Neither – Tyler Strittmatter

I deal with a mental illness of extremes. An illness of war and peace. I wrote this poem about the sinner and saint living in me. I am in a period now where I don’t really know what faith means anymore. I feel it is neither bad nor good. Wrong nor right. I still love this poem even where I am at now. I am proud of what I write and I always will be.

Tyler Strittmatter: Neither Jesus nor the Devil from Christine Shrum on Vimeo.

The Devil Fell Too Easy

The devil fell too easy.
We were promised a great adversary
and we got this.
I want my money back.
I want to return my He-Man action figure
because he ain’t got nobody to fight.
Where is this mighty Satan?
‘Cause I make all this sin by myself.
No serpent, no sharp tongue.
I make all this sin myself.
No battles lost, no victories won.
I’m the one who makes the sin.
And I’ve only just begun.

Even the angels have demons – But the demons have a mighty foe

There are not demons telling me to do it.
It is only me.
And that’s all there will ever be.
Just me.

I know the weight of it.
Know what it feels like in my hand.
Maybe I could stab it quick.
Maybe you could understand.

I’ll see it through to the end You see.
See it through.

Gritty nonstop hardness. Violence that spills into the street. Wine pouring to the edge of a glass. Broken glass from a storefront. Front street complete with break ins. Broken bones no simpletons.
“I’m a street nigga” he said, looked right through me. See through cats. Girls try to woo me. Pivot on back foot, grimey chimney soot. I’m strapped and ready for action. Now, gimme gimme more. Let the speakers blow. Let the people know. Wringing out the blood from your white tee. Ringing off hook phones. Hang up tones. Microphones spoken by street corner pastors. Snapped guitar strings.
Hang yourself with ‘em. Pawn shop diamond rings. Midwife bring ‘em. Did a deal with devil? Smarter than ‘em. Shame Lucy with Gucci. Now, gimme gimme more. Let the speakers blow. Let the people know. Put ya hands in the air! Freeze mo fucka Freeze. On ya knees mo fucka on ya knees. Beggin please mo fucka beggin please. For the cheese mo fucka for the cheese. Cardiac cats gunna seize. Askin god exactly what he sees. Shouldda got A’s stead of C’s. Asking Christ who he wanna be. Or is it me?

Bluetooth-fuck off-City
New-tunes -luck draw-gritty.
Not shitty. Now that’s Cincy.

There’s beauty in that pain. Can you feel it? Can you movie reel it? Ask em who the realest. Go ahead, ask em who the realest.

* * * * *

He steps into frame

Full of light, sword in hand

He walks slow

Because he is not afraid

Because he can

He is a warrior, yes,
but also a King

Like a President
and lowly worker
at the same time

The dark is day to him

He is the energy
from which the sun
draws inspiration

With a wave of holy
steel, he casts out the
darkness clinging to my
fragile mind then, He
turns it on the evil in you

He is a tower
made of deafening sound

He is the sound
that a sunrise makes
and thunder rains
that fill up the clouds
then the ponds

He showed me
what has possessed me

He even gave it a name

Then he cut it down
with a stroke that tore
the sky from the East
to the West

The prison,
the seemingly impenetrable fortress
is nothing to him


He rips it into halves
this time with his mighty hands
and scoops me up
and you too

Run, He says,

Run as far as you can
from these things

This is no place for you

Come with me,
I’ll show you what real is


I am neither the demonic high priest that pulls at our sinful hearts nor the savior king sent to tear him apart. Not the wicked warrior who intends to bring the kingdom down or the prince of peace adorned by a thorny crown. I am somewhere in the midst, caught in between the fray of an other-worldly battle waging war every day.

I am both holy and sinful simultaneously. I am a triumphant malady whose oxymoronic tendencies give birth to reveries. And while I often get caught in daydreams of saving the world, I must adopt a different purpose because my savior worked his tragedy for my glory.

I am stained red from a lamb who caused the angel of death to Passover.
My God was maimed then bled from carrying the cross on his shoulders.

Why must I remind myself that I am neither perfect blameless Christ nor slippery sorrowful Satan? Because often I think too highly or lowly of my crooked sticks being straightened.

So for this I must be blatant. I am neither the snake in the grass with a forked tongue nor messiah that air did rejoice to be breath expelled from his lungs.

I am faithful yet sporadic
I am joyful yet depressed
I am sometimes automatic
Sometimes fail to pass the test

I am at times loving beyond all comprehension and others never ceasing to create tension.

They say the earth is a place where both Heaven and Hell dwell. For the non-believer it is the closest vision of the almighty streets paved with gold. Or so I’ve been told.

I can feel overwhelming, incomprehensible good washing over me and small lies breeding in my mind creating self-defeating poetry.

Hopelessly hopeful, deprecating and boastful.

Dreadful, and also headed to med school. Not as a doctor but a test patient come to test your patients. A virtuous miscreant that writes rhymes in the basement similar to Sage’s complacent inspirations.

And this is a cause for celebration.

God still loves me fully.
He refines me daily.
He wants peace for my heart
And I want it for yours.

I speak about peace because it lead me to His feet. A firm foundation in Christ is really all you need.