Poem of the Week: Let Grit See You Through

Let Grit See You Through
April 25, 2017

Letting go of the past can be quite tough
When the memories won’t leave you alone,
For the road of life oftentimes is rough
With events that cut you straight to the bone—
People who’ve hurt you for no fair reason,
Happenings you’ve tried to leave behind you…
Yet no matter the day, year, or season,
It comes back to haunt you out of the blue,
Making you wish you could go back in time
To fix whatever wrong you may have done.
Alas, that’s not how time works, friend of mine,
For the direction it goes is but one.
Thus, there’s only one thing that you can do:
Screw your heels in and let grit see you through.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Bonus Poem of the Week: A Message for All Aspiring Novelists

A Message to All Aspiring Novelists
April 18, 2017

No one likes being rejected and tossed into the muck,
Having noses turn up at him or her and wished “Best of luck.”
No one likes being cast out from where he or she wants to be
Or denied that which he or she’s been fighting for. Believe me.
No one likes to struggle, especially when it comes to
Simply getting through the day. This I can assure you.
Even when there’s a pot of gold at the rainbow’s end,
Crossing said rainbow can be a chore. On that you can depend.
So much of a chore it is, too, that time and time again,
Too many people throw up their arms and walk away in the end,
Never to realize their dream, whether they deserve
To live that dream or not, all because of how their nerves
Have become shot over the course of months or years at a time,
And in the case of the worthy folks, it really is a crime,
For who’ll ever know the stories they could’ve shared with the world?
Certainly not the commonplace man, woman, boy, or girl
Or anyone who’d benefit from the messages within,
Even if said benefit is merely escaping the sin
And vice that’s been gripping the world for far too many years now.
Trust me…we all could use some escapism these days…and how!
We all deserve new stories with each year that passes by.
We all need something new to feed our hungry ears and eyes.
Otherwise, the old tales, good and bad, will grow stale,
And as they do, so will our minds, lest new storytellers prevail
To provide us with new substance with which to enrich our souls
And awaken within us the will to carry on into the fold
And accept each day as it comes, no matter what’ll be in store
When it happens to arrive, so long as it isn’t an utter bore.
After all, life’s one big adventure that we all undertake,
And it’s up to us to make the most of it with what we make
In terms of goals and other decisions and the choices that lead
Us down one path or another, and what better way to heed
This message than gleam inspiration from the stories we learn
To spark our thoughts and ambitions and help our hearts’ fires burn
With the passion that keeps us going every hour of the day.
That being said, why let rejection keep getting in the way?
The dream is still worth having, even though it may not seem so,
So keep your chins up and your noses to the grindstone and tally ho!
Keep your wits about you, too, and learn what makes a sale,
And may courage, creativity, and wisdom help you prevail
In the seemingly never-ending saga of chasing a dream
That might actually be more attainable than it might now seem,
For stories are more important than even you may ever know,
And only a sharp mind and a strong heart will help you see just so.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Bonus Poem of the Week: Dried-Up Cash Cows

Dried-Up Cash Cows
April 12, 2017

Many a person with backbone and tons of imagination
Sharing their vision of the future with millions across the nation—
Sometimes admittedly ugly, but even then, plenty of fun
With many an original character out to send trouble on the run
As he or she goes on adventures, frequently enough through lands
So bizarre and fascinating that one look evokes an “Oh, man!”
From the mouths of those who perceive them and all the denizens
That dwell within the region, even when evil comes to bring an end
To the realm’s peace and prosperity with deeds and actions so depraved
That it takes a hero with grit and gusto to burst on into the fray
And bring the villain and his or her mooks to their knees with tenacity
To the gracious relief of the locals. That’s what the ‘80s meant to me.

Alas, though, what’s happened to those franchises we used to know
And love for their vision, no mater how we’ve ridiculed them so?
What else? We’ve dared to reinvent them, knowing just how much power
They have over those who remember them, recalling every hour
They’d spent watching and listening to their glory back in the days,
Only now, their current incarnations often fail to amaze,
As they rarely capture the spirit that made the originals great
And feature heroes we once knew, yet to whom we can no more relate,
As they’ve been reduced to shells of what they were once upon a time,
No longer the charming, gung-ho type with a passion for fighting crime,
But rather morose and moody, as “gloom and doom” as we are,
Just stock brooding bruisers like other protagonists today, which, by and far,
Makes them only blend in with all the others and not stick out at all—
Something they used to do quite well, even ‘mongst their kind ‘fore their fall.
The villains don’t fare much better and are just ramped up a thousandfold,
Turned into murderous schmucks as charmless as the heroes, truth be told,
And are every bit as dark as the plans they hatch against the world
As well as generic and depressing—so much so that they make me hurl,
For the flair that had made them brilliant at the risk of making them “cheesy”
Is no longer there, thus making them bland and lifeless, which makes me queasy,
And with the fun gone from these characters, so is the fun from their plot
Leaving us with lazy, unimaginative stories sloppier than snot
That follow the same tired formula as most modern shows I know,
Mostly unrecognizable in more ways than one, much to my woe,
Save for the occasional swerve or plot twist that only serves to derail
The story as we once knew it, hence furthering the fall of the tale
And further driving us away from that which those running the industry
Wants us to reinvest our time and money into. Yeah…not for me.

Don’t get me wrong. The franchises I knew from my younger days
Entertained me thoroughly back then, but I’m ready now to part ways
And embrace something new that’s equally well-written as that which I once knew.
As for this soulless, recycled, cash-grabbing hash…no thanks. I’m through.
Start getting some new ideas, Hollywood, if you want to survive,
For living on dried-up cash cows is no way to stay alive.
New generations need new stories. That’s how it’s always been,
And you’ve been able to do just that without issue way back when.
Recently, though, what have you given today’s young folks to hear and see?
Mostly inferior versions of what you’d once made for kids like me
That haven’t done squat to take you out of the rut you’ve put yourself in,
And quite frankly, you’re nuts if you think I’ll stew with you in your own sin.
Get with the times, then! Otherwise I’ll just create my own thing
And change the tide while you keep failing and survive the bitter sting
The masses have already been suffering for far too long as things stand.
Goodbye, then, dried-up cash cows, for a new day is at hand.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: The Toxic Stuff

The Toxic Stuff
April 7, 2017

I’m cutting out all the toxic stuff
I’ve bothered with over the years
That’s caused me more pain
Than netted me gain
And led me to wallow here.

No more caving in to my fears,
For doing so brings no gain.
Time to screw in my heels
And spin the wheels
In my mind before I go insane.

I’ve so much yet in my life to gain.
Why should grief anymore make me squeal?
Enough is enough
Of this dramatic stuff.
Seeking inner peace is my new deal.

I want to know again how happiness feels,
So good riddance, negative fluff!
Get on out of here
‘Fore I kick your fat rear
And cast you from my life in a huff.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Alphabet Rush of Defiance

Alphabet Rush of Defiance
February 27, 2017

Aggravation. Boredom. Carelessness, too.
Damned if I doze off every midday through.
Evenings I’ve spent working for a future yet to come.
Goodness gracious, do I feel like such a blasted bum!
How the hell can I do it? I guess I may never know.
Just judge me, though, for trying, when I have something to show
Knuckleheads like you, for a loser you may see,
But a moron I’m not, nor a nimrod I shall be.
Opportunity waits, after all, and pretty soon,
I’ll quickly rise through the ranks and leave you to swoon
At all the trouble I’ve endured and the triumph I’ll procure
Under ugly circumstances with much venom to endure.
What will you do then? X-crete in your pants with shock?
Yeah, I can believe that. Now please return to your flock
As I zig and zag through obstacles to become number one.
Until then, keep mocking me. I dare you, naysaying scum!

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Rap of the Week: Dan Schneider’s Paradise

All That logoHey, readers!

This week, I’ve reached back to the 1990s to attain the inspiration behind this latest entry on my blog: a remembrance piece dedicated to the much beloved Nickelodeon sketch comedy All That. To summarize things, I basically imagined the kind of performance piece I would have liked to put on, had I ever been a member of the All That cast, and set it to the tune of Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio from the soundtrack of the film Dangerous Minds. That being said, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned items, I still hope you enjoy what I’ve written here. Thanks and happy reading!

Regards,
Dustin M. Weber

*****

Dan Schneider’s Paradise
March 3, 2017

As I walk into the Green Room of the All That set,
I take a look all around me and begin to fret
‘Cause I’ve reacted to his randomness for so long
That even my friends think that my mind has gone,
But I ain’t never gotten a laugh and didn’t earn it.
Me be thought of as a frump? Take that trash and burn it.
Just watch me hold my own against Detective Dan
And the destructive force known as Repair Man-Man-Man.
It may come at the cost of my sanity,
But I can do it all without profanity (Fool!).
I’m the kind of joker other kids wanna be like.
Now sit back as I ham it up in the spotlight.

We’ve been spending our TV lives living in Dan Schneider’s paradise,
His comic grip tight like a vice, living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
We’re trapped in a cage like mice, living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
“Dance, rodents, and don’t think twice,” living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.

We cast members are facin’ a situation—
Not just any normal life filled with sketch comedy “strife,”
But one in which logic soars out the front door
With the personification of a plush ear of corn
And stupid people writing questions for a little girl
To answer with such fury that’d make your toes curl
While a lactose-intolerant superhero
Monologues the forces of evil down to zero (Fool!),
And don’t expect the end-of-show music acts to save
A hapless blue puppet when his master misbehaves.
It’s all just another day on the set of All That,
And if you’re not up to it, the just scat.

The Island Girls have been stranded for so long
Without any luxuries,
And Coach Kreeton’s been battered and bruised to where
He’s as miserable as can be.

We’ve been spending our TV lives living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
We’ve been skating on thin ice living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
Our fame and fortune may be nice, living in Dan Schneider’s paradise,
But it comes at such a price, living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.

Minute after minute, sketch after sketch,
Commercials only prolonging what’ll happen next,
Like Pierre Escargot’s warped lessons in French
Or Squash Boy leaving his friends waiting for him on the bench
While the Cheese Police bust another perp dealing gouda
And Miss Piddlin peddles peas like they’re her personal Buddha.
That’s what happens on a Dan Schneider cruise
As reported in the Channel 6-1/2 News (Fool!).

We’ve been spending our TV lives living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
Our brains have become fried from living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.
Kids tune in and don’t think twice when they watch Dan Schneider’s paradise,
But trust me: it ain’t always nice living in Dan Schneider’s paradise.

Tell me how can it be that our time on TV
Can have such an effect on you and me?
Tell me how can it be that our time on TV
Can have such an effect on you and me?

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

*****

All That and All That logo (c) 1994-2005 Nickelodeon Productions, Tollin/Robbins Productions, and Schneider’s Bakery. Dangerous Minds (c) 1995 Hollywood Pictures, Simpson/Bruckheimer, and Via Rosa Productions. Gangsta’s Paradise (c) 1995 MCA Records/Universal Music Group. All other content provided above, however, is the author’s own.

Bonus Poem of the Week: Sadly the Best Poem I Could Think Up on a Given Wednesday

Sadly the Best Poem I Could Think Up on a Given Wednesday
February 15, 2017

Emptiness
Dull mind
Trying, failing, wasting
What the hell, man?
Stressing, straining, stalling
Screw this!
Done

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Books DON’T Suck

Books DON’T Suck
February 19, 2017

“Screw books! Books suck!” so I hear so many say
From my generation downward since YouTube’s younger days.
It’s all about video games with them and other electronics
Upon which they derive their usual entertainment fix.
Now, sure, I like my V-games every once in a while.
Hell, I used to buy older ones when they were already out of style.
I also like the occasional movie and television show,
But does that mean I hate books or should have to? Hell no!
Sure, they might not be as interactive as games can be,
Nor are their visuals as animated as those from films and TV,
But guess what: My imagination still works and can easily
Visualize any story that one’s written for you or me,
And when I want to put my mind to use during my downtime,
I’d rather spend it reading a book than watching whatever slime
The networks have slapped on my TV, from insipid comedies
And by-the-numbers dramas to artificial “reality”
And have it thrown in my face with all the grace and tact
Like a potty-mouthed “alpha” male bragging ‘bout his soulless sex life, jack.
Let’s not even talk about movies, the gamble that they are,
Which can sometimes be enjoyable, yet other times leave a scar
Based on how poorly written and acted they often can be
With shameless violence, sex, profanity, and nudity
Thrown in for good measure by clueless writers who think
Shock value adds something to bad scripts when it just makes them stink
More than they already do, no matter the topic at hand,
Even though many a trashy movie’s made millions across the land.
Even video games can be a pain in the neck at times
With the many microtransactions, shoddy game designs
And glitches galore that have plagued the industry for so long,
Amongst a slew of other flaws that still need to say “so long.”
Not only that, but books don’t cost any electricity,
Nor do they need a special monitor to read them, you see—
Unless you’re talking e-books, but then again, I like to be
Away from my computer whenever I can, I hope you see.
One especially doesn’t need a special console to read a book.
Just have one in your hand and open it up to take a look
At whatever’s on its pages. Who knows? You just might like
Whatever tale it’s telling and how it takes you from the tripe
Of the cold, harsh reality with which we all must deal.
I can certainly tell you how a good book has often helped me heal
By taking me out of whatever nasty situation I’m in
And giving me someone else to root for whom I hope will win
In his or her own struggles, which might often even parallel
The spot I happen to be in myself—my present private hell.
Even when that’s not the case, a good book can entertain
Me with interesting characters and a moral from which I can gain
Knowledge and wisdom from which I can apply later on in life
To whatever circumstances I might face that bring me strife.
Sure, not every book’s like this, but I could say the same
For anything else out there, be it a film, show, or video game.
Besides, why should I let one crappy book or another
Prevent me from enjoying a different book altogether, brother?
Not every piece of entertainment, no matter the form it takes,
Can live up to our expectations, and I can’t help but want to make
This point real to every person who dares call all books crap,
As that’s not the case at all, for most books don’t deserve such a rap—
Just like not every film or show’s a load of violent smut
That’s aimed to appeal to idiots and leave smart folks in a rut
In their search for honest entertainment that’s been crafted with care,
Which is why folks like me keep searching for whatever’s out there
And never settle for one form of entertainment or another.
Such is the mindset I believe should be adopted by others,
Even if they’ve been forced to read utter crap in school,
Or otherwise came across a book that simply wasn’t cool,
For defecating on literature only cheats one in the end
From options in how to spend one’s time outside the grind, friend.
That being said, no matter what any naysayer might say,
Give books a chance, for you’ll never know how they’ll make your day
‘Til you actually pick one up and give it an honest read.
Who knows? You just might be doing yourself a noble deed.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Talent is NOT Overrated

Talent Is NOT Overrated
February 12, 2017

“Talent is overrated.” Such is what certain insiders say.
“So long as the concept is catchy enough, people will come to pay.
It makes no difference how stupid, forced, contrite, or insincere
A story is, so long as it brings us the dough we hold so dear.”

“I’m sorry…what?” I demand in the face of such BS,
For talent indeed means something, so allow me to address
This point in this poem for the sake of encouraging
Ambitious, intelligent authors to at last seek their chance to sing
As well as publishers everywhere to give these folks the chance
The fame and fortune that others ‘fore them have gotten from the dance,
Be said prize deserved or not, for these days, more than ever,
Folks deserve to read material that’s bound to last forever.

So talent’s overrated? Then what can you really expect
When folks pay for, read, and have their brains befouled by some hack’s dreck
And discover the hard way just how sloppy it’d been thrown together
And that it can’t hold a candle to the greats in any kind of weather?
What do you say when shock value’s the only “merit” upon which
Said story can stand itself? Can you really praise it without a twitch
Of your lips or nose or eyelids, or will you end up giving away
The objective truth that said work never should’ve seen the light of day?

Now let me tell you what you can gain from a book that’s well-written:
A tale that can stand strong ‘gainst the competition and leave folks smitten
With characters worth investing in, a plot that can last through the ages,
And a feeling of satisfaction once one’s done flipping through the pages—
That is until years pass and one feels compelled to read it again
And the tale ends up being every bit as good as it did back then.
Not only that, but word of mouth and recognition can spread
Like wildfire about such genuinely good stuff until it’s been read
By the masses far and wide who, in turn, will sing its praises
Of the work year after year ‘til its legend lasts throughout the ages,
Which eventually leads to more copies sold and hence cash earned
For author, agent, and publisher alike, leaving to be burned
Only the fools who can’t write and any agent dumb enough
To scoff at the one work’s writer and claim it hasn’t the stuff.

Many is, after all, the agent who hasn’t the brains or the spine
To support that which has value in these messy , troubled times
Who’s time and again turned down such stuff for irredeemable crap
To sell to publishers so that said suits could have cash in their laps
From feeding the desperate masses whatever they could shovel out,
Which in turn has dulled the masses’ senses and made them mindless clouts
While those who’ve demanded better for so long have been made to starve
Or to look elsewhere to sate their hunger and avoid the barbs
Of the tainted crap that’s had no talent or love put into it.
Now, tell me: When it comes to change, don’t you see the world as fit?

Because if you ask me, then yes, the industry must change.
For too long have we been fed crap. Things must be rearranged.
Talent is not overrated. Stop shoving that mantra down
Our throats because at this point, we need more talent to go around,
And not just talent, either, but also effort and love—
The kind of passion that fits talent like a hand in a glove
And has made many a classic in every industry you can name.
It’s a tried-and-true method from the past that surely can do the same
In this era, should we all at least try to make the effort to
Promote the works of talented writers to be read by me and you.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Random Thoughts on a January Afternoon

Random Thoughts on a January Afternoon
January 10, 2017

It’s January,
And yet, we’ve got rain falling
Down upon our heads—
Down, down upon us,
Washing ‘way whatever snow
Had fallen last night
And covered the ground
In a nice white blanket of
Wint’ry purity.
In its place now…mud—
Sticky, sloppy, gooey glop
‘Neath the thinning lawn,
So thick that my boots
Get stuck in it with each step
I take in it. Yuck!
What a mucky mess!
Oh, well…maybe it will freeze
Tonight and harden
The soft, mushy ground.
One can only hope…but wait!
I hear wind whipping
Past my window like
The proverbial bat out
Of Hell. Wow! Such force!
Whooshing past my house
With an ancient god’s fury…
Zap! The lights are off.
My computer’s down.
Damn my luck! The power’s out.
Might as well write this
By hand on scratch sheet
Until ComEd manages
To come down my street
And set it all right.
Man, though! How dark it’s getting!
I need a flashlight.
Click! Okay, I’m good.
Hopefully, this won’t last much
Longer, ‘cause I don’t
Know just how fresh the
Batteries are in this thing,
And I’m in no mood
To find out the hard
Way. Okay, then…off I go!
That’s it…moving on…
Ugh! The light outside’s
Dimming pretty quickly. I’d
Better bust my ass
And finish this piece
Before something else happens
And all is for naught.
Then again, why’m I
Writing this in the first place?
What’s the point in me
Writing this damn thing
When I can find a pressing
Topic to cover
Like war, disease, or
Even telemarketing?
Why’m I just rambling
About how my day’s
Going? What a waste of time!
What is wrong with me?
I have so many
Other things to take care of,
And yet here I am
Writing random junk
On paper for no reason
Other than I’m “bored”
And the power’s out.
Wow, do my priorities
Leave a lot to be
Desired. That’s it!
My mind’s now made up. Time to
Move on to the next
Ordeal at hand. I’m
Done wasting my time at that
Which simply goes on
And on with little
To no direction. Time to
Move on to something
With more substance and
Purpose. What do you say, self?
I say shut up and
Put the pencil down.
Better yet, why not take a
Nap and rest your damn
Aching head before
We both go insane? Okay,
Fine! To bed we go.
Then, when we wake up,
It’s off to tackle that one
Thing we’ve been working
On that we took a
Break from a while back. What do
You say? Fine by me.
Let’s nap. Alright, then.
Sorry, poem, but it’s time
For me to move on.
Then when I wake up,
The power will come back on,
And off to the next
Project I shall go,
Hopefully, to make progress
In something at last.

*****

 

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
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                         Amazon.co.uk