Undiscovered Self – Original Poem

folly1Am I really who I used to be?
I am who I want to be?

Songs of yesteryear playing in my head
A merry-go-round of familiar faces reminding me
Reminding me of the paths I did not take; the roads I did not pave
Each turn I reach out for the comfort of another heart

One that wrote me the letter that sits in a box
Those words still ring true today for another

Love is a splendid demon filled with fire and rage; subtlety and pleasure
Like a bed of roses, it teases me with its fragrance and cuts me with its thorns

The blood is dry now, no longer flowing through my veins bursting in scarlet red

I sense you
Holding on to me, holding on to you
It is a sensation I have not felt since we walked the beach alone, tickled by the stars
The waves reminding us of second chances, always returning to the big blue sea

Am I really who I want to be?
The answer is in these tired eyes

A warrior without armor, vulnerable and exposed
A fighter with no hands, void of the power to retaliate
Spited without being wronged

I look behind at my shadow
un1An outline of who a used to be
I look ahead to a blank sheet waiting to be written

Am I really who I want to be?
This is a question for the wise men resting on the mountain tops

For now, I take comfort in the undiscovered self

Sadness in My Lover’s Eyes – Original Poem

sad1I see the surrender in my lover’s eyes
A sadness co-exists in her unspoken lies
I can only sit back and empathize as I remain paralyzed

Words cannot penetrate the darkness as trust is but a cliché bottled up in her childhood castle

I want to fill that vacancy; to penetrate that black hole and find your lost happiness on the other side

This is the dream I have for you
A dream of promise, not defeat
A dream fulfilled by a revelation of the holy spirit written as a pledge

A burst of happiness can hydrate this depressed dehydration

Still the white flag is raised, waving beyond the pupil
Lost and despaired

Choose
Choose between the madness you call reality and the potential of a new beginning

Walk with me, barefoot and free
sad2Walk with me toward that warmth
It is a golden age we set forth to
Enlightened by love; empowered by trust

Let go of defeat and be not led by perils

Break these shackles with me
Break, breakaway

Now Run
Don’t look back
Run away from darkness

The Flight of Captain Mark: The Day I Earned my Wings

wings1There I was, a boy of no more than seven walking through that corridor to that wings vessel and seeing an outstretched hand holding the wings I’d been waiting for all week long.  There it was the symbol of Eastern airlines with gold wings spread ear to ear.

“You earned my wings young man.” she said with a smile. I had.  I closed my hand as tightly as I could. I wasn’t going to lose these.  I was an honorary captain about to fly up into space and come back down at land at Disney World.

Yes sir, Captain Mark will be leading this expedition to the great unknown.  Finally, after what seemed like hours of waiting for all these people in polyester and plaid fumbling with their leather boxy things,  I got to my seat.  I pinned my wings on and bounced for joy.

It was official.

I lifted the metal ash tray door to unlock my imaginary intercom and welcomed the passengers to their flight.

My mom and dad didn’t seem as confident in my flying abilities as I did, but then again who had the wings.

Mission control, we are check for take-off.  The light above my head lit and beeped assuring me all systems checked.

Time for one last system walk through.

  • Tray table latch, check
  • Cushion seat, foamy, check
  • Arm rest, mobile, check
  • Magazine with Farrah Fawcett check
  • Fan, check
  • Seat belt fastened, check

Houston we are ready for lift off, wherever that magical place of Houston is.

Time to let my wings take flight.  Buckle up folks.  This may be a rocky liftoff, but you are now in good hands.  Captain Mark is here to take care of you.

wings12

A Cold Day in November – Original Poem

river1

By Mark A. Leon

It was a cold day in November

Winds fought our journey down the river with the force of an army of thousands
Piercing through our pores like venomous darts shot from behind the tall oak trees
Leaves of pink and oranges lay on the ground reminding us of a season passed

In a moment of playfulness, she straddled a fallen branch.  Head to toe in a long black overcoat and hat.  So beautiful; so youthful

For an instance I saw a little girl with a smile of innocence
Ready to play in the swift autumn freeze

It was a cold day in November

Mountains closed in fear of icy danger ahead
Rocky waves spiral the water down the river bend

I caught her faint screams, “Come on, let’s play by the river”
She ran and leaped over branches without delay
Beating the winds and winning the race

I caught up and felt the rush of a long hug at the finish line
She smiled
Cold and fragile
Happy and safe

river2Alone, just the two of us
The creatures of the forest hibernating
Waiting for warmer times

We were two kids escaping for a little while into a world we created
Filled with color, sounds of brisk water and songs of the wind

On a cold day in November in Asheville, all was right

How to Succeed on Instagram Without Even Trying

inst

By Mark A. Leon

The magical phenomenon of Instagram has taken the world by storm.  Are we truly surprised at its overnight success?  As humans, our response to visual stimuli is much higher than audio, verbal or context.  It is under the umbrella of one of the largest digital firms in the world.  It lets us become magicians without needing the expertise of Photoshop.

I think we have explained that spike in popularity.

But what makes one Instagram grow faster than another?

What makes one have a higher engagement level?

Disclaimer:  Now, before I go on, let’s throw out the established brands, the celebrities, athletes and “what do we call reality stars these days”?  This is normal folks that live normal lives every day.

Next, let’s eliminate those that “buy” followers.  How can you tell someone that “buys” followers?  Very simple.  If they go from 150 to 1500 in a matter of two minutes, purchased!!!  If they show that instant growth, but total engagement does not increase at the same rate, purchased!!!!

Engagement Definition

For those that do not understand engagement, let us explain.  Engagement is when you take the total number of engagements (likes and comments) and divided by the total number of followers.

Example: You have 1000 followers.  You post a picture that gets 100 likes and 10 comments.  Your total engagement is 110/1000 or 11%.  So 11% of your followers are interested in your post.  In social, we often mistake raw numbers for success.  Engagement is the critical element you want to pay attention to.

If I have 50,000 followers and 500 likes, that is only 1% engagement.  If I have 5000 followers and 500 likes, that is 10%.  I’ll take the second option anytime.  That just means higher conversion to whatever message, idea, product or service I am selling.

insta1Now the reason you are all here:  How do I maximize my engagement and continue strong organic growth?

  • Quality.  Whether it is 1900 AD or 3000 AD, quality will always be critical to success.  I don’t care if you are sharing a picture of the cutest dog in the world.  If it is blurry, you won’t get the interest.
  • Respect your community.  Community is everything.  Every follower is choosing you because you have something they can relate too and thus want to be part of your “community”.  Don’t post and ignore.  Respond to comments, engage with your followers.  Show them it is a two-way street.
  • Variety and diversification.  If you are selling tires that is great.  If you put a picture of a tire up every day for 100 days, you will lose more than you will gain.  People want variety.  They want change.  Put the tire in a hat.  Dress one up as Santa.  Get creative.
  • Don’t post more than twice a day.  Over-saturation of anything is bad.  Think about those spam emails.  I think you understand.
  • Timing.  If nothing else, pay very close attention to this bullet point.  Timing is so important in your strategy for success.  So when is the best time to post?  Glad you asked.
    • Weekend and mid-day week day are bad.  If you are in a holiday or vacation spot, even worse for weekends.  People are out on weekends and working during the week days.  Yes, they have their smartphones that never leave their side, understood.  Honestly, with staff meetings, desk audits and Pokemon searches, it is hard to keep up with Instagram during those times.
    • Mornings and evenings between 8 PM and 11 PM are big success times.  When we wake up, Instagram.  When we are home eating or watching commercials, we Instagram.  Between innings of the game, we Instagram.  Having that special alone time on the toilet, Instagram.
    • Bonus:  If you post between 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM, you have the carry over effect.  That means you will get a push in the evening and then a follow up in the morning for those that missed it due to the late posting time.
    • One thing to keep in mind is that most brands are regional (local).  If you are focused on an international audience, these rules do not apply due to time zone differences.
  • Keep it clean – We clean our rooms, our kitchen, bathroom, cubicle, office and car.  Why not keep your digital environment clean?  Hmmm, valid thought.  Every now and again, go through your posts and delete those that have lost relevance and treat your account as a re-birth every few weeks or months.

There we have it, your simple tips to a successful Instagram account.  Be creative, diversify, respect your community and most of all, have fun.

inst2

My Emancipation – Original Poem

yoga1Stop, breathe, be still
It is the moments that freeze in time

Forced thought
Derived emotion
Filter out the bad to penetrate the good

This is my emancipation
I have loved

A flawed soul in a flawed world
In mistake, I have found fortune

A bounty of unconditional devotion
A river of enchantment that flows through this wonderland

I have scripted a blessing to each of you that has touched this delicate heart
A proclamation spelled with a hug
A letter to thank you. A letter not defined by its words, but a message of tenderness the requires only a tingle

In this life, I have cried the tears of happiness
For each of you has devoted a piece of your being so I may learn the art of appreciation

In this life, I have fallen
Each time I squirt at the sun, a hand of generosity lifts me

In this life, I have lost
Alone in an abyss of infinite existence only to be found

In this life, betrayal has been a shadow until I found the light

yoga2My being is a sculpted piece, unfinished
A work in progress
With chiseled corners, I take shape
Each touch brings the energy of life and closer to invincibility

This is my emancipation
My beginning
Let the masses hear my song
It is loud and pure; hopeful and alive

What a feeling this is
A personal zen

Antagonist of Life – Original Poem

dark1Deep in the swells of our hearts we are all waiting
Waiting for the end of the world

An ugliness of chaos and insanity swallowed up by despair and then nothing
Silence; existent void

We cannot stop time
Merely we can play with its emotions
Tingling, toying and declaring a statement of invincibility
We are but immortal fools

The clock ticks
Louder it seems

Time is running out on the bucket list
Once filled with sunshine, now drowning in sand

We throw props at our maker
Quoting his verse
Buying time with our riches
Like a force field without weakness, the brides bounce off

dark2Wrinkles entered uninvited
Settle until the lease runs dry

Philosophy takes flight
Fear death?
Fear unknown?
Acceptance
We look around for answers and only darkness is clear

It’s all forced agony
Life, the great antagonist
Rolling the dice and forcing your next move