The meaning unfolds and ebbs downriver
to the banks of a town that I faintly remember.
I’m not in a woven basket or nothing,
it’s not so biblical and serious,
but I am more buoyant than I would have imagined.
Every thought in my life is swirling underneath me,
the bad ones and the good ones.
I’m glad they kinda even out for the most part;
and the water is a pleasant temperature for the day.
I’m sorta suspended there, hanging, by the banks
of that town, so I decide to get up outta the water;
inspect the downtown and ya know … people watch.
There’s a lot of people I remember and some I don’t,
They’ve got other things on their mind so they pass me by.
The metaphor for life and death is a river, I always thought it’d be a train station.
(On returning back to Cincinnati after a road trip to see a best friend from college)
There was a time when my feeling of home was neat.
Neat like a young boy dressed up in polished, brown
leather shoes, creased slacks and a multicolored,
polo shirt from Kohl’s that cost $12.50.
I was not a troubled boy from a troubled home,
nor was I an Airforce brat tucking my teddy goodnight
in twelve different coastal cities before the age of 10.
My feeling of home, as I said, was neat.
The postman delivered my mail, mostly from relatives
at the time, for well over fifteen years … until he retired and
we got a postwoman (how progressive). We stayed in
one place so long we saw the rise and fall of a man’s entire career.
All I was really certain of was the feeling of home I felt.
There were tears for missed kisses and for scraped knees,
but there was always a bedroom to retreat to. And there
was always a stocking with my name on the Christmas mantle.
I haven’t had a feeling of home like that in twelve years.
The ‘something solid’ has been missing from my heart
and I’ve been balancing my emotions as well as
sub-prime mortgage spending at the millennium’s turn.
I’ve lived in houses since, yes, not homes. Not my home anyway.
Maybe we are all just strangers missing the same made-up
feeling of home. If we have no place to rise from, to retreat to,
to protect and keep, will we ever feel complete?
My name is carved into the wood under the marble countertop
in the kitchen at the address of 185 Nod Road Ridgefield,
Connecticut, where once stood my home.
It has since been painted over.
Lord, you are good and I am confused.
Most of the time.
Maybe almost all of the time.
You love me.
And I love you, but mostly when I feel good.
You are filled to the brim with wonder.
So am I.
You are creative.
So am I.
You choose people.
You choose people.
Make me more like you today.
I love you.
In poetry, everyone seems to know what kind of tree.
“Crickets cry by the black walnut tree.”
Everyone knows what color the gardenias are and they don’t have to ask what part of the world gardenias are from.
The red-bellied birds are from this place and the black-capped ones are from that one.
The Ottoman Empire ended precisely then.
Job was obviously feeling this when his new family arrived from God.
The stars above Washington state twinkle differently than they do in the south of France.
An esplanade is the same as a promenade.
It’s obvious to each dramatic, idyllic, one of them.
But it ain’t so obvious to me.
In poetry, everyone seems to know what kind of tree.
Here we go again.
The truest sentences.
I am more content in this quarantine than I ever imagined I would be.
I am finding some rhythms within social distance and ways to keep from feeling alone.
I am talking to A LOT of people on the phone haha.
I am afraid of the unknowns in this unprecedented situation.
I am getting kind of tired of the word ‘unprecedented.’
Losing an old friend to this virus, admittedly, there was a long pause in communication between us, is scary and deeply sad.
He was unfailingly kind to me.
It feels like there is something always in my periphery; a lingering sense that things are not right.
However, there is also an optimism that through this, I will cherish things more deeply on the other end.
A touch on the shoulder.
A crowded dinner table.
I am struggling less with depression right now.
I am not ‘desiring things to end’ or to die right now.
My conversations with God seem a little bit more authentic.
There are times that I make bargains with him.
I tell him that I don’t think this is my time to go.
I wonder about ‘his timing.’
Sometimes, I feel that he is very distant and cold like a big scientist conducting the ‘human experiment.’
There are other times when I call him “father.”
Sometimes, I wanna run as far as I can from my “christian upbringing.”
But, still, I find myself writing worship songs.
Every poem seems to bend toward faith matters also.
I am so blessed with friendship.
I would also like to be blessed with a marriage to a wonderful woman.
I do feel that is coming.
I worry too much about my own physical appearance and sometimes I project it on to women I am interested in.
I would like to make money off my creativity and also feel money can cloud the art.
There are areas of my life that lack stability and I am afraid to bring another person into the mess.
I can see every person as a human being right now.
I see everyone as a brother or sister, the body of God – his church.
I also see how frustrated and hostile we become at slight differences in perspective.
I am calling you to love anyway.
I enjoy this practice of writing my truth because it forces all the bull shit out.
I am on a journey to find peace.
My reservoir of hope seems more full.
Thank you for what you add to my life.
Our connections are even more deep than we realize.
Your friend Ty
The Internet Ate My Childhood
These movies made me laugh, cry, sing and dance … and a lot of emotions were felt in between all that.
The Rise of Skywalker
Swiss Army Man
Lord of the Rings Series
Harry Potter Series
Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Life of Pi
Safety not Guaranteed
Men in Black
The Tree of Life
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Across the Universe
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Wild
Man on Fire
Stranger than Fiction
Friday Night Lights
Remember the Titans
O, Brother where Art Thou
The Sixth Sense
Warriors of Virtue (I’m kidding and not kidding)
Muppet Treasure Island
Leon: the Professional
Dazed and Confused
Back to the Future
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The Blues Brothers (my personal favorite)
Give me a warm bed to rise from,
A guitar to write songs with,
A pad of paper for my poems,
A ham and cheese sandwich for lunch,
A mid-day walk around my neighborhood,
A friend to talk to on the phone,
A something sweet to eat,
A clean and tidy room,
A midnight walk up to the deserted campus,
And I will be content.
Great music can come from anywhere … even Philadelphia. Here in Cincinnati though, we are inevitable. I say that, tongue and cheek … you get it. Anyway, this is a playlist of artists hailing from Cincinnati. Great artists if you ask me. Most of them I’ve seen live, at one point or another, and I dig their recorded work a great deal also.
This playlist is carefully curated (big ups to myself) and moves on a journey from your car in the garage, to straightforward Rock on the radio to, picking up speed, a little Punk to a flow-state of Hip/Hop and R&B. Hard left turn to Americana and Folk …
Keep going straight to what I might call (overly simplified though it is) “Singer/Songwriter.” Once on the freeway, put down your windows to some Dreamgaze – hypnotism. Indie Pop and 80s synth is the next exit. Once down the off ramp, wave to the folks juking and jiving on the Riverboat. You might, if you listen carefully, hear some carefree, almost Reggae tunes, down on the banks.
Back on the highway, Indie Rock is on the dial and it’s smooth sailing back home. Car back in the garage, comfy clothes on in the living room – and the record player spins some softer stylings.
Take the journey with me! Hear the great sounds coming out of our city! People joke at the quality of our music scene … but those cynics don’t know the treasure lying within the I-275 loop.
If you would like to nominate a band you love, please leave a comment or a message. Cheers!
I organized the first batch of song titles in this playlist to tell a story:
“Public Service Announcement” – signifies the moment that everything changed and we moved to words like “quarantine” and “social distancing.”
“Strange Times” and “The times they are a’ changing” – signify my initial response (and everyone’s too) that the world might be falling to pieces.
“Buggin’ Out” and “Stressed Out” – signify the panic.
“Go it Alone” – of course, the social distancing.
“Say it ain’t So” – Is this really happening?
“Unfuckwittable” – stay six feet away, please.
“Hard Knock Life” – It’s hard out here. Is this the “Upside Down,” Hopper?
“Loser” and “Creep” – I’m all alone. There’s no one here beside me!
“Heart of Glass” and “Hard Times” and “Disaster Tourism” – all pretty self explanatory.
… and then it gets pretty dark and heavy from there in the story. (shrugs) haha
These are Strange Times and the songs listed here (jams in their own right) are a little off center as well.