Welcome

This web page is a place where I post my ramblings and writing experiments. It is my hope that this platform can be used to reach those who connect with the things I am addressing and possibly even provide some comfort in their not being alone.

Disclaimer: If anything on this page comes off as pretentious, underwhelming, poorly edited, generally rough, amateurish, adolescent in nature, verbose in terms of content, excessively wordy on topics that would be better handled with brevity, redundant, lacking in diversity, or even just vaguely shitty, be confident that I most likely am thinking the same and am praying that putting this out into the world justifies its existence.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy!

– Tyler

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Four Quarters (Poem)

December.

When I was ten years old, my coaches gave me a high-five for breaking the arm of the other team’s quarterback. My defense has always been my offense.

A few Novembers ago, I coached Pop Warner Football for boys ages 8 to 10. One thing I would always tell them was to never hit with the top of their head. You see, if you hit with the top of your head, right at its center, your neck will compact and you will not walk off the field. I told them this because this is what my coaches used to tell me.

In October, you wear shoulder pads so when you hurt other people you don’t feel a thing. You wish you could wear your equipment everywhere.

By your Varsity year, you can count on your one hand how many players you are friends with on the team. With each hit, you pray the windowpane behind your face mask shatters. Coaches tell you, above all else, leave everything on the field come

September. Coaches will also say if you are looking down you will not make the tackle. At fourteen, I am realizing that this is flat out bullshit. Coaches say if I continue to “spear” other players that I am not going to walk off the field. At fifteen, I am taking this as reassurance. God knows how many times I had my skull bashed in that

August. I am at my team’s award ceremony and am being called up to receive Most Valuable Defensive Player. Next year is Junior Varsity and I am going to be team captain. Everyone is clapping in the heat of

July, a month filled with unbearable migraines. They begin with the appearance of a halo after I make contact: a halo is a visual smear that is similar to the effect of staring at the sun for too long—This would be followed by procedural numbing from my arms to my face to my legs and torso until I feel nothing. The car crash collision of head-to-head contact echoes into

June.

When putting on one’s neck-strap becomes the placing of the noose around your neck and

When the kickoff becomes the kicking of the stool from out underneath you and

When the snap of the football becomes the snapping of your cervical spine in two.

When this happens your three-point stance has long been you peering off the edge of a cliff waiting because

Maybe the pigskin will fly and descend into the arms of our Slot Back Receiver as you touchdown into the Earth. And the halos from before will become the halos of angels as they move from the sideline and into the end zone to lift you up. The crowd will cheer with remorse and cry with joy in the stands, their stomping on the bleachers your swan song.

So this is what it feels like to leave everything on the field. [Deep breath]

April is an alarm, April is when you realize that there is a lot more to life than four quarters, April is when you realize you don’t want to end up dead like the Junior Varsity player who killed himself when you were just a Freshman. Remember how you recoiled when you heard they were burying him in his uniform. So I

March off the field and confront my coach. I am not playing my senior year. I remember shaking as the words came out of my mouth, it felt like treason. But my coach understood. There was almost relief that I wasn’t going back on that field.

February is when I call my old Pop Warner football coach and ask if I can help out next year.

January of last year I found this letter:

Tyler

Just a note to say Thank You for helping with the team this year. We appreciate your dedication and commitment to the boys. They all looked up to you. Thanks again! Mitey Mite Gray Parents

Something Was There

Something was there and I killed it with words.
My poetry is a genocide of moments whose beauty is rendered flawed by description.
The pains of the world are the paints of the artist,
And I draw blood from you just to make a piece whose artistic equivalence lies somewhere alongside a child’s amateurish finger-painting.
Look, I’ve done it again.

Peripherals

Which is better, one or two?
One is neither near nor far-sighted.
One is blind to what is in front of you,
Where floaters come like memories
And cataracts linger like regrets.
With no prescription,
A dark curtain settles across your vision.
Though, the obscured is not always the desired,
Blind spots can shield,
The strains can bring tears and the tears can bring
Relief.
Perhaps, degeneration is a correction;
Inherited from ancestors whose biology determined it best
That some things be better left unseen.
Two is contact lenses where you feel nothing at all
Dried eyes where tears cannot flow.
The loss of abstraction,
Definition betraying beauty.
The bifocal manic depressive unsure where to look.
The optometrists’ optimism towards his profession,
That the gift of sight is just that,
A gift.
But do you want to see what is behind the curtain,
Or would you rather feel?
Which is better one or two?
Does the last line even matter?

Nothing I Write Matters Anyway.

A blurred world turns outside the taxi cab, transposing concrete landscape into something more abstract. A stop light grinds things to a halt; liquid nature sent relapsing into its habitual rigidity. Watch the weave of pedestrians thread the needle along the crosswalk. These scenes play out a thousand times irrespective of an audience. This is anywhere else.

And so the conversation slips: “Why are you afraid of me?” Jacqueline inquires, her head tilted at a 45-degree angle resting her line of sight along a horizon toward his discomforted face. The autumnal fade casts flickering shadows upon her cheek from the car window. It is the afternoon, mind you.

“A Thousand Times” by Jinsang

Something Less Than

Whisper your shades of chaos into the sky
While I shoot the breeze
And surely you’ll want something more.

So, where to begin?

With your beauty wrapped in synonym,
My plastic savagery of words is thrust upon you.
You, whom my pretentious
Nature hangs like dew on morning’s sleeve
In forests where diaphanous woods bleed
Down rivers whose tears still scream
Past thickets from knotted dream…

You let me talk over you.

But, I let you drown in my wreckage.

See, my ‘comfortable’ is the sound of you waiting for my finished sentence.
See, my ‘comfortable’ is a conversation between both me and myself.
See, my ‘comfortable’ has no vacancies and since you’ve only just arrived I’m afraid there is no room for you.
See, you haven’t said a word and I’ve already heard far too much…

So, where to end?

You’ll whisper your shades of chaos into the sky
While I shoot the breeze
And surely you’ll want something more.

And even if your face changes
I’ll swear the voices were the same,
For how many people can share your name?
Wait, “What was your name again?”

Rimbaud, etc.

“But do you know anything?” Someone should have asked.
They took the man’s words for their own and never saw they were born orphaned.
He gave you water and told you it was wine.
And you believed him.

“But do you know anything?” Someone should have asked.
We never knew him, though we know him so well.
We welcomed him into our hearts, the poet he proclaimed himself to be, and we felt what he commanded us to feel.
And never did we ask.

“But do you know anything?” The question which would extinguish the fire of his answers.
You take the man’s words for your own and never see that they were born orphaned.
You drink his water and tell me it is wine.
And you believe yourself.

Fault him as I may, he was no idiot.
Only an idiot listens.

Been a While (Late-Night Quick Sketch)

In her eyes, I saw the world.” Max’s breathy voice swells with a marketable romanticism found in images of first kisses, long walks on the beach at sunset, and couples lying in bed staring into one another. Sean only sees the glowing scalp of the elderly woman’s head in front of them. Split ends haphazardly rappelling down the wrinkled mountainside of her neck via tenuous gray strands. Age leaves grace at the door, he thinks.
“This morning I awoke and, for a moment, I felt her in my arms once more. I could feel her tender cheek pressed against my chest, a warmth I have not experience in a very long time. But, alas,” even ‘alas’ veered on the side of “a bit much” in the face of Max’s usual blend of forced poetics and clichés. “I looked to my side and what do I find but my pillow!” While Max erupts into a hearty bout of laughter, Sean’s brain is struggling to process whether Max’s use of the word ‘alas’ is permissible considering his focus’s insistence on being fleeting given the captivating nature of the head and everything. “You could imagine my dismay!”
After feeling prodded by Max to return with some sort of verbal confirmation, Sean returns a hoarse, “Yeah.” There was this quality about Max where if even for a second you decided to think about what he said, Max would flood back into the conversation and prevent you from ever looking back. This was all the more complicated by Max’s usage of over-the-top aesthetics in his speech. So even if his message was relayed with coherency (which was atypical), your ability to construct a thoughtful response required game-show buzzer timing. Naturally, almost 85% of people’s responses to Max consisted of: Sure, definitely, yep, yeah, cool, of course, okay, fine, I have to go, I really must be going, I would love to talk more but I have to be going, look at the time I’d better leave now while I can, we really should meet up again sometime but I better be going, I have your number so I’ll call you.
“My chest burns with an insatiable love for her.” Sean suspects each of the woman’s gray strands to be moving of their own accord. He is not entirely sure, it could be the wind, but there is something unnatural in their movements. Hair, when full, or at least concentrated, moves in ways that are agreed upon. This woman’s hair moves like the dispersing of a school of herrings. Sean weighs the curiosity of placing his hands on her head and performing massaging movements against the woman’s possible irritation when having her head handled in such a grotesque manner. But was it really all that grotesque?
Joshua, who has been silently mouthing the word “insatiable” since its birth from Max’s mouth, is becoming impatient. “Can’t believe the line is this long just to get a slice at 1 am.”

Probably (Enough definition)

Though on the horizon, tomorrow is never. Monochromatic shades of moonlight pierce the window of a slanted ceiling overhead. Outlines of the room persevere against the colorless push of night into day. Nora lies somewhere between, her body rounding the edge of a swirling landscape of blankets, pillows, and sheets. Stranded on the shores of consciousness, her state is a matrimony of asleep and awake. Waves recede and her thinking becomes unmediated. She feels, somehow, less alone.

Crashing down from far away, “The voiceless contemplate the prospect of what their voice may one day sound like.” “So much time wasted thinking about what it means to think rather than to engage in the activity itself.” “The recursion spelled out so clearly, thinking about thinking about thinking about thinking…” “One could lose themselves in such a loop for who knows how many years?” “But would they be able to tell?” “The real question being whether they would even want to know?” They call asking for her to let go.

Her eyes open and she finds herself staring up at a window. There is a great comfort to be had in these pauses of consequence. Whether she returned to sleep now or later, there would be no difference. Five minutes of awareness would be compensated in the years of dreams to come. Arms and legs blooming, she stretches towards the corners of the bed. She feels at home.

“Would you?” Faded conversations from days past mesh and coil like ivy along her internal narrative. One moment she is embracing how soft her bedding feels, the next disembodied voices sputter like contorted voices grinding against the static of a poor radio signal. Nevertheless, she thinks she would.

Still holding. A consuming bundle of vertexes and apexes upon a mountainside wrap into a cerebral fold; her mind rolls back and the rip current pulls her under. Her thoughts drown in the voices from before and she ceases to remember herself. She lets go.

Portrait of the Artist and a Young Man

Words breathe life into a world otherwise unrealized. A city, a park, an afternoon. In terms of emotion, the setting draws heavily from Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, but the details are decidedly more American in essence. A pond serves as an opportunity to flesh out the scene later. Look, a child toddles over into the arms of his father where he is lifted up in the air. Central Park, a familiar location for any audience and a wise choice. We come upon a park bench seating two artists, one younger and one wiser. Action.

“What do you wish to write?” The wiser brazenly asks, both catching the younger off guard and serving as an awful transition in conversation from their prior remarks about bipolar weather patterns as of late. As the younger searches for an answer, he sees the wiser’s patience declining at an exponential rate.

“Well, I think a lot about the meaning of everything,” the younger’s eyes drift into that no man’s space they always do when he’s trying to speak in his writing voice. “Not to sound cliché, but my focus remains intrinsically bound to the questions of what ‘this’ is all about. With regards to art, socio-economic hierarchy, solipsism… I am talking serious ontological navel-gazing here.” With the younger’s line of sight perpendicular to the wiser’s, there is a great deal of eye-rolling on the wiser’s part missed by the younger during his soliloquy. “I know this all sounds strange and forced on my part, but as technology advances I find myself connecting less and less with our ideologues of years past. The world feels cold even when it looks most alive. Why am I here?”

The younger brings his eyes back to the wiser’s and is heartbroken to notice the wiser was not paying attention at all. In fact, the promise of a return is kept as the wiser watches a string of ducks navigate to the pond’s center. “See, and I am unsurprised this has yet to occur to you, the only person who gives a damn about your understanding of the world is yourself.” The ponds of central park are both cute and iconic in their presentation. “People want a good story, something they can take in with their own understandings of the world. What you are talking about,” the fountain of the pond turns on and the sight is something to behold, “Is crafting their understanding for them. People want to be told what to look at, not necessarily how to go upon looking. As a writer, you present the ‘what.’ If I were you, I would leave behind your notions of grandeur instead of continuously failing in some attempt to formulate a panacea for mankind’s understanding of itself.”

The younger is staring down at his shoes feeling most humbled. Scans of any semblance of a counter-argument are interrupted by the wiser. “Before you go and try to ‘win’ back this discussion, it is critical that you understand this: You know nothing. You know only what it is like to feel confident in your beliefs and not even know with certainty what those beliefs really are.”

Has someone ever rejected you so heartlessly that your ego evaporates and your esteem becomes a cruel punchline and your emotions are no longer felt but recalled? The wiser saw such anguish in the eyes of his younger and felt half-assed remorse. “You’re something else though, I’ll give you that kid. Can’t say I recall meeting a fellow like you in a while. So terrified and bold in your naïve attack on the world at large. Reminds me of my own youth, to be quite honest. And still to this day I know nothing. So perk up, enough of the long face, you still have time yet. A virtue not all of us have.” And the man died right there in that very spot after finishing his last “have.”