With Nakedness my Shield

May 20, 2017

You can pry
And you can peel
You can flay
You can reveal

Strip me naked
To my soul
Detach my parts
To get my whole

Unlock pieces
That are real
Why I do
And what I feel

But who can ever tell me why
Cannonball Adderley makes me cry?

by Richard W. Bray

American murder bird

May 14, 2017

Our absolutized aversion to dealing with any kind of tragedy imposed from without has truly dark applications. It is precisely this existential-dread level of ass-covering and risk-management that informs the American security state’s adoption of the drone “signature strike,” in which men and perhaps some bystanders near are killed by drone attack even if we have no idea who they are. Their “pattern of life” in Yemen is just deemed too risky for their existence to be endured by the American military. Fire away.
—Michael Brendan Dougherty

He tried to call his cousin
Now everybody’s dead
American murder bird
Flying overhead

Such a lovely wedding
Did you give your mom a hug
Before the murder bird
Squished you like a bug?

The pattern of your life
Gave us cause to worry
Dispatching murders birds
Who needs judge and jury?

Courageous first-responders
Are likely to get zapped
Ignore the murder bird
And feel its double tap

by Richard W. Bray

trail of destruction

May 6, 2017

You went out for some coffee
But you never came back
Now you call me on the phone
And you wanna slither back

You disrupt and take advantage
Everywhere you go
You owe a thousand dollars
To everyone I know

Do you ever stop to think
About the things you’re doin’?
Do you ever contemplate
Your trail of wreck and ruin?

You’ve worn out every welcome
From here to Timbuktu
After all the things you did
Why should I get back with you?

“I just need another chance”
Is all you ever say
Take your basket full of sorry
And please just go away

by Richard W. Bray

delicate and true

April 29, 2017

I’m glad you let me love you
I hope you let me see
All the things you wanna do
And what you wanna be

I’ll get down on hands and knees
I’ll dig your heart a moat
I’ll cover all your tender parts
Wear me like a coat

Tell me what you want to be
I’ll show you what I mean
I’ll protect your eager heart
And defend your thirsty dreams

Allow me to acknowledge
Everything I get from you
And trust me with the part of you
That’s delicate and true

by Richard W. Bray

Applying Joseph Sugarman’s Copywriting Tips to Content Writing

April 24, 2017

Copywriting usually means putting the right words together in the right order to get people to pay money for something.

But sometimes copywriting means saying the right things to get people to feel good about your client.

Content writing is copywriting designed specifically for professional websites.

Content writing shares these two major goals with copywriting:

a) getting people to pay money for something.
b) getting people to like someone/something better.

But medium affects message. In addition to selling the product and the client, content writers must regularly supply a substantial number of words on topics that are useful and interesting to the client’s audience. For example, if the client owns a fitness gym, engaging and informative blogs on health and nutrition should be of interest his customers.

Good content is important to SEO and good SEO brings more visitors and more visitors mean more money for the client. And when visitors stay longer, it’s good for SEO, which means more customers and more money. (Of course, this only applies if you’re selling a product or service people want; not even Don Draper could sell something people don’t want.)

Joseph Sugarman wrote extremely successful advertising copy for a long time. He specialized in direct mail and advertorials, advertisements disguised to look like articles in magazines. It’s not easy to get someone’s attention when she’s sorting through junk mail or reading articles in a good magazine. Sugarman needed to suck his readers into his copy and engage them to the point where they read the entire thing. And then many of them would pick up the phone and call the 800 number where operators are standing by.

Sugarman’s genius is to make his copy extremely compelling from beginning to end.  As any writer can tell you, that’s not an easy thing to do.

People voluntarily seek web content via a link or a search engine.  So content writers don’t need to grab their readers with the same intensity that Sugarman did. But content writers do need to be able to hold their readers, and Sugarman was great at that. Like copywriters, content writers want to hold the reader long enough to garner a sale or at least hold the reader long enough to get his contact information.

Tips from Joseph Sugarman for Content Writers

Here’s some tips from Joseph Sugarman’s Adweek Copywring Handbook which apply to content writers as well as copywriters:

You control the environment. Unlike a store where you spend thousands of dollars to create an environment, you can do it all simply in the copy of your ad or the look of your web site (38).

At the preliminary part of the sale, you must get the prospective reader to start saying yes. In order to do this, you should make statements that are honest and believable (40).

Emotion Principle (66)
a) Every word has an emotion associated with it and tells a story.
b) Every good ad is an emotional outpouring of words, feelings and impressions.
c) You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchase with logic.

You can create a warm and personal atmosphere when you use words like I, you and me. This will create the feel of a personal form of communication (88).

Use as few commas as you can get away with (106).

Break up your writing with paragraph headings because they make your writing look more inviting so your reader will start the reading process (114).

Never forget that just as a song has a rhythm, so does copy (120). Always listen to the words you write inside your head or even read them aloud if it helps.

by Richard W. Bray

Hungry, Hungry Blog

April 16, 2017

I got a hungry blog
I try to keep it at bay
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

My blog don’t even care
If it’s a beautiful day
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

Like the flower from that movie
My blog just has to say
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

I tell my blog I gotta work
With all these bills to pay
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

I try to find a place to hide
I plead and plot and pray
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

It’s calling from inside my head
I’ll never get away
Feed Me, Feed Me, Feed Me
Feed Me every day

by Richard W. Bray

The Ghost of Our Love

April 8, 2017

After all the things I done
I can never hurt enough
It ain’t my conscience talking
It’s the ghost of our love

I wake up in evening
Feel you breathing on my skin
Just the ghost of our love
It’s teasing me again

The ghost of our love
Is laughing in my face
Every time I try and find
Somebody to replace it

The ghost of our love
Reminds me all the time
I’m just another scoundrel
Who cannot face my crime

by Richard W. Bray

Eleven Opening Lines by Nathaniel Hawthorne Proffered Without Further Comment

April 2, 2017

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognised it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison

The House of the Seven Gables

Haflway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.

The Blithedale Romance

The evening before my departure for Blithedale, I was returning to my bachelor apartments, after attending the wonderful exhibition of the Veiled Lady, when an elderly man of rather shabby appearance met me in an obscure part of the street.

Fanshawe

In an ancient though not very populous settlement, in a retired corner of one of the New England States, arise the walls of a seminary of learning, which, for the convenience of a name, shall be entitled “Harley College.”

Wakefield

In some old magazine or newspaper I recollect a story, told as truth, of a man—let us call him Wakefield—who absented himself for a long time from his wife.

The Great Carbuncle

At nightfall, once in the olden time, on the rugged side of Crystal Hills, a party of adventurers were refreshing themselves, after a toilsome and fruitless quest for the Great Carbuncle.

Lady Eleanore’s Mantle

Not long after Colonel Shute had assumed the government of Massachusetts Bay, now nearly a hundred and twenty years ago, a young lady of rank and fortune arrived from England, to claim his protection as her guardian.

Old Esther Dudley

The hour had come—the hour of defeat and humiliation—when Sir William Howe was to Passover the threshold of Providence House, and embark, with no such triumphal ceremonies as he once promised himself, on board the British fleet.

Peter Goldwaite’s Treasure

“And so, Peter, you won’t even consider of the business?” said Mr. John Brown, buttoning surtout over the snug rotundity of his person, and drawing on his gloves.

Endicott and the Red Cross

At noon of an autumnal day, more than two centuries ago, the English colors were displayed by the standard-bearer of the Salem trainband, which had mustered for martial exercise under the orders of John Endicott.

The Birthmark

In the latter part of the last century there lived a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy, who not long before our story opens had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one.

Compiled by Richard W. Bray

Moments

April 1, 2017

Moments of sweetness
Moments of you
Memories of wishes
That finally came true

Moments of tender
Moments of pure
Memories drag me
The lovely we were

Moments of sunshine
Moments of you
Memories of stupid
I cannot undo

Moments of happy
Moments of smile
Memories mangle
You walk down the aisle

by Richard W. Bray

I’m not here to be your friend

March 26, 2017

kindness knows no shame
Stevie Wonder

Men are fierce and men are strong
I’m not here to get along
I shout and shove and get my way
People do the things I say

I’m not here to hold your hand
I’m proud to be an honest man
You won’t hear me apologize
Kindness is for gutless guys

I’m in charge; I make the rules
I’m not here to comfort fools
Do your job and don’t complain
I’m not here to ease your pain

I’m not here to be your friend
Love don’t matter in the end
Got no time for feeling sad
Cuz I’m a man just like my dad

by Richard W. Bray