you said you wanted pop

He’s got his finger on the pulse – heart beating, thumping, pumping blood to his extremities with a resounding thwack. The bass drum pounds, feet down, stomp because he feels something.

We don’t contemplate jazz anymore, Alan. We howl and wail against hermetically sealed
pop music and her perverse soullessness. Perfect and empty. Unblemished and unattainable. Utmost beauty in a vacuum; cartoonish and ballooning, expanding in every direction; gobbling up talent and creativity in a plundering gluttony.

Take every breath out and missed note and brighten the blues to a soft periwinkle. Remove our humanity from the track. Take her voice and record it 500 hundred consecutive times; compressing the sound of her grandmother into a thin, indistinguishable reed.

You said you wanted pop, but instead you got this. 

My creativity is not a commodity

My creativity is not a commodity. My musical mind is not for sale. My worth is tied to something else, I’m afraid, my imprisonment is out on bail. You cannot buy my peace from me and leave ‘worry’ on my stoop. I will not open bills from the likes of those, living in a feedback loop.

My hope is not a bargaining chip, much less my cartwheels in the sun. I have developed calluses from a long race being run. The toughness of my tender heart, an oxymoron in the least – though you must mind my six foot sword, if you call yourself a beast.

Frivolity, like eating cake, is a business of my own. You might call my work a sort of ‘laziness,’ pout and lip at my poems. Meditation is nay a waste – for the productivity you seek. I’m waiting for that fateful day when progress ain’t so chic.

Take my clothes. Take my house. Do with possessions as you please. But carefully watch your materialisms falling to their knees. My creation equals sanity – a bottle rocket headed such. It’s just for me, all my own, if ya like it, thank ya much.

The Prince of Nod

I am a young boy, waiting in the reeds. I crouch and make myself as small as possible, trying not to disturb the small creatures. The soft light of my home ripples in the pond as my mother calls me back inside. I’ve been trying to collect bullfrogs in a small inflatable pool; up to my ankles in mud. The green leaves are as fresh as they can be and in the distance, a faint thunderstorm echoes mildly like knocking on a soft, dead tree. The water in the pond has baked in the sun all day and remains warm to the touch while I run my fingers through the tall grass that extends out of the banks.

Up the hill, my family prepares the dinner table out on the porch; a chandelier of candles drips intermittently and the wax solidifies onto the glass table top. I take my time walking up the drive, cool blue and fresh green painting a summer’s night with fireflies sparkling in the valley between our house and the neighbor’s. Nothing could feel more safe.

I have trouble remembering how perfect it was then, my family was whole – no one was sick or separated. This was our castle on the hill and we ate dinner that night in a suspended oasis, covered from the storm by a plexiglass ceiling fixed to the side of the house. I was lucky. I don’t feel that way as much anymore.

The Dancer

I’ve always admired the graceful movements of a trained dancer who moves each limb deliberately and with such purpose. It’s thoughtful and balanced; mindful of each timed second that passes. It actually speaks to me in a way that I don’t expect, like there is, in fact, order to all of this swirling madness and it makes me think, I would like to see, at some point, the gears move behind this elaborate clock and pay attention to all that I am currently missing.

The Concrete Truth of my Youth

concrete

The concrete truth of my youth
is now a malleable putty
slipping through my fingers.
I much prefer the solid nature;
so stern and unyielding.

Now, I look down the barrel to
this kaleidoscopic goop –
rainbowing permanent circles
into my vision; bending back onto
itself in an accordion fold.

It used to be “THE TRUTH” with
all capital letters, but now it’s
“your truth” all lowercased.

I forget where I am all the time
and step into the frame a
second late, it seems.

The truth is less like a police
officer and more like a prisoner
serving time for a crime he did
not commit.

I fear I was trying to enforce
the wrong things … and they
listened to me anyway.

-TS

2019 Christmas Poem

I am a little late, but no matter 

Down the lane, past the snow
brushed street, through the hush
of thicket, over the icy brook and
up; there is a sparking light in
the night sky glad to be nestled
Northmost against the heavens.

The light waves like a fire’s dance,
glinting a multi-facet in the seeker’s
eyes; beautiful in its radiance.

This star reminds us most of a
Bethlehem’s birth, carrying a
Messenger into the world with a
letter in his pocket of love and
affection.

I have, at times, forgotten the tone
of the letter, but will do my best
to remember it this season.

Let’s help the lost find their
way again. Let’s see our homes
restored. Let’s be a symbol of grace
incarnate, filled with light and love.
Please, let us be kind to every,
single, living thing.

Maybe you are like me and get lost
in the unanswerable questions. There
is a line I often repeat when I have
come to a breaking point, ‘If Jesus is
for the poor, then I am for Jesus.’

Merry Christmas to you.

-TS

Megaphone

It is not until I’m seated in a reclined position that I realize how heavy the mental burdens of the day have been. Then I can see how unwieldy they really are. 

I’m wondering out loud a lot to my fifth grade definition of God. “Why all this pain? Why all this broken and bent and tragic? What are we doing? What are You doing? Do you love us, still? Did you ever at all? 

Basically, it boils down to : this life is really hard. A real slog at times. 

God doesn’t like to be asked direct questions, it seems. He likes to whisper in the wind and speak in a mourning dove’s song. I’mma be honest, I get pretty tired of discerning meaning from the breeze on a blade of grass (that’s a joke). 

How about some megaphone responses? Maybe he does that too in the face of tragedy, but I’m talking some straightforward, not cryptic, unmistakable commentary. I mean all of this light-heartedly (for now), but it would be nice to see some road signs marked, “Tyler, go here.” 

I’m in a life-lull for the moment and a big, clear push is welcome.