How to write bad poetry like a nobody

April 28, 2013

How to write bad poetry like a nobody

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Andres Segovia, Asturias for Spanish Guitar

The poet blogger, Anthony Wilson of the Lifesaving Poems blog, writes today about his encounter with Michael Symmons Roberts’ poem, Ultramarine. His blog post is here:

Michael Symmons Roberts’ ‘Ultramarine

Anthony’s post reminds me of my first encounter with the same poem years ago. Roberts’ Ultramarine provoked questions about life and death, self-reflection (not to be confused with navel gazing), and [gulp] a necessity to write – to write (bad) poetry.

If a poem does that to you (like what Roberts’ Ultramarine did to me) – it’s good poetry.

When I say I do bad poetry, I say this not out of false modesty in anticipation of future praise. But I do say so with the lingering shame of those many, many letters of rejection taped to the bedroom wall of my younger Patsak self.

Nonetheless, I share my prose with you (below) – that you can get a feel for how not to write poetry. Also – I share this to share my self with you. Perhaps, Johnny too will discover it someday.

“Nobody” is everyone, a person without accomplishment, and also a reference to the Odyssey when the cyclops, Polyphemus, asks Odysseus for  his name. – in case you wondered about the alternate title.


Cerulean Blue

or A Self-Portrait of a Nobody

I knew him well, better than you. Knew him
like a warm wool scarf wrapt around the face
on a cold January morning stroll
along Spuistraat, passing Magna Plaza.

I knew the hidden smile sweeping the street
with tassels of saffron, burnt umber, thyme,
gold, sandalwood, dark plum and a little gray –
the man wasn’t as tall as Tom Baker.

And the scarf had stretched beyond twelve feet.
Knew him like the dull pain – its claws gripping
his ankles and its teeth burying into his calves
as he left the Willis on South Wacker –
an exhausting, inescapable friend
that persecutes, tries and tests your patience.
There were times he couldn’t take one more step
down a fragrant spring path in Cismigiu
and he would linger with a cigarette –
as if he meant to. And maybe he did.
I knew him like a Solomon searching
for a perfect blue – cerulean, in fact.
Ultramarine may be a misadventure
like forbidden, swollen areolas,
like a shuddering gasp of completion.
With someone that does not belong to you.
Does anyone?! Ever belong to you?
Cerulean is ubiquitous – not cheap
like kitsch (to be displayed) in a Florentine curio –
not even a cabinet adorned with angels
or six winged seraphim gilt in gold.
But he had tried anyway. Wouldn’t you?
Cerulean is effervescent, sweet, fleet
like light glinting on an artichoke’s crown
in the afternoon gardens of Monticello
or the first, unsteady flight of a robin.
That’s how I knew him. A cerulean blue.
Like the old dog that still chases his tail –
going round and round in twirling, whirling,
unabashed circles like a dervish
in prayer; like a twister on the sea,
moving over the face of time and space,
blinking like the light of a distant star
that prevails against the darkest of nights
and is gone when you take a second look.
Like a nobody.
That’s how I knew him. Did you know him too?

Stan Faryna
28 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

Beauty, Come and Get Some

Freedom is Solid7

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

Click and buy the mug shown below and help feed kids.

Faryna Mug - love never fails


how to care for creation one inch at a time #100inches

April 25, 2013

how to care for creation one inch at a time

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

I explained in the comments of the previous post. That I was going to do my small part in caring for creation. To summarize, I’m planting flowers and bushes that will feed and nourish the pollinators: bees, butterflies, fireflies and hummingbirds.

That post is here:

Nobody cares about your disingenuous #Earthday tweet or post

Here in my neck of the Northern Virginia suburb, we have many varieties of pollinators. Of bees, we have wild European honey beesbumblebees, and carpenter bees. I think that my favorite local butterflies are the orange-speckled, brush footed butterflies (Nymphalidae). But any bright colored butterfly makes a heart smile.

Opus Dei

I planned eight flower beds – a work bigger than me infact. It was easy to imagine, but proving a beast in the execution. But that’s how I roll – throwing myself at the impossible. Or improbable. Success promises immense satisfaction and upliftment. Failure, of course, threatens at every inch. That’s how I think of God’s work – however erroneous that conception may be. Read the rest of this entry »

Nobody cares about your #Earthday tweet or post. #100inches

April 22, 2013

Nobody cares about your disingenuous #Earthday tweet or post.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Michael Jackson, They don’t care about us


Earthday is on April 22nd. That could be today, tomorrow, or yesterday – depending on when you read this post. Most of my readership will not read this post. In fact, I predict that less than 20 people will read this post – regardless of the effort I made to pull readers in with a snarky title.

Did it work, Josh?

My doing this blog post despite the general dissympathy for Creation – that’s the kind of fire in the belly that distinguishes the blogger from the attention whores. [grin]

Enough with the snark! Because I have contempt for none. But I do have a place in my heart for you and the whole world.

This is what it means to fire it up, get ‘er done, and step up. There are no rewards and applause for doing the right thing – persistently. But the world, regardless of the lack of happy noise, gets better by these unappreciated inches – inch by inch.


The insipid, lackluster and uninspired description of Earthday provided by Wikipedia is here:

Earthday is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection

As Bill Dorman might ask – did a fifth grader write that?! [grin] Read the rest of this entry »

this week runs over with strong feelings and pounding hearts #HearOurPrayer

April 19, 2013

Progress, Prosperity and Hope

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

This week. Like a overflowing cup, this week runs over with strong feelings and pounding hearts.

Imogen Heap, Just For Now

Sorrow and tears were shared. But also kindness and at least one smile. Or two. And prose – if it is not poetry – made certain demand upon me.

Please visit the awesome bloggers (Jayme Soulati and Kaarina Dillabough) who are kind and generous to allow me to guest post and share words of hope and happy.

The Happy Friday Series: A Chat With Pooh

What If Today You Got More Than You Asked For?

And the prose?

Bear with me. This too shall pass. Quickly.

Progress, Prosperity and Hope

I stretched out my hand to poetry
this early morning
and I felt the distance grow between words
and understanding.
Were those miles there before I had begun?
Like glass shattering, the shards scattering
across the kitchen floor; like a people
fleeing, retreating
from a more perfect union – but they say
Lincoln’s a poet and poetry mends
hearts, ways, hopes, families, neighborhoods and peoples.
That would be progress!
Or prosperous by any other name.

Technology, commerce, innovation –
cannot tow a star-faring ship of state
up a creek like a stubborn juggernaut.

Yes, star-faring ship –
that is what I wrote!

The seas are sailed
and the seas run red.
The shining cities
of Mars
are not soon enough
nor the Orion
starports blinking in their ochre glory.

At dock, hum the engines of Enterprise,
ready to carry our hopes even further.

Beyond poetry. Fiction. And Boston.

Stan Faryna
19 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

Beauty, Come and Get Some

Freedom is Solid

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

Click and buy the mug shown below and help feed kids.

Faryna Mug - love never fails

Apocalyptic prophecies, unemployment and social media. Oh my!

April 18, 2013

Exponential growth, I fear, makes exponential decay, unavoidable. 

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

If you live within 5 miles of a 7-11, you’re toast.

– Paul Milne

Apocalypse Now: Surfing and Napalm

The boss was upset about a failed factory – the losses were increasing with an alarming rate of exponential decay. The bottom line kept dropping out to deeper and deeper depths of red. So he decided to close the factory down.

Discussing the matter with Abe, a world class manager known for his emotional intelligence and servant heart, Abe was stubbornly against the shut down.

“There’s gotta be at least 50 good employees there. I know people. There’s more good than bad. You can’t close it down,” argues Abe.

“We can turn this around. It just needs a little love and some solid innovation and change. Going social at the organizational level is an untried option.”

“Can we turn it around if our best workers represent less than 1 percent of the workforce?” asked the boss.

“Those good workers still got to eat,” Abe appealed to the boss’ sense of compassion and empathy.

Abe knew that he needed 20 percent to attempt a turn around. Or so the Pareto principle (80-20 rule) suggested to him. But Abe believed he had an obligation to minimize the casualties. And zero was a perfect number.

“They got families, hopes and dreams. They’ve got mortgages. They’ve made investments in this factory and community– emotional and financial.”

The boss, a good guy, considered Abe’s argument with a charitable heart. The factory, he knew, was a lost cause. He knew it for some time. But he could afford to keep it on the books for a little longer – in service to those good few who have served the company with a spirit of excellence.

So the boss reviews the performance evaluations and HR files and he can’t find 50. But Abe was so sure that excellence could be found.

EVERYONE without exception clocked in late (30 minutes or more) at least once per week.

Sick and personal leaves were on the rise. Personal internet usage was up 10 percent across all departments and the total average user time for personal internet activity was hitting about two hours per day. Paper and printer ink costs had increased despite the paperless office push – some suggested that personal use of the company printers was the problem.

And sales and marketing were demanding iPhones and new laptops as mission-critical.

All this, of course, was just the tip of the iceberg.

Psy, Gentleman

For example, Abe didn’t mention the fact that the plant manager had a million hits on a recent YouTube video touting his raid exploits in World of Warcraft. Nor did Abe mention that, last week, the network administrator registered 10,000 requests for Psy’s latest video, Gentleman. What’s 1o,000 views out of 200 Million? Right?

“Those aren’t hard performance indicators,” Abe argued passionately.

“Is just showing up a signal of performance?” grumbled the boss.

“Is keeping busy doing your job? Is it advancing the mission and vision? And if this is a charity – why do people expect iPhones?!”

Abe, however, had access to overwhelming information and data that could suggest just about anything.

Maybe, the video sharing on Psy could be viewed as team-building – if not leadership training, Abe thought to himself. But Abe thought he’d keep such a suggestion to himself. Or tweet it on Twitter.

So the boss and Abe haggled about the measurement methodologies and tools, what constituted a fair number of good employees that made such charity worthwhile, and whether or not iPhones were relevant.

In the end, however, they couldn’t find excellence demonstrated consistently in a single week by 10 employees. Not by any measure.

The factory was closed and burned to the ground. And Abe, fortunately, he wasn’t fired for being obtuse. After all, Abe’s heart was in the right place. Love never fails!

And that’s something that can warm our hearts – myself included.

This modern redaction of an ancient story (Genesis 18:22 – 19:26) was inspired by a recent blog post at Bill Dorman’s place: Whose team are you on anyway?

Stan Faryna
18 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

Beauty, Come and Get Some

Freedom is Solid

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

Click and buy the mug shown below and help feed kids.

Faryna Mug - love never fails

Freedom is solid #bostonmarathon

April 16, 2013

We grieve those lost and we will honor them with our courage and commitment to Freedom. 

We are not afraid. We don’t need authoritative guarantees for peace and security. Because our brave hearts give no quarter to terror, corruption and hate.

Freedom is solid.


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Stan Faryna
15 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Will you kill to be cool? And other social media DOHs

April 13, 2013

How cool is it to kill? And other social media DOHs

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

– Uncle Ben

Would you kill to be cool?

It’s hard to command an audience on social media. And those that do – they often bring the snark and fun that lighten things up. Calvin Lee, a Los Angeles website designer, is a social media rock star. He’s not a kid, but he’s got lots of Klout. And Klout perks. I even remember when I started following him years ago on Twitter.

I upset Calvin today – that wasn’t my intention. I pointed out that his sharing yet another insulting meme-graphic of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un… was problematic. The conversation is captured below in the snapshots. Read the rest of this entry »

Beauty, come and get some

April 11, 2013

Beauty, come and get some

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
If you put a gun to my head and told me I could only do one thing in this blog, that one thing would be to share beauty with you.
Thanks to a G+ post by Betsy Cross, I have beauty to share with you, today.
A blog post. And this blog post is both epic and lyrical. It is fucking beautiful!


Stan Faryna
10 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Deepak Chopra couldn’t get it more wrong about India

April 5, 2013

Deepak Chopra couldn’t get it more wrong; there’s no smoke without a fire.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Cold Play, Lost

Deepak Chopra’s recent article, Is India Having A Crisis of Soul?, is as disappointing and impoverished as the painful situation being reflected upon. You can read his old guard apology here:

Who would imagine that inherited and entrenched moral bankruptcy can ever be reversed by the economic empowerment of crony capitalists, communists, socialists, and nationalists equally exploiting the human laborer and the divisive prejudices of the Indian population?

Only those who share the ambition, irreverence, amorality, and lost innocence of The White Tiger a la Aravind Adiga.

More of that here:

And here:

If there is a change going on and a soul is awakening, there must be a long, terrible dark night – la noche oscura del alma. The worst is yet to be.

Perhaps, it will take years to roll down like waters. And I’m not talking about a recovery. That’s something else completely.

Deepak’s kind of staggering, teetering, zombie-esque, happy talk may provide some “needed” false reassurance to the foreign investor, foreign outsourcer and the native electorate, but soul work (like great blessing) is messy, takes seemingly forever, and hurts more than anyone would willingly bear.

Deepak Chopra couldn’t get it more wrong about India. Not surprisingly – his commentary about America always sounds like propaganda – ever unenlightened. It is also no surprise that my comment to his article was censored.

But however offensive my comment may be to Deepak, it is not a eulogy. I did not come here to bury India, but encourage her in these trying times.

Because there is always hope for the meek, the poor in spirit and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. For Indians. Americans. Everyone.

Stan Faryna
04 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

The Adventures of The Corsair

What is Love?

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

If you got something from this blog post, please like it, 5 star it, and/or subscribe.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…

April 2, 2013

Who am I? Who are you? What can we hope? What must we do?

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Haddaway, What is Love?

What is Love?

What is Love?

Baby don’t hurt me…

Baby don’t hurt me, no more.

I don’t know why you’re not fair.

I give you my love but you don’t care.

So what is right and what is wrong?

Give me a sign.

That’s the words Haddaway sings. And I wonder why a song about love is so full of fear and unanswered questions. And I wonder why this song comes to mind as I reflect upon my calling. To do and encourage good. To avoid and oppose evil. To walk in beauty.

There are words written on the wall of a small bedroom. And if words are written on the wall, know they were written with great passion and desperation. I know this about words written upon a wall because I wrote my last love letter and farewell to my ex-wife upon our bedroom wall.

But the words that I want to share with you are not mine. These words were written by a hero. A woman. A saint. Someone with whom I shall never compare in virtue and purity of heart.

Do it anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

And therein is a powerful and deep answer to our searching questions… what is love.

Gustav Klimt’s Adam and Eve

adam and eve

Love anyway

Do it anyway. Because to not love… is to not be. To not do it (love), is you not being you.

Regardless of the agonies and pain, the countless, lesser defeats and disappointments, the unanswered questions and prayers… do it anyway.

Love anyway. Because you and I were made to love strongly, wholeheartedly – like star light that searches the distance and darkness of deep space.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about how to live. How to lead. How to be.

Stan Faryna
02 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

The Adventures of The Corsair

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

When your best is suck

If you got something from this blog post, please like it, 5 star it, and/or subscribe.