fear, despair, and apathy within the echo chamber

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Photo by Alan Tang on Unsplash

fear, despair, and apathy within the echo chamber

I’m muted snowfall
not a whisper

your dutiful servant
I will comply

you inquire deeper
I offer surface

still, you insist
my voice matters

I demur again
not from shame

I’m muted snowfall
not a whisper

you pontificate, listening
yet never heard
my cries
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #85 – Raising our Poetic Voices, hosted by whimsygizmo. Other poets have contributed here.

Holy Shit! Hey Guys! HEY GUYS!!

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Currently displayed on Tygpress.com. You guys did it!

Well damn! You guys actually did it! I’m impressed. I was going to take my ball and go home, but you folks with your outrage went at this entity with your cease-and-desist and your pitchforks, and they didn’t want any of that smoke!

I know most of you were just as pissed-off as I was, and I’m grateful that you acted on your own senses of justice instead of turtleing like I planed. I am the undeserved benefactor of your righteous actions, and I thank you all. This little guy is grateful that you collection of little guys didn’t take this lying down.

I honestly hope that this the last time I find myself writing about blog harvesting, but I suspect it won’t be. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but for now, let’s get back to our scheduled programming.

Open Letter to My Blogmates

Open Letter to My Blogmates

I’ve learned a lot these past few days. I learned far more about DCMA than I ever wanted to. I also learned that I have wonderful online friends who are incredibly supportive. Well, I knew that last part, but it’s nice being reminded every now and then, like when talk me out of taking a flying lead and nuking my blog from orbit.

Thank you for the support and much needed perspective, trE, msjadeli,  petrujviljoen, iidorun, and Dewin Nefol. Again, I’m not going to fight this because I didn’t get into poetry and creative writing to quibble over someone unethically stealing site traffic. I imagine I’d feel differently if there was evidence of someone actually passing my work off as their own.

I was always leaning towards shuttering my blog, and once it’s time to renew my domain in February, I just may bow out then rather than paying the fee. I’ve got a few months to mull it over. But I won’t let a content thief influence my choices.

Thanks again, and sorry for the melodrama.

Your friend,

Barry

So, yeah, someone is harvesting my content for clicks and kicks, and that’s not really ballin’ to me, so I think this just might be my penultimate entry, folks!

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

So, yeah, someone is harvesting my content for clicks and kicks, and that’s not really ballin’ to me, so I think this just might be my penultimate entry, folks!

“…the moon steals its shine from the sun, and no one ever gets the two confused. Take it as a compliment.” -Art Teacher to Riley, The Boondocks, Season 1 Episode 12, “Riley Wuz Here”

So, yeah, my blog has been harvested without my consent. My online friend who runs the idorun blog was kind enough to notify me.

What does that mean exactly? I’m not entirely sure, but it certainly seems like a type of plagiarism. Go ahead and see for yourself, witness the theft of my hard-earned shine – granted you may be buying the underwear gnomes who run that site another free pair of underpants by clicking the link, but I’m not tripping. The reason will become clear when you continue reading.

My initial response to potentially being plagiarized was a weird sense of pride (“Say, word? My craft is now actually good enough to be stolen from? That’s kinda dope!”) Next, for a moment, I became vexed (“How dare someone steal my intellectual property! I worked long and hard on those navel-gazing ghazals about all those attractive women I wish I had slept with! If anyone should be making money off those self-satisfied missives, it should be me!”)

But the more I thought about it, and the more I learned about it, the less sense it made. It’s never been about the money for me. Sure, I had grand designs as a wide-eyed youngin’, but my learned poetic excursions have been a moderately inexpensive hobby to me.

Let’s discuss my poetic content at face value; For nearly two decades, I’ve been dabbling in online poetry using various media (including a poetry collection I self-published through Lulu). During that nearly-twenty years, my net income from my poetry could pay for a cup of coffee and exactly half-a-haircut.

No one is clamoring to pay for any of my web stuff on the strength of the content, and I get that. But crimes of economics have taught me that people usually steal things for – oh I dunno… some type of profit? If there’s no profit in my words at face value, then where does the profit reside?

My instincts tell me that it must be the site traffic that is somehow fraudulently aggregated to a point where sponsors unwittingly pay the cyberthief a fee for driving clicks their way. Which means that I wasn’t singled-out (I average less than twenty unique views per day; not exactly rolling in Skillshare sponsor dough) but I was harvested along with countless other unwitting blogs.

In fact, if you’re a blogmate of mine hosting your blog on free\public blogs like Blogger or WordPress, chances are high that you’ve been harvested too. Go ahead and check for yourself. Buy those dickheads another pair of undergarments in exchange for knowledge of your own site’s harvesting.

I’m not as special as I thought. Oh well. I’ll get over it.

So I’ve been harvested, and some nefarious entity is probably getting paid in cryptocurrency or some other underwear gnome-economics I don’t know about. Now what? What do I do about it?

Many bloggers are justifiably outraged enough to jump through the hoops of a DCMA takedown. Others have found that the harvesting blog is just an unsophisticated blogroll-type of aggregate that can be foiled by making their copied posts private.

I’m inclined to go another way.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. Perhaps this is the very catalyst I need to shutter this blog for good (as well as my old one over at Blogger). Fighting some damned greedy money-bot trolls over my hobby is not why I got into online poetry. Life is too short, and the absurd time and economics of this make it a non-starter for me.

I will miss the wonderful community we’ve cultivated here, especially my friends at dVerse, Poets United, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, as well as all of my online friends too great in number to mention individually. I haven’t decided on a switch-off date, but it will most likely be fairly soon.

So, what next then?

Well I’ve been flirting with the notion of hiding all my nonsense behind Medium’s $5 monthly paywall. (I have a free presence there right now.) Again, I don’t expect to be swimming in a pool of money over poetry about some naughty dreams I had, but the economics makes more sense to me now. At WordPress, I bought the domains cosmicrubble.com and mylibidowearsatuxedo.com for $100 annually. Well recently, they lowered their price to $60, assumedly to remain competitive with Medium’s plan.

But here’s the rub; while WordPress’s response to intellectual theft is basically “We’ve already got your money, we’re not being robbed directly, we don’t see a problem here, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”, Medium’s paywall won’t allow for some random yokel to do a drive-by smash-n-grab on my shine, ya dig?

Also, if I develop enough traffic, my $5 monthly fee could eventually pay for itself. Imagine having a secure online presence essentially for free. I know this is beginning to sound like an ad, but I have imagined it. This may sound naive or glib, but I don’t want to think about intellectual theft anymore than I have this weekend. I just want to write about my love of my family, life, and words without worrying about someone turning it into a click for free underpants.

A friend once told me that I’m worth more than I give myself credit for. Well actually, several friends have told me this, including my best friend, the Wifey. I think I’m finally starting to understand what they mean.

And I’ll Paint Love Upon You

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Image by bdpeterson from Pixabay 

And I’ll Paint Love Upon You

You see your freckles as
the sun marking you as you age;

I see them as a hybrid game
of connect-the-dots with kisses
and color-by-numbers where

my lips brush skin till filled
with a rosy blush, augmenting
exquisite mixed-medium
masterpiece.

Pucker-up, sweet
sun-kissed canvas.
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #84, hosted by Mish. Other poets have contributed to this prompt here.

What Fresh Hell, This Retention

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What Fresh Hell, This Retention

Frequently, I
find myself
having to keep
looking up
the word
Incel.

Because I
keep forgetting
what it means.

Its meaning,
and in fact,
its very purpose
for existing
freefalls from
my mind
as soon as it enters,
or to be more precise
as soon as it
reenters.

I am actively angry
at having to retain
the memory of
such an ugly,
pointless word,
just so I can keep
apprised of current
unfortunate events.

They could’ve
saved me the trouble,
pain and suffering,
and gone by their
original name.

Losers.
***

For Twilight Comes

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Jupiter, above my backyard, at dusk (Image by author)

For Twilight Comes

The light fades from view, draining sky of its blue
sooner today than yesterday, upon dimming
clouds’ late summer shrug. A youngling’s

paradoxically mature leaves reflect retreating light
greater than majestic firs, but it too will yield
to darkness, youthful promise embraced by

earth’s shade. A confused rooster serenades
our good earth’s face turning away from our day.
He is joined by pampered, overfed dogs,

for the coyote song was forever silenced by
boxy condos where wetlands once came alive
at this hour. After the golden hour became

a greying sliver, the hues bowing-out,
merging with dusk till it is unclear where
one fence ends, and another begins,

all becomes clear and fair as shades of grey
fade to black, leaving only twinkling untouched
overhead, for twilight comes for us equally.
***

Written for Real Toads Weekend Mini Challenge: Let Evening Come, hosted by  Kim M. Russell.

She Would’ve Spun a Splendiferous Anime from This

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Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

She Would’ve Spun a Splendiferous Anime from This

“What are you doing here?” she asked, pulling away.

“Just holding you,” I murmured drowsily, gently pulling her close.

“This is inappropriate,” she protested, squinting. “And what’s with that light?”

“This is only gratitude,” I replied. “Nothing more.”

“Gratitude?” she scoffed. “I don’t even know you.”

“I know,” I said. “And I don’t know you, but thanks to you, I know a thousand words for the color blue, and so I dreamt I was the moon creeping into your window, spooning you, comforting you with borrowed glow of yesterday and tomorrow, coiling your secrets into the crux of my crescent, never to see daylight again.”

“Oh,” she said. “You doing this for all of us?”

“Yes,” I said. “Now shh!”

And after a pregnant silence, she said, “You know we’re all gone now, right?”

“Yes,” I whispered through tears.

“But take this with you.”
***

#HelpKyoaniHeal

This is a tribute to the victims, survivors, and families of the Kyoto Animation Studio arson/mass-murder that claimed the lives of 34 innocent and brilliant artists. I don’t have any more words to convey my grief and sorrow, but if, like me, you ache to flood the void caused by this act of hate with acts of love, contribute to the GoFundMe setup by Sentai Filmworks. Other ways to help can be found here.

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Written for dVerse Prosery #2, hosted by sarahsouthwest. Others contributed to this prompt here.

Also shared at Poets United Poetry Pantry #488.

#HelpKyoaniHeal

Our Temporal Parallax in Indigo

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Photo by Jachan DeVol on Unsplash

Our Temporal Parallax in Indigo

I fantasize about us meeting then
In a fantastic azure-tinted dream
Much younger and separated by when
Brokenness united us seam by seam
We’d fill each other’s empty cups upstream
Before believing lies that lay ahead
Would we have been what we needed instead?
Fate’s retort; refracted blue parallax
Long before our lines of fate had been thread
Laughing, spinning, spooling, mending blue cracks
***

Written for dVerse Poetry Form: Dizain, guest-hosted by Rosemary Nissen- Wade. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

 

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

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Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

One day
the sun
will rise
alone,

radiating light
on not a single tree
nor even a blade of grass,
warming a barren earth for no reptile,
nor bird,

nor even a single bipedal mammal
to bend a knee
in humble worship of Ra’s
once life-bringing magnitudes.

I won’t try to tell you how to feel about that
nor will I implore you to stand up and
do something to slow the inevitability,
for even if we collaborate to stem the tide,
it will happen inevitably.

One day the sun will rise alone,
scorching an already sterilized planet,
eradicating every gaudy man-made
monument to ourselves, and we
just may knowingly accelerate
this unavoidable fate
exponentially.

I won’t tell you to save a world that is
well beyond our combined will to save,

for it seems like hubris to even
entertain the notion of saving a world
from the cosmic nature of its
unavoidable demise;

saving our planet, to me, sounds
as ludicrous as saving our lonely sun
from burning though its
finite supply of hydrogen,
and then its helium,
collapsing into a
cooling carbon cinder
of its once majestic brilliance.

But why won’t you think of saving the sun?
We’re wasting its resources, you know.

Why not warm your house with clean coal
and save some of those precious
hydrogen-fused released photons?

I won’t ask you to do that
because that would be utterly ridiculous
and just speed things along and
I greatly prefer slowing things
as much as those
sensible conservationists,

though I won’t ask you to recycle either,
even though it would be rather kind of you
to join me in doing so.

I won’t tell you
to protest Big Oil
and petroleum products

because the cabinet full of pharmaceuticals
extending my lifespan, health and comfort
would compel me to mock my own hypocrisy.

But our planet is dying and
one day the sun will rise alone.

That was always going to be the case,
though we are helping to speed the process
significantly, and with cosmic indifference
bordering perverse zeal.

I won’t sit here and tell you to
get up and go do something about it.

But do get up
and go do something
for me; stand up

and take inventory
of the beauty and wonders
we’ve all taken for granted
from time to time.

If you’re fortunate enough
to experience the ongoing miracle
of waking tomorrow,

go stand outside and listen
to morning wipe the sleep from her eyes,
unfolding her wings, singing all around you.

If luck favors you with a summer rain shower,
let it soak you to your pores
and breathe deeply,
inhaling her perfume.

Observe regal, billowing,
wispy clouds march overhead
towards the horizon,
dissolving from view,
but still existing in both
mystery and memory.

I’m willing to wager that what you see
may cause you to gasp as you tenuously
grasp at your own insignificance,

and maybe, just maybe,
you may find yourself compelled
to preserve some of these moments
a few moments longer.

It’s not much;
perhaps even too insignificant
to make a sliver of a blip
of a microbe of a difference.

But one day the sun will rise alone.
What will you do until then?
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: On Climate Crisis, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Read other poets’ prompt contributions here.