$99,969.50

Excuses
No money, no time
Overwhelmed by “Poverty Porn”
Exploiting the very people they’re “helping”
Giving to charity is complicated

Advertisements
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. All free
Makes money you don’t see being taken
Nothing new. Television, radio, newspaper
Look at Super Bowl commercials

Tabs
Use a computer, open a tab
Easiest way to get it done
Probably have five open now
No cost, no thought

Cause
Believe in something
Give it your heart, or hearts
Money you don’t see being given
Goes to where it’s needed

Beauty
Bonus gift for so little effort
Our world, seen through active lenses
Smiling faces of changed lives
Peaceful transitions between every next step

$99,969.50
Start of this poem, amount raised
No excuses, just advertisements
Furnished by Tab for a Cause
To create beauty that by poem’s end

Is now $101,498.64


Tab for a Cause is a wonderfully brilliant way to give to charities you care about without actually spending any money. It harnesses the current big money maker of the internet- advertisements, without being intrusive about it.

You install it one time and then every time you open a new tab you are shown a picture (usually a beauty shot of our world, the environment, or the people being helped by TfaC charities). Each tab generates money for these charities.

You earn hearts by opening tabs, and can donate them to the charities of your choice, ensuring the money you generate goes to causes you care about.

It’s an amazing program and I can’t think of much reason not to do it. Check it out here. If you want to see where the money is going, they provide quarterly reports (like this one for the end of 2014).

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To the Man I Met Yesterday

I apologize for the title
Because, though it refers to you as you choose to be,
It does not take into consideration the complexity
Of a life not lived on the edge, not measured by the boxes
But by the contents, an infinite number of definitions
Which, while better for us as humans, makes more trouble
For writers than it does for casual conversationalists
Because it is nowhere near as hard
To say “Your friend asked me to go to the store, but I
forgot what they wanted” as it is
To write a poem
Titled
“To the biologically female
physiologically transitioned, sociologically male
psychologically comfortable, spiritually
aware, fashionally uninhibited, Patriot-accented
beautiful-hearted, horror-surviving
unapologetic apologist soul
I had the pleasure of glimpsing
yesterday.”

Hypnogogic Jerk

This evening’s lullaby
Everyone’s a critic
X for x’s sake

Sleep with one eye open
Memorize the patterns, sounds in the metal walls
Bang, ba-bang, clank: guard making his rounds
Bang, boom, scuffle: a new resident, learning the way of things
Schiff, bang, thunk: an old hand, giving up
So long as it’s not… Clang, clank, slam
You can still sleep with one eye open

Dream with one hand in the cookie jar
Learn the language of subtext, meaning behind the lies
We really want to work with you: you are good for our reputation
You have a real talent: as long as people keep buying, we’ll keep selling
What’s your vision for this project: we need you to think you matter
So long as it’s not… Let’s try a new direction
You can still dream with one hand in the cookie jar

Create with one foot on the ground
Recognize the warning thoughts, signs you’re losing you
It’s hard to explain: you don’t see all the hard work
I want to be true to my passion: I don’t know what is inside, but it needs to come out
No one knows who I am: I’m not sure I’m showing my true self
So long as it’s not… I deserve to be known
You can still create with one foot on the ground

This morning’s wake up song
Let’s try a new direction
Clang, clank, slam

Note: While I didn’t want to say so before the poem, this piece is a reaction to some great advice about the writing and the creative process that I have picked up from people like Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Chuck Wendig, and Maureen Johnson.

I like to show all my poems to someone who is not a big fan of poetry to get their thoughts. This time, the reaction was “I have a feeling this is depressing but I don’t know why.” I think this is an excellent way to sum up something all artists and creators go through in regard to their own work.

I pointed out that the poem is depressing because it’s about trying to create in a world, a context, that’s not always conducive to creativity. But, I continued, it’s also hopeful. Each scenario has a “So long as it’s not”: a thing that makes it less survivable. The hope of the poem lies in which of these lines is missing from the last verse.

The only one of these “So long as it’s not”s that can truly stop you is an internal one.

It’s something you can control.

Reaction to TSWGO

Chances are you’ve heard of The Fault in Our Stars. The book was #1 on the NYT bestseller list for seven consecutive weeks and the movie grossed over $266 million worldwide. Also, it was advertised practically everywhere in the States.

It’s less likely you’ve read, or even heard of, the book by the girl to whom The Fault in Our Stars is dedicated.

While I love TFIOS and have already written poems about the many things its author, John Green, has done, I wanted to shine a spotlight on the story that in many ways allowed TFIOS to exist- the story of Esther Earl.

This Star Won’t Go Out

I first heard of her in a YouTube video
I know, cliché
More so when it wasn’t even her own

In the video, a man told his story of meeting her
A man who himself inspired hundreds of thousands
Inspired by a teenage girl to write a story
While not being completely hers
Was much less his
And that was the important part

But the story I’m interested is completely hers

Her handwriting, her notes to her parents
Telling them she knew it had to be hard to be them
To have a kid with cancer
And that the truth is icky

Her chats with her internet friends
A group of teenage girls
Who, long after she is gone, help moderate a project
that raises over a million dollars for charity

Her activism
Not for cancer charities
For the Harry Potter Alliance
Books and equality for all

Her hand-drawn smileys
Her declaration of intent
To cut her hair short and anglefied (because that’s a word)
And dye it orange with purple streaks
Her follow-through and attached photographic proof

Her book
Edited together after she died
By her parents
Who included her journals, letters, thoughts from friends
And set up a foundation
Not in her name but in the name of the hope she represented
That this light, this star
Will never go out

Note: Learn more about the book and the foundation here.