Quarantine Poem #4 “Content”

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.

TS

Quarantine Poem #3: “Candy”

What if we gave out love
like bags of candy at halloween.
What if we went door to door
and told people we love them
without ever having to say the words.
What if the whole world loved
their neighbor. And I mean just
their next door neighbor.
I see a new future for us,
A new trajectory, where we give
out our love like bags of candy
at Halloween.

TS

Singular Voice

Poetry stands alone, different from song.
It speaks with a singular voice, not chorus.
It’s often the voice of your grandmother, I’m told.
She is old as old can be, generations flow through her.
In that way, a poem is in chorus, the murmuring of many
But mostly a singular voice, your grandmother’s.
Not aloud, but in your head.

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.

Wanderers often ponder in the redwoods.
Winter chills the rivers in Alaska.
Bravery ended slavery down the railroad.
Poets write their sonnets about the plains.

Deliver me, Ole’ Liberty’s Pennsylvania.
Take me back to Eden once again.
I can see the city’s bright, white glowing.
We seem to be freedom’s only friend.

A song rang through the pines in Carolina.
I can hear it soft when I close my eyes.
They’re singing country music down in Nashville.
The blue and gold sunset paints the sky.

The artist had a dream called independence
We reaped the fruits from our very soil.
There’s apples in our orchards fresh like water
We work as one and never seem to toil.

Where, but here can you see such beauty,
Oceans foaming, washing on the beach.
The tides are turning, sweeping in a windstorm,
A change is gunna come right at our feet.


We look down the barrel at our neighbor,
Because he landed late and traveled far.
I don’t know why I say the things I’m sayin’
But I say them anyway to raise the bar.

I’m thankful for the folks that serve our country,
Though I wish their leather boots could rest at home.
They make their guns for a boy to carry,
His blood as interest on an open loan.

What to do with our piles of money,
That trickles down to everyone but the poor.
Throw them out and leave them on the doorstep.
Maybe we could use them to fight the war.

We traffic our daughters down the highway
We throw them out when we’ve had our fill.
We’re sick and sad and take it out on children
Untimely truth, a jagged little pill.

God fearing, apple-pie-americans
Claim to love the Lord, a hidden face.
I can see a day through all the hatred
When arm and arm we sing Amazing Grace.

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