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I tried to write a sonnet: A sonnet by Mike Cole

I tried to write a sonnet

I tried to write a sonnet, I really did.

Hours I worked, yet nothing truly clever.

Iambic pentameter brought that to a skid.

I realize now, a fruitless endeavor.


Stressed and unstressed can be tough, what to do?

My first poem never saw the light of day.

I watched the clock and time accrued.

Shakespeare was brilliant, what can I say?


If I had my way, every line would rhyme,

Yet I’m committed, this sonnet will be done.

The point of no return has arrived, climb!

All this time spent… I could’ve been seeing sun!


Alas, no more shall come of this sad affair.

Awake! Awake now! Wake from this nightmare.

So, if you follow my blog, you’ll be aware that over the last few months I’ve been playing around. Trying out different forms of poetry, starting with free form, then writing limericks, and now a sonnet. If you follow my twitter, I’ve also tried my hands at haiku’s. And I have to say, it’s been fun. With that said, the sonnet sounds easy on paper but is extremely difficult to execute. I wrote and rewrote this multiple times, until I threw up my hands and went from a serious sonnet to a humorous one. I might try again down the road, however, I am content with just writing poetry as I see fit; my research has concluded and I’m excited to officially bring poetry back to my blog. If you’ve been here since the beginning, you might remember ‘Fruitful Fridays’ where I analyzed a poem every week; well, it’s back (not every week, but hopefully at least once a month), except I’m doing the writing and you get to analyze! And as always, let me know what you think. My blog is designed for discussion and I always love hearing your comments!





Mike Cole’s deep dark secret: What I did cannot be undone

It started with a simple idea, a comment made by a friend, jokingly. She was talking about her trip to Ireland and made the odd remark, “I only date men who shave their armpits”. For the sake of accuracy, I must confess, this was almost 4 years ago, when I was but a Freshman in College. And it could very well have been another friend telling the story. Regardless, that’s besides the point, the idea remained. An idea long forgotten until I traveled to Germany for my last great college adventure and went to the store for the first time…

At the store, I decided to buy deodorant as any clean, well kempt man should do. To my horror, the deodorant was tiny! This simple difference changed the course of my German experience forever as I was haunted by the question, “why”? The argument can be made that everything is bigger and better in America, so we simply get more, yet, somehow, I found that answer to be less than satisfying. So I dug deeper and 2 months later I found my answer; it wasn’t just Germany, it was Europe. Everywhere I went the deodorant was tiny! At this moment, I knew I was onto something big.

At this point in my journey I had traveled all across Europe, blending in as I said “Ich bin ein Genie” and “Ich bin müde”, two of my favorite phrases. But none of this got me any closer to an answer. Until one day, when one of the German students was repulsed after seeing armpit hair on an American. The dots began to connect and it all made sense. Europeans shave their armpits. Men and Women alike. And just like that, the mystery was solved. Less armpit hair means less deodorant and quite honestly means people in Europe as a whole smell nicer. That night I slept like a baby and didn’t think much of it; yet my tale does not end there.

Many believe that there was only New Hair, New Mike; a rebirth of a person as he chopped his mop and become the product of envy among men and the epitome of desire for women [insert winky face here]. Yet I was curious. Driven to the brink of insanity towards the end of my 4 months, I did the unthinkable. I took my dull razor (worn thin from months of shaving my hefty beard) and went straight for my armpits. Yes, I, Mike Cole, in an effort to be fully immersed in European culture, shaved my armpits. And worse? I liked it. I felt clean and free much like when I shaved my hair for the first time. And then I got a rash… Fun fact, armpits are fairly sensitive, so don’t use a dull razor blade. Fast forward to present day. The year is 2018 and I’ve perfected my technique. Electric trimmer, shaving cream, then razor and you’re done! Note, if your skin is extra sensitive, use skin lotion after shaving to prevent irritation. Ahem, anyways…

It’s been done; a secret I thought I would carry to my grave, a sin now to be judged by my fellow American (and my lovely international audience). So why talk about it? Is it because I am currently reworking how I write and needed something to post? Partly! But more than that, armpit hair is actually disgusting when you think about it. It catches sweat and even if we slather on deodorant, it still drips and is absolutely gross. Shaving fixes this problem and you get to use less deodorant (which means you save money!), so go ahead, don’t be shy; shave and watch a miracle happen.

Thanks for reading! A quick announcement; I am a recent college grad or aka a broke person. As such I created a Patreon to help support myself. A dollar a month means I can buy a lot of rice and perhaps not starve to death. And thank you to my first donor, who pledged $5 per month; it means a lot and it’ll be exciting to expand the blog with the money.





A thought experiment: Reaching into the void

So I had this idea late at night, went to bed, and still thought it was a great idea when I woke up. Does that make it a great idea? Not at all, but let’s give it a try. So for the last few months I’ve wrote quite a bit but believe it or not, many of my posts have not seen the light of day. So instead of simply discarding the drafts into the trash, I wanted to make a post instead. I took the best lines from each and simply posted them. A few snips here and there and we have a glimpse into my mysterious mind. This is very much what you make of it. The quotes are posted in reverse chronological order so if you want this to be a story, it can. Read it bottom-up or top-down. Or do you find it to be more poetry than story? Really, it’s up to you to decide. I personally am very pleased with how this turned out. so without further ado, enjoy.

As I said earlier, my last week has been nothing but Netflix and chilling. Usually at this point cabin fever starts to set in and the sane start to become insane.  People get guilt tripped into thinking they’re wasting their time. While some experiences may be a waste of time, it all comes down to perspective and how we draw information.

So I’ve been doing some soul searching for the last few months. A lot of big questions with few answers. This idea of knowing who we are, who we will be.

Time. Once gone, it cannot be replaced. No amount of money in the world will buy you more time, another day on this planet. From the day we are born till the day we die we are racing against time.

This is a post about fear, vulnerability, and the future. I am currently unemployed, alone, and still searching for happiness. Happiness can come from fulfilling work, meaningful relationships or any reason in-between.

When I was growing up, the portable cellphone was a novelty and house phones were all too common. That was 1993. Remember floppy disks, then the Walkman, then Zune? The birth of CD’s, the internet as a source of entertainment? Hard to believe that’s all been within the two decades that I’ve been alive.

So I’ve been stumped about a topic for the last week. I keep writing drafts and then shelving those ideas to continue my Netflix spree. I have been home for the last two weeks and forget that my brother and I are yin and yang.

For most of my life it has felt as though something has been missing and every once in a while I’ll get a taste, a flutter of the heart and then an emptiness as the moment passes.

I was terrified of almost everything. Perhaps most so, my future. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we fear and in the end, how much of a relief it is to face them. I spent a lifetime running from my fears. The one emotion I haven’t been able to conquer is love. Relationships are messy, complicated, and to be honest, don’t seem to be worth the hassle. People are terrified. Do people love because they care or because they are afraid of dying alone?

It’s time to talk about the voice inside the back of our head. The one that leaves words unsaid and gives doubt a field day. Yes, I’m talking about ourselves! As the old adage goes, we are our own worst enemies. We can spend years perfecting who we are only to have our little voice tell us our work isn’t good enough.

Life is made up of little moments and it is in these little moments that we hold our future.

As much as I like to think of myself as a man who has freed himself of his problems, that I have not. For some reason, when life is good, I simply can’t appreciate it. This year I learned to live in the present moment, to appreciate life as it comes. I wanted to be better, so I worked on being vulnerable.

A man of two worlds; the old and the new.

If you like what I write, feel free to share with your friends. And please let me know what you think! The last few months I’ve been playing around with lots of different ideas and so far the reception has been overwhelmingly positive! If you have an idea, comment! And who knows, I might write a post about it. As always, thanks for reading!


The life of a Traveler

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

As I currently plan out my future from now till my death bed, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about travel. A year ago come August, I left for my study abroad experience in Germany. I forced myself to go. College was a time for stepping outside of my comfort soon and becoming the person I always wanted to be.

As it currently stands and as I will say many times, I am making my way North. Portland is a fantastic city and I could live a happy life here but it would not be a fulfilling one. I would wake up one day and ask myself, “is this what childhood Mike would’ve wanted?” The answer would be no. The kid who would dress up in a suit with a clip-on tie for school photos, the kid who, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up would reply, “successful.”  It would be a dis-service to every dream I’ve ever had and dreams yet dreamt.  Call it cabin fever, call it wanderlust but the world is meant to be explored.

Life is not measured in the things we own but rather the experiences we have. And as it would come to argue, it is much easier to create new experiences when you’re on the move.

I lived 5 years in Corvallis, Oregon for College so Portland is a nice change. Yet imagine Seattle. Then Vancouver, Canada, then Quebec. Spend a few years in France, then Germany, Austria? That’s the life people envy.

And perhaps we can broaden our definition of traveler. Why limit it to the scope of a geographic location? The reason I love travel is the immersion. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to see the world through someone else’s eyes and am sure many have felt the same, if only for a fleeting moment.

If you’re in Germany, you drink beer. France, you drink wine, smoke slim cigarettes and eat snail. Jokes aside, there is a reason I still practice German. There’s a reason I started learning French. It’s a connection through language.

There’s literally no point in staying put. Take a good friend of mine for example. He majored in chemistry and minored in dance. Guess which degree he uses the most? Dance. I envy him. That’s fulfilling. To go against the tide of others expectations and do what you love. Some spend a lifetime searching and even then…

I think we could all use a little more dance in our life. I’m not talking about black-out drunk, making questionable life choices dancing. I’m talking about something a little more elegant, a waltz. Or perhaps a tango, cha-cha, etc. A little spice, a little fire. Travel fulfills. No one became great from staying exactly who they were. They might become good enough, but does that really sound like a life worth living?

So go travel. Start with a country and then evolve. Through a dart at a map and buy a one way plane ticket. Terrified of a country? Pick a city, a town, a new friend. Start somewhere. Who knows, life might just surprise you.

Thanks for reading! If you like what I write, be sure to follow and tell your friends. Feel free to comment below. Talk about travel, bestow wisdom, anything.


The curious case of Michael Cole: A tale into the art of being stuck

So it’s time for my evolution. Like a Pokémon, I’ve leveled up enough to become someone else, something else. But what is that something? That’s what we’re going to explore today because as of right now, I’m stuck and yet I’m free. If I were to take from 1984, I would call this doublethink, the idea that I can be two seemingly contradictory things at the same time. I got my degree and my tunnel vision has been lifted. And while I’m happy right now, I’m not satisfied, I’m not fulfilled. Call it a quarter life crisis where I must choose my future. I have knowledge yet I don’t know where to apply it. Call this my therapy, writing words on paper (so to speak). A public brainstorm if you will.


What goals do I have? As a newly graduated college student, it’s tough. I was so eager to hit the reset button that I didn’t realize what that meant. It’s one thing to think, it’s a whole different story to live. My goals, as ambitious as they have been, have been achieved and now I can create a set of new goals, both short term and long term. Short term is easy, catch up on Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. But long-term? Oh my, that’s much tougher. I think my main issue is assembling my team, my inner circle if you will. My most trusted, most competent friends that will follow me as I build my empire. I never thought I’d achieve independence yet here I am. The problem is now I must seek interdependence. The collaboration of brilliant minds, to create ideas that I cannot even fathom at this moment. That is the dream, yet how do I get there, that is the question. This is a new challenge. A college degree was the ticket to my future and now that I have that ticket, now I have to figure out what train to board. Sales, marketing, management, research, writing; I want to do it all. Yet how? I am great at answering the “why” yet the “how” is always something I’ve struggled with. I want stability yet I also want the unpredictable, the exciting moments that come from branching out.

Can we have it all?

I believe the answer to this question is yes. That’s the “why”, the question is the “how”. And it is OK to say I don’t know but personally I like shortcuts. People say there are no shortcuts in life yet that’s not entirely true. We have so much information at our disposal that answers are simply a google search away. Yes, you’ll still need to work for what you want, but we save a lot of time nowadays with our connected world. So this is an exploration topic. If we can have it all, what are the right questions? Depends on the situation. Yet there has to be a standard and with all the books I’ve read, I still haven’t found a universal law or standard. Yet this is the wild west, the exploration of the human mind. Understanding what makes us human. So what does? Love, human connection. That’s all fine and dandy yet it’s easy to implement. It’s a necessity, not a solution. Altruism? Giving more to others than you give to yourself? Noble, but unfortunately is not a philosophy that will lead to long-term happiness. Creativity? Yes, perhaps, but how? People say creativity is lost and yet I don’t think that to be true. I believe creativity to be ever present and that people have simply closed their minds (whether knowingly or not). So let’s start there for the rules to set in place.

The Rules

And perhaps the rules don’t have to be in chronological order. So how does one spark creativity? I recently experienced burnout. I love learning so I didn’t think one was possible for me. Yet towards the end of College, I couldn’t seem to keep myself engaged. I was successful and it bored me, who would’ve thought? And now I search for more answers. The creativity question just recently popped into my head. That perhaps my problem isn’t in what I can do but rather in the fact that my mind is dry. Interesting concept. At this point I would be considered incredibly smart, handsome, and funny (sarcasm, I’m not that much of an egomaniac) and yet it’s not enough. Why? The creativity, or diversity of ideas problem. If you keep achieving you have to constantly improve otherwise you risk being trapped in The Void. You reach a new level of being and if you cannot stretch the mind, you cannot innovate and you cannot create. The solution? The rules? Oh, that is the question! And I’d say it’s as simple as acknowledging this fact. That creativity is always there and that all you simply have to do is take the plunge, the Great Dive. And that you do not dive once but you keep diving until the day you die for once you fear the plunge… Then you cease to live and forever remain in The Void…

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my musing and exploration in today’s post! As far as the coming weeks, months, etc. I am looking for ideas. Eventually I want to have a team of writers but for now it is still just I, with all the intimacy you’ve come to expect. In the next week or two I might start pumping out reviews and recommendations or I may not. I need to refine my writing process and I’m starting to develop systems to do so. Expect better content as the blog grows and I’m glad you could join me on this journey! Questions, thoughts, ideas? Feel free to post below!


Journey’s End Week 4: Baby Don’t Hurt Me

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln

So, my 69th post on WordPress… What better topic than love? Love is a complicated subject. Part of my goal for this series is to express some of my vulnerabilities, something I’ve never bothered with the entirety of my college experience. I see vulnerability as a weakness, something for people to use and exploit. I’ve spent the longest time learning to love myself and in order to express vulnerability, you must first build yourself up otherwise you’ll be crushed into oblivion.

If I had touched these topics years ago, I would’ve been labeled a social outcast, a loser. Not that it would make that much of a difference because people just saw that kid who played too many video games. When I would have a conversation, it’d most likely be about video games and people would say, “oh, that’s cool” and then walk away. I never fully embraced who I was and that’s a mistake I hope you don’t have to repeat. Whatever you like, be proud of it and love it. Life is too short to care about what other people think… Ah, If only it were that simple… And especially when it comes to love.

Love is all you need

So as I will emphasize throughout my posts, I have changed a lot since I’ve gotten to college. And I’ve more or less seen it all. I suppose I’ve always had a vision, some distant mountain that others can’t see. And I’ve been a hopeless romantic since day one. My love life has seen more mistakes than it has ever seen successes. I’ve stumbled, fallen, and then love has beaten me with a stick and not in a fun way. But I’ve learned, I’ve evolved. Each time my heart has been torn out and shattered, I’ve taken notes. It’s never been what they did wrong, it’s always been what can I do better? Don’t underestimate the power of theory. I have been mocked for waiting so long to date and yet… When I do, I understand. And I’ve gotten, well, let’s just say I’ve gotten some interesting results. Dating should be fun, not stressful. And if a woman (or whatever rocks your boat) gives you that sweet siren call, strategize. Do you know how ship captains died? They followed the Sirens calls into rocks or got dragged into the depths of the Big Blue. Don’t be that person, I’ve learned this the hard way. Even if a girl is rubbing against you, violating you, and doing God knows what, don’t fall for the trap. Instead pull out your notebook. Why? Because one day you will have control. I’ve spent years reprogramming who I was only to have that thrown out the window every time a cute girl locked eyes with mine.

People are…

Shitty. Sorry to offend, but it’s true. I will say, while good intentioned, peoples actions don’t necessarily reflect what they say (or believe). If you don’t believe me, just look around. It’s not hard to find. People over commit and then fail everyone. People have an issue with saying no, they say maybe instead. Yes and no are much simpler. Instead, you have to play the courting game. And especially in college, it’s a free-for-all. Friends turn against friends and what was once true now isn’t. Those who seal the deal have to fight and all I have to say is, “does the end justify the means”? And I should add; if you’ve won the battle, that does not mean you’ve won the war. You must be constantly improving otherwise the relationship will stagnate and wither. Maybe you get lucky, maybe you find your true love in pre-school or whatever fairy tale you live in.  For the rest… You’re in the trenches only to realize you’re fighting a pointless war. The greatest tragedy of this conflict is time. There is only one person you need to love and that’s yourself. Spend time with yourself in the mirror, smile and remember how great you are.  Having someone to cuddle with is great, but it is not an end all, be all.

How am I still single?

The question that must keep many up at night (so I like to think). The answer is quite simple. By choice. I like myself and don’t want to share. I’ve always waited for the right girl to come along and by the time I had the social skills to woo the ladies, it happens to be my last term of college. Most find love their first few years of college and in a sense I did. My only focus was to love myself and I accomplished that. Like I’ve said before, time is the most valuable resource we have and I spent almost all of it on myself. So if you’re ever worried about finding love, don’t be. Just enjoy the present moment and blaze your own trail. If you’re always moving forward, you’ll have no need to look back. Thanks for reading!

Feel free to share any stories below! Nothing to crazy though, at the end of the day I still have to keep this blog somewhat professional.


Journey’s End: A Journey worth a thousand words

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When we reach the end of our journey and look back, what do we see? Are we kept up at night tossing and turning, mulling over what could’ve been? Or do we remember what was, as adventures turn to memories? Do we ask ourselves if we’ve lived true to ourselves or do we envy that which we do not have? When we dream do we dream of distant mountains or do we dream of valleys far below? When we wake, do we wish we were dreaming? When we look in the mirror, do we see our shattered reflection or do we see ourselves as if for the first time?

Once upon a dream

Yesterday after class I decided to go for a walk. I’ve been walking a lot lately. This time it was back to the beginning, where college began for me; McNary dorms. It’s been years since I’ve made my way over to that side of campus and a part of me misses it. The sheer simplicity of Freshman year, when nobody expected anything of me. I went to class, ate, and spent a lot of time in my room. I didn’t have many friends but the friends I did have, we’d meet up, play poker, watch walking dead every Sunday night; it was fun. A lot of my time  was spent just trying to find my way in the world. I was quiet, awkward and not at all confident. My solace was playing video games. Video games told stories and were the only thing I truly felt I was good at. I liked reading but always felt self-conscious as throughout elementary and middle school I was always forced to read books that didn’t interest me. Classes bored me and as such I always fell behind. When it came to classes, I was always living in someone else’s shadow. My parents always hounded my brother for getting poor grades so I always felt the need to try extra, extra hard. The irony is, that because I tried so hard, I became my own worst enemy. Had I just been focused on myself, I could’ve easily been one of the best students, the one who gets “most likely to succeed” in the year book. Instead I tried to imitate my brother and live in his shadow, always reaching, but never achieving. The best part? My parents took a softer approach for me. They simply said, “do your best” which I interpreted as “We don’t care”…

So come college, this trend continued, except with one key difference, I didn’t have my brother to compare myself to. My brother spent a year at Southern Oregon, a few terms at PCC, and then he dropped out. I was on my own. It wasn’t Jack did this or Jack did that. It was Mike and only Mike. I always thought my brother should’ve been the one to graduate, that I wasn’t worth it. Then I started becoming worth it.

The College of Business

I knew I couldn’t survive in Engineering. I knew my field had to be either psychology or business. I started out as an engineer because I thought that’s what I ought to do, not what I was meant to do. Perhaps in another life, under different circumstances… But I don’t think people realize how volatile I was when I first got to college. Yes I’ve always been sweet, but what is sweet can also be bitter. Emotional stability is something I’ve struggled with for the longest time. When there’s poison in the heart, there’s poison in the heart. Very few have seen me lose my composure and  fewer have seen me loose my temper. This used to be my every day. Few realize what it’s like to be on the brink of insanity until they’re there. To be wrapped in a blanket of your delusions until you’ve warped reality so far that it begins to snap. To teeter on the edge of meltdowns and having nowhere to go as the walls close in. So people ask why I chose management and I ask, “what choice did I have”? Managers are professional relationship builders. They understand the needs of people and work towards common goals. Managers not only manage others, they manage themselves.

When people think business, they often think there is a separation between personal and professional. What they fail to realize is it’s often a beautiful blend. I’d go to class, learn, and then apply. I kept an open mind and I was just happy to be learning as much as I could while I was able. Bacc Core, pre-business, I loved it all. Since day one I have loved being a management major. And perhaps this is because it was my first taste of control, what it felt like to have some semblance of balance and stability. And the more I learned, the more I became. And while it started with classes, it has gone well beyond that point. I’ve read over a dozen business related books. “7 habits for highly effective people” became my bible. I lived by that book. It taught me what I should be and gave me the road-map to get there.  “How to win friends and influence people” became the icing on the cake, teaching technique rather than guiding.

A House of Engineers

For two years I had perhaps the greatest roommates and some of my best friends. I found a group of individuals more awkward than myself at the time, so I fit right in. Engineers play video games and I played video games, so it was a good fit. Better, they were Computer Science majors, who make Civil Engineers seem like excellent communicators. Jokes aside (although I never heard the end of business major jokes) if there’s a group of individuals that have been there to shape my future, it’s these guys. Engineers, for better or worse, are blunt. If you do something that does not make logical sense, like show emotion for example, they will call you out on this fallacy. So many questions… “Why are you angry?”, “Why are you sad”? Or statements… Mostly, “that’s stupid” or “That makes no sense”… It was wonderful. They were there for the majority of my transformation. Day by day, step by step… Sometimes I like to ponder who I’d be if I never met these fine individuals and I can honestly say I don’t think I’d be the same. They met me back when I thought I was a monster, that if I told people who I really was, they’d turn their back on me and run. And yet they didn’t. When I finally did reach my tipping point, they were there to support rather than shun. And that shattered my delusion…

A Fitting End

That’s it for this week. I’ll expand more on these ideas in the coming weeks, as I work towards telling my personal story. This week was more a taste and I have plenty more stories to share. Next week will be a tale of love, as I talk about my thoughts on relationships from an analytical and anecdotal perspective. Get excited and thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment and share below.

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