Culling


It would be a lie if I tried to say that I write “only for myself”.

In fact, I dare say that most people who write and share their writing on some level do not write exclusively “for themselves”.

Perhaps you, my dear reader, are someone who shall now attest that you do, in fact, write only for yourself and to hell with likes, shares, follows, and views. And if you are truly honest in this proclamation, then congratulations. You are an anomaly. You are unique. You are rare. You are a unicorn.

For most, however, there is some intrinsic desire to see numbers increase, to feel as though more people are reading what we write, and that they do so because they legitimately enjoy what we’re writing about…or at least the way in which we write about those things.

That being said, it is difficult to honestly gauge our reach, our level of connection. It’s difficult to tell who reads what, for what reason they read, and to what degree they like, or even if they actually care. We are given crude numbers that end up being this mercurial element which is tangent to all the numbers we’re given.

The actual connection between these numbers, however, is vague and the truth of those values debateable.

This leads us to the actual point of this post. Culling.

As of today, I’ve done two cullings of my followers.

The way I do this is as follows: I go through the last 10 posts or 10 days (whichever is longer) and I record the name of every like I got. I then go through my list of followers and redact anyone who hasn’t liked anything I wrote over that given span of posts or time.

First time, I went from approximately 430+ followers down to 48.

Think about that.

430 people were supposedly following me, but of them, less than 50 had made even the most tenuous of interactions with my posts. That’s a little over 11%.

Now, some people might say, “But perhaps a lot of them were reading, but they just don’t click like.”

This is true. But the problem with that logic is that, when I removed the better part of 400 followers, my stats didn’t change enough to substantiate the claim that almost any of them were just “passive viewers”.

Today, I completed my second culling. I went from 283 down to 105, and I suspect I will see the same overall effect. I suspect I will get the same sort of views and likes because, generally speaking, the same core group of people like what I post. Other people like and follow, and then disappear. More to point, it gives me a more accurate depiction of how many people might actually be looking at what I post rather than just giving me the total number of people who clicked on the “follow” button.

So, how about the rest of you?

Do you sometimes trim your following?

Do you let the idle followers stay on board for the sake of “well, they’re not hurting anything…”?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always like talking numbers, percentages, and statistics. 🤓

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Statuary


What if I could stand as still as stone
As pale as bone
Here all alone
Would you then see me as I am
Or would I stand
Forever in a land where light had never shone?

What if I could be your quiet guard
Your singing bard
With knuckles scarred
Would you then choose to finally see
And offer me
The you I always see in dreams that you have starred?

What if I could hold a single pose
Any you chose
Forever froze
Would I become worthy to hold
Be seen as bold
Or merely seen as cold, a perch for dying crows?

What if I could speak and you’d reply
Or even try
A simple “hi”
Would I then find the thing I seek
Or, standing meek,
Continue feeling weak and asking, “What if you were breath, and I was but a sigh?”

Mulling


Maybe it’s because I seem to see so many people on route to do some form of published something-or-other, but I find myself thinking about following suit. This is, of course, a complicated concept in my mind.

First, I don’t think poetry is really such a big deal to most people that it’s exactly marketable. So I have to think, “What exactly is the purpose of pursuing such an avenue?” I mean, I write poetry, and even I don’t actually buy books of poetry. It makes it all the harder to reconcile the idea of putting out a book of poetry because I find myself thinking, “If I write poetry but feel largely disinclined to actually purchase the poetry of others, then what are the chances that others would be inclined to purchase what I write?”

Secondly, I tend to have a strange disconnect between my writing and the idea of money. I can circumvent some of that by thinking, “They’re really paying for the process behind the scenes and not actually paying for what I’m writing.” Even then, some part of me looks at the arrangement and knows that I’m charging money for words. I generally give words away for free. I don’t consider my words valuable enough to charge people so that they can see them. I don’t mean that as a statement of self-deprecation, by the by, I just mean that I don’t look at my writing and see something that should be monetized.

Additionally, I have a lot of poetry on here. It ranges in quality, and I’m certainly not objective enough to read my own work and determine what qualifies as being “some of my best work” vs. “things that I’ve also written…” I’m currently at 700+ posts, and most of that is poetry. Part of me is inclined to go, “Hell, just take all of them, alphabetize them, arrange them to maximize words per page and call it good…” But there again…some of those poems could probably be left out.

There are other elements to my thought process, of course, but most of them are elements of tangency. I know what I would title the book…so…I mean…there’s that.

Anywho…I’m just thinking out loud (or quietly on a keyboard, actually).

Anyone have any insights into this? I mean, even as it relates to you? Any of you also thought about publishing, or actively working on something to publish? What’s your two cents? 🤔

Transistor pt.3


Part 1, Part 2


A whirlwind of screaming beckoned. A tremolo effect that saw a roar of life and death set in peaks and valleys turned sideways and then shifted backward into yesterday; stretching forward into tomorrow. The world was a blur of dizzying light and chaos. A veritable vista of vibrant views that now played upon a viola at three thousand decibels and slowed down to one seventieth its natural speed.

The earth was nothing but quakes and quivers and my legs were very much the same. My heard pounded like a timpani beneath the world’s most aggressive arms playing Tchaikovsky in the world’s most extreme orchestra.

Life was a wall of death that spanned millennia. Death was a dot on the horizon that called like a siren song. Sang a tune of sweet nectar that flooded my ears with the warmth that might have just been blood.


Trepidation stayed my feet while curiosity moved my arms. Doors parted like the red seas before Moses. The person at the front was hidden behind a sheet of glass that only reflected my face – some unknown entity that made me think of the Wizard of Oz. It was like trying to exchange pleasantries through a glory hole.

Name? Why was I there? Who did I need to see? Take a seat.

Life in a standstill.

Eventually, I heard the buzz. Saw the man enter. Clean shaven, all blue and black and brass. Said to follow him.

T.V. always made it sound like you walked in and just asked for the detective. This made it feel like I was turning myself in. I started to wonder if that’s what I was doing.

We entered a room that actually looked a lot like T.V. shows seem to depict. Desks and shitty computer monitors, towers that were probably still getting Windows Vista updates. The door closed with a heavy thud – like a gavel hit from an annoyed judge.

Suddenly, I felt like all eyes were suddenly on me. It was that creeping sensation like when you wake up from a night where you’ve clearly drunk too much and you’re waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Waiting for that one person to finally say, “So…how you feeling today?” with that look in their eye that says they know more about what you did than you do.

I walked past desks until the officer points forward to an actual office.

“Detective Harvel,” he introduced himself. “Have a seat.”

My heart is a hive of hornets. My skin is nothing but goosebumps and sweat.

He pulled out a bag and put in on the table. My heart stopped and my ears dreamt a million accusations and a great blank space of rebuttal. My mouth hung open like a fish gasping for air. I barely heard his words.

Life in slow motion.

“You okay?” he asked.

I gave him one of those, “Huh?” replies that I imagine cops love so much.

“These are yours, right?” he said with a tone that implied he was repeating himself.

I looked over the contents. Wallet, movie ticket stub, key to my high school locker. Why the fuck do I still keep that? Oh…yeah…I suppose that…

“You need some water?” he said. “Coffee, maybe?”

I didn’t understand.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m just…” I just…what? “I’m having a hard time processing this…”

“Well,” he said, “these appear to be your things unless that license belongs to your twin…who also has the same name as you and lives at your address and has your same phone number.”

“Right,” I said, “I…I mean…I get that,” I half-lied, “but…”

“Like I said,” he said, “we found it on some guys down in Allensville.”

I looked at my hand. I thought about my injuries.

My desire for an inquiry was buried beneath a hesitation that said that too many of the wrong kind of questions would make me a suspect. “Uh…I…uh…” I eloquently replied.

“Look,” he said, “we got a call. Intersection of Marvin Boulevard and 36th. Get there and we got three dead. Still not sure what the hell happened. Turf-related, maybe. We’re still trying to sort it out. We found your wallet on one of the guys, a…” he flipped through papers while the silence spread out like an old afghan on a cheap bed, “a….Mr. Timothy Wallers, alias T-Wall. Ringing any bells?”

I shook my head.

“I was…” I paused, measuring my words, “I got mugged about a week ago. Wrong place, wrong time kind of thing.”

“And what were you doing in Allensville?” he asked.

“Stopping for gas,” I lied. “Guys came out of nowhere. I gave ’em what they wanted and limped on home.”

“And why didn’t you report it?”

“Group of random guys that I can’t describe in a bad location who took a wallet. I might not be a cop, but I know that the odds of that panning out is pretty slim.”

“Didn’t happen to be there last night, did you?”

“I was at home last night.”

“Anyone able to corroborate that?”

“I…I mean…I live alone, so no.”

He gave me a mile long stare. He sat silent for just long enough to make me feel more uncomfortable than I already did, and then he kept going for another minute.

“Well,” he finally said, “glad to get your belongings back to you.”

“Yeah,” I replied as smoothly as a man who doesn’t know if he’s guilty or not, “thanks.”

I went to leave while I stuffed my wallet back in my pocket. It felt out of sorts. It felt like there was something in it that didn’t belong. I knew I’d have to wait until I got home to find out what.

“Do me a favor,” the detective said, “don’t leave town for a while. In case we have more questions.”

“Roger dodger,” I said, knowing that I sounded like a fucking moron shortly after saying it.


Part 2

Still


I loved you like a holiday
Those days, I never celebrate at all
I died the day you called to say
That every minute spent with you was nothing but a stall

I sought you like a summer day
Those days, I never even leave the room
I stayed to watch you run away
But every day before you did, I knew you would, and soon

I held you like a setting sun
Those moments, I have never tried to see
I told myself that letting one
Within would only guarantee they’d slowly die with me

I lost you like a solemn prayer
Those words, I’ve never spoken…never will
I’ve flown away and fallen where
This heart of mine that never heals can be forever still

Hermit


Never shall you see me as a figure with a cape or shield
A hero saving broken shapes and forcing villainy to yield
A symbol on a chest
Deflecting bulllets more than any vest
A liniment…an anodyne…a bandage so the banes of life can heal

Never will you see me as a figure with a golden crown
A symbol pure and unbeholden to the woes that weigh us down
An emperor or king
Or just a leader with a fancy ring
A monarch…or a herald…or a soldier that could ever save the town

Never shall you see me as an emblem of a holy light
A person hopeful and consoling alway om the path of right
An emblem of belief
Or a redeemer of a flock or fief
A paladin… protector…ever watchful of the evil in the night

Never will you see me as the person that you knew before
Beneath the sad conditions you would rather see as walls than doors
A loyalist to fault
Whose fragile heart is sealed within a vault
A hermit…wearing many flaws…but dear, they’re just a different shade than yours.

Neglect


You’re holding your breath
And refusing to speak
Is it weak
If I ask
For a word, even brief
Are we past
Even that
So far out of our depth
That we can’t
Turn our silence to peace?

I’m weighing my words
And adjusting the tone
Like a phone
Hiding eyes
Growing harder than stone
When I try
To deny
What you’ve already heard
So I shy
From your visage alone

You’re hiding your face
And obscuring your trail
And I fail
To accept
Any words of farewell
Merely leapt
To collect
Any singular trace
Of reply
In your funeral veil

I’m wringing my hands
And I’m counting my steps
As if here
It’s been years
Since I’ve honestly slept
And I hear
Very clear
But I don’t understand
So I stare
And pursue your neglect