understand that they do not mean to attack and provoke us, even if that is how we perceive it. We need to understand that there are places where hatred, violence, and abuse towards women IS rampant. We need to understand that even in our neighborhoods and communities female victimization is a problem and is more prevalent that many of us realize. We need to understand that we add more to the conversation by focusing on the points where we agree than those where we differ. We need to understand that this is not just a debate to be won, it is a real issue with real and lasting impacts on the lives of billions. We need to understand that it is imperative to all of us, man or woman to stand against injustice in all forms.

If there was one thing I would wish to impress upon others it is that we are all the same. We are all equally worthy and deserving of love and respect regardless of sex, race, nationality, religion, or any other superficial “difference” by which we perceive ourselves. If we were all to live our lives by the Golden Rule (treat others as you would have them treat you) we would need no other law or rule to live in a society of peace, justice, and equality.
If we could just teach ourselves to think and view the world empathically we could avoid all of the destructive philosophies and actions that cloud the world with pain and anger. We are all human and it is not as simple as it sounds. Like anything worthwhile it will not be easy. We are impatient, envious, we lose our tempers and make mistakes. We will never be perfect, as individuals or as a society. However it will be infinitely worth every moment of inner conflict to do what we can to strive for a mindset that sees the commonality between us all. We can move beyond the labels, stereotypes, and blame. We can climb so much higher if we leave the “Us vs. Them” dichotomy and work together to give everyone a brighter tomorrow.

So number one, Reading Rainbow was not cancelled because it was not effective. Reading Rainbow was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was [cancelled] due to No Child Left Behind. That government policy made a choice between teaching the rudiments of reading and fostering a love of reading. So the idea that I am trying to somehow revive a failed endeavor is bullshit. That’s right. I said it. Bullshit.
LeVar Burton (via franfinethesecond)

Reading Rainbow was perhaps (and I am not exaggerating) the most influential television show of my life.

The Odyssey of Sleep

I became a thin pale horse

A roaming cloud, a shambling corpse

I walked the world a branded Cain

Bitter drops of phosphor rain

The stifled flames within my touch

Promethean planes of articulate hush

Gas lamps and refuse in empty streets

The thieves and the liars and beggars one meets

Crumbling buildings, and rusted-out hulls

Dead fish washed up and picked at by gulls

Ancient, proud, forests rescinded to ash

The trees are matchsticks they burn as they slash

Blood washes out from mines full of stones

Left there to rot are bags full of bones

Caked with black dust and lungs full of tar

Or clutching at carbon–cut shimmers like stars

I became a long black noose

The rabid dogs of war turned loose

And in the fibers of my thread

I saw a city of the dead

Children framed in bullets and blood

Soldiers sleeping in torrents of mud

The people milling in anger and fear

No more civil than arrow and spear

Prophets quaking ‘neath heavens aghast

No dreams for tomorrow, no hope we will last

Bodies lay lifeless polluted by fools

Violent skies spread over long-empty schools

It’s a crosshair or crucifix they stick to your neck

And neither will give you just what you expect


I became a light blue egg

Nestled in a darkened crag

And as I lay there still and sad

I saw a future we could have had

Stands of Sequoia swimming in clouds

Mothers and sisters dancing in crowds

Silver slicked streams of mountain snow melt

Otters and herons, in the creeks where they dwelt

Shining bright jewels of aquamarine

The Great Lakes refracting like pools of a dream

Meadows and fields laid out like a map

Jasmine and lilac creep in as I nap

Pastures crowned in golden sun

Glazed in dew the fence posts run

This ample curve of tan dirt road

The air of grass just freshly mowed

I call out into the light as it rests

In eventide Evlyn sits and she jests

Upon a soft blanket, I crack a faint smile

Her eyes are all I see for miles and miles



Ode To The Moon

Master of Ceremonies

Jubilant and autumn

Maestro of tides

Powerful and profound

Your soft halo

Your beaming face

Your motionless elegance

New, full, crescent - waxing gibbous

Singer of harvest

Full-bodied butter crème

Amber falcate horns of a bull

Red apple clinging to invisible branches

Bold yellow gourd ripe with abundance

Orange orator of long-lost tradition

Plump pumpkin, turn extravagant carriage

To usher me home through the murky hollow

Endless beacon of constant change

Shifting phases but always remaining

Waxing and waning with calendar’s passage

Your mountains and seas come meeting each other

Your gaze glazing windows

And lighting the meadows

Defining and combining

With elongating shadows

Your voice joining harmony

With the sing-song of crickets

Your duty bound trek

Across light waves and radios

Honor compelled to walk without question

The course plotted for you

By mad men and clinicians

Laws of gravity, reality, and motion

Silver-white maiden of crystalline winter

Bright with unconditional affection

Snowfall and sleet your cold tears of longing

Through all the long and tortuous nights

Seraphim sweep your lonely veil

I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don’t understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion.
Brian Michael Bendis, dropping truth bombs in an interview with Vulture (via brynnasaurus)

Damn Right

Smooth, black hulk
Slicked with rain
Or warm with passing sun
Leaves are gone
Dead on ground
Moss grows thick where beams oft rest
Kissed by ferns
Or capped in snow
The sleeping behemoth lies
Little more than dust will grace his skin
Little more than rot will hold his limbs
Roots are torn from clay and Earth
He makes no sound in absence of ears

These Words

Are these words blood, cut loose from a vein?
Pumped through these limbs by this heart in my chest
Surging and alive with each passing beat
Bubbling, enriched by each parting breath

Are they impulses broadcast from high in my brain?
Silver bits of lightning in a sea of black clouds
Fireworks dancing the ridge of my spine
Dispersed in a pulse and the twist of a wrist

They are fire stoked high and infinitely bright
Invisible with heroes and martyrs imagined
The shapeshifting worlds and forms of an engine
The heat of the soul is the forge of creation

All I Can Do

All I can see are the letters she scrawls
As the flickering glow of candlelight falls
All I can see are shadows on walls
While the empty cold darkness achingly calls

All I can hear is the slow drift of snow
The faint beat of hearts, lonesome and low
All I can hear is the wind howl and blow
The bare, bitter silence of letting her go

All I can smell is the stiff morning chill
The scent of black ice on grey window sill
All I can smell is the air thin and still
The motionless rot and erosion of will

All I can taste is sea salt and rain
Boiling up pure from portals in pain
All I can taste are spirits of grain
The raw smack of hope circling the drain

All I can feel are her eyes open wide
Tide-blue, denied, the windows inside
All I can feel are these anchors I’ve tied
Dragging down all but the flame of my pride

All I can do is put pen to this page
Bite at the bullet -switch- disengage
All I can do is swallow my rage
Bid thee farewell, exit the stage

Ode to America

America, standing proud
Tall as Denali, silver capped
Eyes as wide as plains of grain
Your apples gold and red and green
Your smile sun from waxing day

Your frown a Trail of Tears
Your breath a rolling thunder boom
Sirens in the purple gloom
America with blood of mud
Not blue or red, nor white
But Mississippi black and thick
With bourbon swagger and sweat-soaked vigor
Scaly-hide and seek and destroy

Your Rocky Spine
Your tightened belt, your cinched off waist
Bastard daughter of a lion’s womb
With pride to soar on eagles wings
With slings and arrows, rocks and bullets
Scarred with lead and growing pains
Never could you narrow the names
Or the words spoken to your mossy ear
The curves of your roads, the crest of your heavens
Bottomless milk and maize
Your Appalachian hips
Seductive in their gentle sigh
Silhouette to naked orange horizon

Tear ducts of Columbia, Snake, and Niagara
Spilling ingloriously in blind-folded night
Over lost eggs and soup bones
Sleeping hearts and walking bombs
Wild dogs howling alone in the deep