Earth Airlines

Are we just visiting?
This planet, I mean.
Is the Earth a starship hurtling through space?

Our bodies are the pods enveloping life forces
Until we’re big enough to crawl into the next shell
The stillness, serenity are but illusions

They’re the Gifts that Mother Earth gave us
The present days of our short, short lives
The stillness is but a feeling that will fleet upon death
When we’re reintroduced to the explosion of deep space expanding

Let us wait
Just wait
Sit down in your seat


Let your trays down from the upright position
Recline your back rest
And relax

Earth Airlines fly smooth through the black velvet
Maximize your time here
So you’re awake when we arrive

As the galaxy slings us along its celestial arm
Into the Grand Destination
That lies beyond all possible human conception


My heart truly beats

I’m more soluble than salt in the universal solvent
Dissolving into the feeling of being alive,
I drink from an overflowing fountain tapped into the human spirit

My color is clear
my fabric, smooth liquid
that resonates with the low rumble of the Big Wave

I take the form of my container
whose limits are bound only by the speed of light
and imagined possibility

Horizons blur between mind and environment
The gap between many and one becomes none
The illusion of separation itself evaporates into nothing but a notion

And my heart truly beats

Top 10 Lists

Confessions of a digital marketer

I was born within the rare 3-year window known as the Oregon Trail Generation (1980-1982).

I tell you this for one reason: we are the generation that bridges the gap between old and new media.

We’re old enough to remember what the world was like before the Internet, before computers took the forefront in popular technology. We contacted people remotely via landlines attached to rotary or touchtone phones. We can sift through a library’s physical card catalogue, fluent in the Dewey Decimal System. We read the newspaper.

Yet, we’re young enough to embrace the Internet’s revolutionary technology. The World Wide Web is not a foreign entity to us. We came of age within it.

We are the Oregon Trail Generation and are tasked with bringing the old world into the new, while translating what new media means to the old school.

I was born in 1982.

This was the last year an American could grow up, complete high school and go to college entirely untainted by the seismic shift social media would bring, beginning roughly in 2004.

Post graduation, I would acquire a Facebook profile, Twitter feed, LinkedIn account, and then later Instagram, Google+ and build up my own blogs. I adopted these social media just as billions of people have since the early days of the modern world.

But I remember the old school. I remember the way a newspaper is laid out. I even wrote for the Boston Herald. And what I’m always telling baby boomers is that online media — Facebook updates, blog posts, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn’s shares and comments, the entirety of news activity online — is not that different than the way information proliferates via print media. A screen is just cheaper to print on, especially now that everyone has their own personal printing press in their iPhone or Android.

There is a lot to be gleaned from a newspaper, actually…

Top 5 newspaper principles marketers should use online

#1: Write a striking headline

Headlines should evoke an emotion to captivate interest. Though space is limitless online, people’s attention spans are not. The headline should not be too long. And just like in newspapers, don’t say in 10 words what you can say in five or less.

#2: Get to the point

Like the newspaper’s inverted pyramid story structure, the best information on any blog post should be right at the top. You’ve got your reader there by the headline, but the body is the only thing now that will keep them there. After all, they’re just one click away from the next article.

Mark Twain once wrote that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Wisely chosen words will also get you to that point quicker and optimize your SEO.

#3: Layout is important

No matter how well you write a blog post, if it’s not arranged aesthetically — if the font is “weird,” if the copy is bunched together — the text is less legible. Just like how a newspaper is carefully laid out to include stories prominently on a static page, blog copy should be broken up into digestible blocks and separated by subheads.

#4: Length is important

In the newspaper world, longer stories meant less real estate and more ink and paper. Though you won’t be wasting valuable ink, paper or page real estate on a blog, you’ll be wasting your time. The average blog post should be between 300-700 words, according to Most people won’t read much beyond that before jumping to the next page.

#5: Fit the pieces together

Components of a newspaper fit together like pieces in a puzzle. That’s a physical space, but you could say that the pieces of a blog story and its accompanying social posts and emails are linked in time. SEO is only one way we get people to read our blog posts. We can also effectively time supporting tweets, Facebook updates and email blasts that direct people to the story webpage and encourage followers to comment and share — that cascading effect that propels a “viral” story beyond your primary audience.

Social posts and emails sent at 9 a.m., EST, and 12 p.m. EST, are known to perform best. At 9 a.m. on the East Coast, people are just sitting down to their desks and don’t quite want to get into work. At noon, they’re going to lunch and, on the West Coast, it’s 9 a.m. again.

short stories

Two feud, eating chicken tortilla soup

They hadn’t spoken for years. Maybe three. For both, it seemed longer to the point that enough time had passed and neither could fathom any sort of reconciliation. Yet the draw of Shandy’s chicken tortilla soup was too irresistable. Its southwestern flare, the fresh onion, avocado, cilantro, lime zest and crisp tortilla strips floating in rich chicken broth and cooked to absolute perfection wafted pure heaven into the nostrils. The spicy consomm├ę was a palette magnet for anyone who experienced this culinary delight, especially these two now polar opposites.

As an added wrinkle in the rift between them, this soup was only served on Wednesday nights and only at one place – Shandy’s Soup Shack. As a traditional, family bistro this little shack believed in neither takeout orders nor delivery. Patrons, therefore, had to eat in.

So the two would eat, sitting across from each other at the bar in the step-down soup shop, sipping this brothy goodness and shifting their looks to avoid eye contact. Often they’d bury their faces in the steam subliming from their bowls to avoid awkwardness.

One was called Jimmy. He had adopted thick-rimmed, black glasses and a bushy, tie-on beard that looked fake in its synthetic fibers because he couldn’t afford the real human hair kind. Despite the obvious falsehood of his disguise, Jimmy thought it adequate to avoid his estranged friend. Plus the fibers were a nice soup flavor-savor for later when he returned to his quaint one-bedroom.

The other ex-compatriot was called Kenny. Sunglasses and a baseball cap were enough for him, evidently, to keep up the incognito. Although, in a subterranean bistro that was dark even at high noon and lights kept dim into the evening, the shades drew more attention to him than they deflected.

Every Wednesday, these two characters would sip their soup in silence, not talking, not acknowledging the other, addicted to this dish and shameless in their persistence to not make amends. That was the power of the soup.

This phenomenon that occurred every seven days, in Shandy’s downstairs, turned to urban legend. Word of mouth spread. And foreign patrons, new to the place, would venture there to not only enjoy this local delicacy of the chicken tortilla soup, but to witness this ineptitude in social graces, between a bearded hipster and his Unabomber enemy.

Some would even say that the mystery of their falling out was more of a draw than the delicous, southwestern Wednesday special. In fact, the soup itself was more the MacGuffin that perpetuated these weekly theatrics like clockwork. And questions of their friendship or lack thereof abounded.

What could have caused such a rift? And how good a soup could this be that drew them, reluctantly and addicted to the bistro barstools weekly? That they’d go to such great lengths to shroud their true identities from each other, though it was so obvious to everyone else on the outside looking into this real life comedy of conflict.

I was one such foreign patron and my curiosity got the best of me one night, when I became wise to the depths of Jimmy and Kenny’s burnt bridge. I had to know what came between these once great friends.

One Tuesday night, I approached the Shandy’s owner who tended bar. I asked him about these two who’d be in this very establishment a mere night from then. Cooperation with me the inquisitor was not his M.O., however.

“The one with the beard is called Jimmy,” he said. That was all I could get out of him about that guy. “And the other is Ken.”

I couldn’t do much with first names in terms of a background check. And due to the tightlipped nature of the reluctant owner, I didn’t want to approach either of these two on that fated Wednesday night. The tension was palpable and a powder keg that could blow away any future chance at enjoying the chicken tortilla soup.

I had to approach this mystery with caution, therefore, if I wanted to satisfy both my unquenchable curiosity and thirst for scrumptious southwestern delight.

The soup was just that good.


After the falling out with Ken, I had tried to make my own version of Shandy’s chicken tortilla soup in my kitchen. And by a kitchen, I mean the hotplate that sat on the counter by my sink in a studio apartment the size of most people’s living rooms. There was no space to dice the onions and jalape├▒os. I couldn’t afford the quality chicken breasts the soup shack used either and the gaminess of the Star Market store brand were present in every bite. I’m also pretty sure old man Shandy included a secret ingredient in that rich broth. No matter how many times I took home a to-go cup and tried to disect its ingredients to isolate the mystery flavor, I failed.

Every Wednesday, then, the beard would go on and so would those clunky glasses that I didn’t even need. After a few months of donning the costume, I could sort of tell people were wise to the disguise, but I was in too deep at that point. Despite its obviousness, the costume was my only security blanket protecting me from confronting that awful Ken.


To tell you the truth, I didn’t even really like the soup. I hate spicy food. And I’m mildly allergic to cilantro. Luckily, as a glorified garnish that sat atop the broth, I was able to pick it off often before diving in.

It was stubbornness really that brought me back every Wednesday night. I liked to make Jimmy squirm. And that beard was so ridiculous. That stupid thing was always good for a chuckle to break up my week.

I knew how much he loved that soup. I also was not going to let him forget what he did. That was his punishment.


I sat in the corner of the bistro the following Wednesday. In a dark booth, I awaited the two, Ken and Jim, to arrive.

The confrontation could not occur inside the restaurant. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t follow one of them home. Contact would have to be made, if I were ever to get to the bottom of this caldron of conflict and chicken tortilla soup.


Speaking of dreams…

Speaking of dreams…

I used to know when I was dreaming, at a very early age.

Maybe when language had finally made sense to me, I was forming, not only complete sentences, but fully articulated ideas and scenarios, in which to construct an interpreted reality inside my mind. Of course, these fantasies were uncluttered by the filters, emotional scarring and conflicting morals that came along with life experiences.

And even as a young boy, I knew these realities were too clean for what the authentic account of our world entailed. I’d crouch down in the fetal position on the floor of my dream, shut my eyes tight and pray to wake up. I wanted to once again feel something real, however tainted its true identity.

I grew older, more wise, cataloguing a cacophony of memories, thoughts, ideas, wishes, concepts, emotions, attitudes, personalities, accents, sins, virtues, lies, truths, half truths… a severely wrinkled, grey area.

These signature marks on my more mature perspective deepened the complexity of an adult mind and I could no longer tell the difference between dream and reality, at the height of REM.

The maze of my mind had become too complicated. Unknowingly, asleep, I was trapped. You see the wide, bird’s eyed ego of my awake self sat perched atop a concealed iceberg-like id, underwater stretching infinitely beyond the bounds of the Great Barrier Reef. While under, snorkeling, snoring, deep-diving these coral depths, I got lost in its intertwining, ever-shifting intricacies that linked path upon path of a bottomless marine rabbit hole.

Eventually, I’d awake. My light mind would float to the top at dawn, like the multifaceted orb in a Magic 8-ball.

In one of these lucid daytimes, at last, a moment of clarity in the crisp ocean air. If I could dream within dreams, layered like an onion, like Russian nesting dolls, innumerable levels thick, if I could jump between these levels that sequenced in a Fibonacci spiral tunneling within the coral reef that was my brain stem, then perhaps a reality awaited above even the apex of our collective cerebral cortex. Perhaps we weren’t the biggest Russian doll.

Perhaps, this communal consciousness was yet another underneath layer, beneath ether unfathomable, in specific terms, but entirely conceivable in glimpses of brilliance, like the Sun poking through holes in the clouds.

short stories, Verse

I’m human.

I’m human.

I’m writing this because I have yet met anyone ready or willing to listen to me for the extent that, sometimes, these long streams of consciousness last. The last one went a good 20 minutes I’d say. That’s a long time to listen to anyone not standing up in front of an audience, holding a mic.

These rants tend to go in any direction really, like the doodles I’d draw in the margins of lined paper, bored in a core college seminar that I had to take, but wasn’t particularly interested in. Grammar 101 comes to mind. I’d just go wherever the pen took me. Free-form doodling. Perhaps it was a primitive graph of my brainwaves that ebbed and flowed by the Moon’s pull on ocean tides.

It all depends on the current events, when I’m talking—what I had to eat that day, my mood, my attitude toward the Universe at that moment, what has recently happened in my life, what I’m looking forward to and what I dread will loom overhead. Is it a full Moon?

Right now I’m concerned with the concept of Truth. And that’s no typo, Ms. Stackenblochen, from Grammar 101. I did pay attention to you long enough to know that you can capitalize ‘Truth’ when you’re talking about an absolute. The lowercase, everyday matter-of-fact ‘truth’ is but a speck in the grand Venn diagram of its granddaddy.

It’s what attracted me to journalism, in fact, this asymptotic pursuit of the Truth. How it will forever be subjective in any one, or a collection of human minds. That it can be interpreted. Journalists, true journeymen, have the keen sensibility and skill to focus their sharpest lenses on the event horizon of this divine singular ideal. Because though no truth will acheive Truth, there are those that are closer. There are facts the are truer than others. And purely articulated statements are filled with the rich cream center of what Stephen Colbert would call “truthiness.”

The Truth is: We are human

Men and women who witness such profound revelations—phenomena poking out from under reality’s wool pulled over our everyday eyes—within their experience, who’ve cracked open the marrow of our world, would have the most genuine sense of the human condition. For that’s what we are: humans. And anything we say or think as such will ultimately be human.

Our Truth, therefore, is also human.

While I always was human and always will be, even after death, in the memory of those that will succeed me, I could be more human, more humane, kinder and more compassionate to my fellow brethren. We all are human, but some moreso than others. Some of our auras glow brighter with truthiness.

And we are all in this together. We carry each other along, into that Great Unknown. Into that abyss that knows no bounds. And as we travel there, as we embark on an existential frontier as a unified, cosmic caravan, we tell each other, looking back on Earth, ever-expanding like an errant radiowave emitting out upon the ether, our collective thoughts wrinkle the very fabric of spacetime, whispering…

“What a dream.”