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.

He is the dark from which evil draws inspiration

Became the dark, did he at last
And ransomed hope for power
While clung the mate to his mast

The crew low and wayward asked
What to make of this ghostly hour
Became the dark, did he at last

The mate cried to crew, hold fast!
And the shaky men threw fit and cower’d
While clung the mate to his mast

The ocean roared like storms of past
And rose the water to mighty tower
Became the dark, did he at last

The blue did churn as far and vast
As his sunken eyes could scour
While clung the mate to his mast

Marvel did he, at his wayward cast
While the ocean spray did mist a shower
Consumed by dark, was he at last
While clung the mate to his mast


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.