07/30 Sound of the Surf

 

Sound of the surf

 

Iron ore freighter

Glides across river glass

Horn echoes.

Tires peeling on Jefferson

Ambulance sirens

Brakes applied to avoid tickets.

Clicks of garage gate opens.

Barbershop catcalls,

Dogs shitting

Curses of owners

Rustle with plastic baggie.

Gate crashes closed with car in lot.

Truck trailer screeches open

Clinks the load of beer

Trailer door slams closed.

Tiny wheels of backpacks click

Clack down the sidewalk

Behind the swish of scrub pant legs

Horn of empty freighter.

06/30 Sonnet Attempt

So I am admittedly very poor with structure poems so I figured why not give the sonnet a try. Here’s a very rough attempt.

 

Untitled (Spring sonnet)

 

Sun makes for outward bound days filled with glee

The type where you discover new places.

Finding out what’s possible and might be

Or rediscovering many faces.

 

The sun shines like a beacon in the sky,

Ready to warm the souls eager to part

Far-too-long hibernation spent inside

Now a mass of people beating with new heart.

 

Lethargy of winter, a time behind

Energy of spring with new time abound

Worries of work, school, and bills paid no mind

Friendships restarted, conversations found.

 

Start of spring now everyone walking

Unplugged from phones, laptops, begin talking.

 

05/30 Destruction

05/30

Destruction

 

Shrapnel juts out of bones and plaster

haphazard direction.

Filling of iron shards

Inches from the spinal cord

Scrap of exploded kitchen metal.

Next door to the alleged training center

Home in Miram Shah Pakistan

Official count:

7 deaths, 4 injured, 0 children death, 0 civilian deaths, in strike on a house.

 

This weaponry is new

Video game controller guides fiberglass and steel

Armed and fired with the “X” button,

Desert of Nevada.

Young man who grew up with controller in hand

Call of Duty one day,

Duty calls the next.

Collateral damage,

Home in mountains in Pakistan

4 injured, 7 confirmed deaths.

Alleged training facility in a country where no war has been declared.

 

Collateral damage

Psyche of a boy at a controller,

Given power and anonymity

Following orders

Executing 10,000 miles around the world.

 

Source http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/

 

 

04/30 – One bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

A very rough cut, edits coming shortly but I wanted to get this up.

One bourbon, One scotch, One beer

47% of all drinkers drink in excess more than once a month.

Excess: More than 14 drinks a week, more than 4 in a day.

I’ve done this repeatedly.

Gulleted down a pint of brown liquor

stomach gnashed through the voluntary poison.

Relaxed, put mind to ease.

Social anxiety released, confidence slides into sloppiness.

Night becomes a blur.

Dreams dulled or non-existent

the mind doesn’t want to wander anymore.

 

Sober nights, lucid dreams.

Control over people and situations.

Aimless mind,

wants old friends and loved ones.

My aunt will be in her favorite pajamas drinking coffee

A hug for Joe on what would have been his birthday night.

Nice but worrisome.

Stressors creep in,

Unsure mind attacks the stressors,

Sweat builds on my forehead

Matting my body to sheets and pillows,

Twisted knot of clear dreams and restless body.

Release with the alarm buzzer.

Mind a dulled mess of emotion, a sober wake up feeling like a hangover.

 

03/30 Greener Grass

This poem came from a workshop I taught where you take an idiom and try to flip it around, here’s my attempt at that.

Greener Grass

I remember the wind

How it carried the ball

Pushed it higher than it should’ve been

Me, running to the fence two, three times.

The outfield is a place for no man who doesn’t like to run

But I do.

Careening  arc of the ball

A rocket aimed from infield desert sand to outfield forest grass.

 

That day we played against the travel team.

Every single player with new Mizuno sponsored gear,

Pressed all black matching leather gloves,

Fitted ball caps with stitched on numbers

Stitched last names between shoulder blades on starch clean jerseys.

We, were not that type of travel team.

Derelict jerseys with the ironed on numbers peeling away.

Snap back hats, before their revival, that were all larges

Some kids had to have the plastic tabs down on the last button

Plastic X on the back of their heads,

tan lines in our red necks.

Various ranges of gear

Nick with his doctor dad actually sprang for a custom bag with our logo on it.

James with his pastor father didn’t even have a bag, just a mitt on the end of his bat.

Me, somewhere in between

A new bat for Christmas but cleats a half size too small, didn’t need to lace them

 

They say the grass in greener on the other side.

This grass, spray paint perfect.

Squared groomed outfield, raked and water sprayed infield.

The Diamondbacks versus the Silver Spoons.

Actually they were the Braves

But we all knew their actual team name.

We were snakes in the grass

Able to strike without being seen.

Bottom of the order batting around each inning.

Us spraying their fielders everywhere from the plate.

Them, shut down by our 70 mile hour hurling future high school quarterback.

Pleased to pile back into carpooled vans for pizza after beating the Silver Spoons.

Me picking perfect green grass out of my cleats and flinging it out the window.

02/30 Mango

Mango

I’ve never cut a raw mango before

Never hacked the fruit away from the immense pit.

Attempt to peel the green and red skin from the orange pulp.

Can count on one hand the number of times I’ve eaten mango

But that moment, a beacon on the chalkboard sign

“On Sale: $1.50” and I said Can’t be that hard.

My sticky counter and dulled knife now argue that hypothesis.

 

Black faux granite shining with juices

Spilt over cutting board and hangnails

With just enough juice seeped in to make it sting

My own skin not split quite wide enough to actually rinse out.

Mangos don’t come with instructions

like pineapples do.

Little cardboard attachment to stalk

Info card attachment to stalk

One side cutting methods

Converse to random facts

Did you know the pineapple is actually multiple fruits fused together?

I did not.

Mango is singular

Enough fruit post-hack job for one.

 

Fairly certain I’ve hacked enough toughness out of the center

I sit down and feed a piece to my girlfriend.

She exclaims That’s pretty good

Stinging in my fingers dulled for the moment.

 

01/30 Riders

Spent quite a bit of time on the bus this winter, here’s a quick poem about one day.

 

Riders 

Harsh wind bites at any piece of flesh showing.

Scarves wrapped three times round.

Windpants, (yeah windpants) pulled up over jeans and covering boots laced high

Over two layers of thermal socks, long john underwear, thermal shirt, flannel, sweater, dark colored jacket

$1.75 in pocket, two days from payday.

Two degrees on the huge lit up board display after the time

Which seems ungodly, the time and temperature.

It has only been 3 minutes since I last checked the sign.

 

Riders crash together stood from back bench to the driver’s yellow line.

We’d all complain about being too close if the group heat wasn’t helping

No matter the scent of the man near the front

Or the constant drum beat of the headphones on the teenager

I can watch the volume deafening him each moment that passes.

One arm held aloft to the bar

The other huddled in tight clutching transfer card and pulsing fingers

Hoping to get sensation back before the transfer.

It doesn’t happen.

 

Transfer in the gleam of the Blue Cross Blue Shield building

A frost on the one side of Jefferson while Beubien has a sliver of reflected sunlight

We all huddle onto that sliver the fifteen minutes we can waiting,

Hoping that each air brake system we hear around the corner is the 53.

One SMART bus rolls by, and then another.

Streak of red and 70’s orange in the wrong direction and we all grumble our own pieces

Finally a signal in the distance as the bus lets its last southbound passengers off

We press to the door, it remains locked.

The collective dirty look the bus driver receives as he answers his phone while we wait could turned a pristine ER room to a junkyard.

Finally he relents, opens the doors wide and the warm air spills onto what feeling skin we still do have.

We hop on quickly to a friendly, ‘no fare, keep going’

And my day begins.

Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability Launch

MMPGS logo

MMPGS logo

Working for Michigan Energy Options through the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability, a HUD/DOE/EPA federally funded grant, we launched the portal site hosting the information regarding the nine projects in the MMPGS. MEO runs the lead on two projects, one being an energy audit of buildings in the Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue corridor, and the other to create an online portal to engage Mid-Michigan citizens. After competitive bids to build the site my supervisors chose Gravity Works Design and Development and we worked with them over the past 6 months to create the portal site. In combination with the web service MindMixer were we launched the community forum last year we are proud that on May 1st 2013 we launched the MMPGS site. Below are some of the finer points from the project along with photos from the respective pages.

Note the photos are a gallery and you may peruse through all of them, links to the respective pages are provided in the descriptions

MMPGS HomepageThe process working with Gravity Works, my supervisors, and the partners within the MMPGS critically taught me how to manage many opinions with the technologies and time available. I worked closely with the Gravity Works team through the information architecture phase by mapping the site and its purposes. I insisted upon creating a fully responsive site to allow for numerous access points for the Mid-Michigan residents and if you visit the site on any browser and any device you will see it properly works with some small adjustments to allow for load times and size of display.

I worked together with the graphic designer to create the official logo set and worked with the wire framing of the site with the lead designer to make sure Gravity Works understood the feel, flow, and depth of what we hoped to get from the site. Over three months time they built out the back-end and they utilize the DotNetNuke content management system. During that three month window I learned the behaviors and best practices for DNN, thankfully after my work with WordPress and Joomla the learning curve wasn’t too bad.

MMPGS-mapMy main work after the back-end was built before launch was to create and manage the appropriate content for every page on the site. I was tasked with finding and mapping all points on the Interactive Map. We created sorting features and I chose the logos, color schemes, and then hand imported geo-tagged locations with the pop-out information and the proper links to all the places mapped. We also included and events category that automatically fills in as the community calendar is filled.

MMPGS NewsAdditionally the site needed a catalog of content that users can explore when they visit the site. Namely I post related news articles on the News page and worked with Gravity Works to create categories for users to filter the news. Once the site went live I have focused on creating traffic to these news articles via our social media strategy utilizing Facebook and Twitter for the most part. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the growth of our social media and web traffic since we launched just over a month ago.

MMPGS Timeline

One of my favorite projects was creating the Timeline content for the interactive timeline. Using the Timeline JS open source scripting I was able to easily import new content and create interactive content for users to learn where the program came from and where we’re going. The timeline is another great example of how we wanted users to be able to interact with the site and also allowed us to be able to continuously import new content and create a more dynamic experience for the users once they’re into the site.

MMPGS Partners

Our Partners page was highly important to make sure we properly highlighted the MMPGS partner organizations, supporters, and of course recognize the work of the entire program. After working with Gravity Works to create custom responsive columns I was able to fit in all the logos that reworked the secondary level partners into equal sized logos, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission as the main fiduciary partner at the top, and then the supporters of the project along the bottom. It is always a tough call to create some sort of space for the partners to be highlighted and as you’ll notice on the homepage and in certain sidebars we have a great rotating image gallery showing each logo briefly so that users know who is involved with the project, even if they never visit the Partners specific page.

This project was so large in scale it really taught me how my studies prepared me for large scale projects. Setting out with a clear vision, working though wire frames, user experience testing throughout the process, and making creating all the original content has me appreciate full on launches so much more. With the State News redesign we were fortunate that the content was consistently being created and we just had to lay over the new design, with this project I can now say I’ve worked through a launch from start to finish and for that I am very grateful.

Michigan Energy Options Newsletter

During my internship for Michigan Energy Options the communications team was tasked in creating the quarterly newsletter.  The organization had previously sent out one other E-Newsletter and had created an account with MailChimp.  Being unfamiliar with the program I immersed myself in the forums and learned just how tough it can be to work with newsletter clients.  In the previous newsletter they had had issues with delivery and content.  That is to say they had written articles and delivered it exculsively in email format and for my opinion I do not read full articles in my email, let alone 5-6 articles.

Therefore I came up with a plan proposal for Executive Director John Kinch and the rest of the communications team to reinvent how we send the newsletter.  I offered up to create a new template in MailChimp which would give snippets of information and then link over to a PDF full text document.  Initially it was rejected but after convincing them that users don’t read past the first two articles with some impromptu user testing I was allowed to continue.  With that I did just what the plan prescribed.  I took the content we had after it was finally edited down and built out a full PDF with relevant images, formatting, and newsletter look and feel in adobe Acrobat.  I then took those articles and edited them down for the email version that would be sent out to people on our list serve. You can click the image for a full sized version.  I redesigned how layout of the article by putting the “call-to-action” buttons along the top of content and then used images and a slightly altered color scheme to have a “Read More” button that would then direct users to that article’s page in the PDF hosted on the Michigan Energy Options site.

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