Madness of Crowds (A Poem for the Pandemic).

Mortality
on the empty shelves
Of ransacked
Convenience stores.
Vitality in the blood
Of our denied veins.

Fear
in the products we buy
Thinking life can be purchased;
Suffocated in the same
Plastic wrap we use
to cauterize our minds.

Greed
Throbs in cellulite hands
Sagging into the coveted.
Monsters who believe
They are victims.
Taking more than their due.

Ignorance
Is the real pandemic.
Humankind has been
Sick with it
From the dawn of time.
And getting sicker still.

Infinity
Is the folly of the species
That worships whatever
They are told.
Precaution is wise, yes,
But mindlessness leaves us cold.

Compassion
is for the brothers and sisters
You have never known,
Yet observe scurrying to and fro,
From aisle to aisle, warding off
The inevitable.

Solitude
Is the beacon of hope.
That the quarantined fearful may
Pick up a book and gain insight, or
Turn off Netflix to be with themselves
For one, single, solitary moment.

Another Night with the Muse (poem)

The muse sits in the corner

of my room; eyes like

vacant saucers.

I sit at my writing desk,

grasping for an image, a concept,

a sentence. Anything.

Nothing comes.

My mind is like this room,

empty, with an occasional draft.

 

“It’s up to you,” says the Muse,

heckling me from the corner.

“Oh, really?” I ask. “Because,

I’m sitting here at my writing desk

and you’re sitting there

and I’m looking at a blank page

and you’re gazing into the creative abyss

and nothing is happening.

So, who’s fault is this, dear muse?”

 

She smiles.

Like how one does at a foolish child.

She smiles.

 

Back to the blank page.

Oh, Christ.

Back to the blank page.

 

The muse taps my shoudler

I look up at her.

She says, still smiling,

“I can’t guarantee you

magic everyday. Don’t you

think it’s a bit presumptuous

to think I can, or

will?”

 

Then she all but vaporizes into

thin air,

except for that knowing smile.

It lingers in the middle of the room,

suspended. Teeth and lips sway

like a cobweb in the breeze.

Soon it is gone, too.

 

I get back to work.

With the muse out of my hair,

I can finally write this poem.

Dear Muse, I thought We Had A Date Tonight (Poem)

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been waiting a long time.

I ordered dinner and drink and

had too much of both.

Now I am overfed and undernourished.

Without you.

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been sitting at my desk

with my pen and notebook and

you’ve not dropped me a single

line, nor image, nor concept.

What gives?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I am drowsy, weak without your light.

Life is a black ball clogging my soul.

My sighs are rancid dissappointments.

Dear muse, I have done my job.

Why have you not done yours?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

Now I’ve got a bad, bad headache,

I’m itchy & my clothes don’t fit right.

The earth turns senseless. After all,

what purpose in life if not to create?

Dear muse, I thought we had a date tonight.

Ode to Caffeine (poem)

When you’ve got the jitters, the best respite is poetry.

Without further ado, Ode to Caffeine:

 

Caffeine
bullet train
ripping between
alleyway neurons.

Strong cup,
keeps me up
raging at dawn
singing my own songs.

Wild brew
shooting through
a star-blown mind;
rapture in the night.

Sip, Sip
jump and skip,
alive and wired;
ecstatic mind-fire!

Heart beats!
machine gun!
stocatto fire!
A soul-rage live wire!

Black Joe,
lean and mean
keeps my soul clean
reaching ever higher.

Caffeine —
drug of choice;
Maddening muse of
Galvanizing visions!

Stained teeth
grounds-powdered
fingers stabbing
delectable keys!

Restless

jittering.

Can’t stop moving

to the rhythm of nerves!

Sunrise
bloodshot eyes
Reborn once more;
An espresso-laden embryo!

A Human Condition (Poem)

 

We all have days

When we want to hide away.

To shimmy one’s mind

Down a cozy chimney.

To turn soul into soot.

To be blackened into

The substance of the bricks.

To not be conscious of anything

Except the solidity of stone.

The scattered ash of cleansing fires.

 

We all have days

When we want to hide away.

To jump in the river

And drown.

(Goodnight, Irene.

Goodnight).

When we want to hop on a boxcar

And head to God’s land — No Where Land.

When we want to feel only

the immaculate fullness of nothing.

 

We all have days

When we want to hide away.

Because being human,

is to know the suffering

Of mortality drenched in the famine of hope.

Of the flesh’s submission to the conveyor belt of time.

Of real, painful strings attached to illusory things.

Things which will fade, like the rose or the sun

Or this withering page, drenched in a light not yet cold.

Yes, we all have days. You are not alone.

 

COPYRIGHT 2019. Tylor James.

Featured image artwork by Edward Foster: http://www.edwardfosterart.co.uk/art-work/the-human-conditions/

It Will Be Winter Soon (A Poem For the Darker Half of the Year)

It will be winter soon.

The cold has arrived, and

ominous white flakes

float the breeze,

like ash on the wind

in Pompeii.

It will be winter soon.

So suffocate your houses

with plastic sheets,

and tack on the lath.

Wrap your windows like Christmas

presents for the dead.

It will be winter soon.

It may come tomorrow,

or it may arrive in

the dead of night.

But when comes, it will be

ivory as bleached bones.

It will be winter soon.

The roads will be choked

with barrels of salt.

Better put chains on those tires.

Better keep some blankets in the back.

Lest you want to curl up with old man Winter . . .

It will be winter soon.

The barren branches stretch

and grasp at the dead white sky.

Tiny flakes drift down like

perfect feathers tickling the ground.

A snowflake is a still drop in an frozen sea.

It will be winter soon.

And the rust never sleeps.

It will eat through your cars.

It will eat through your flesh.

It will sink teeth in your lily white ankle

in December and not let go ’til Spring.

It will be winter soon.

Some of the old shall be snapped,

like a frozen-through pine.

It will put a stop to the young

with a sudden glare of black ice

shining ‘neath a frozen sun.

It will be winter soon.

Haul out the shovels,

and prepare your back for breaking.

Put up a Christmas tree, dazzle your wits

with electric lights and exclaim that they

are better than the sun.

It will be winter soon.

The stars shall shine beautiful,

yet indifferent. People will stay

in their beds and make babies.

Because if it is death outside,

We strive for life inside.

It will be winter soon.

Time for holly jolly.

Time for good cheer.

Because the weatherman says,

all clocks stop now —

Old Man Winter is here.

 

 

Copyright 2019. Tylor James.

Two Men Walking Down the Street (poem)

Two Men Walking Down the Street.

One has the soul of a mongrel.

The other, a daffodil.

One cries in the gutter,

The other blooms through a crack in the sidewalk.

 

Two men walking down the street,

One is heading North,

The other South.

The moment they pass one another,

Is a moment registered infinitely by the eye.

 

Two men walking down the street.

One goes to Paris, France.

The other to Bowling Green, Kentucky.

They lead lives of two separable and distinct passions,

Yet the eye communicates with mystery and stirs the unknown.

 

Two men walking down the street,

One in one country,

The other in another universe.

They will always remember each other

For reasons they will never comprehend.

 

Crowded parties or lonesome apartments.

Dead ends or new beginnings — it doesn’t matter.

There always is, always has been,

and always will be,

Two men walking down the street.

Stephanie Rosella Rose: Poet, Artist, Free Spirit (THE ARTIST’S CORNER)

The following is a column originally written for the New Richmond News. The Artist’s Corner celebrates all things creativity and champions local artists. 

“They call me free spirit, as if all spirits are not free.”

Greetings, friend. Come sit down with us. Let me introduce you to Stephanie Rosella Rose, an artist, a poet, and an intriguing human being. Stephanie and I are enjoying a good breakfast, chatting about art, poetry, self-discovery, and feminine liberation. Listen, I know these topics may seem a bit strange, but they are only a step into another world. Stephanie invites us into that world with the succinct power of her words.

UNEARTHED: Lyrics From the Dirt is her upcoming debut book – a fine collection of 143 poems. As we sit in the simple diner booth, enjoying our omelets, our minds roam the vast flora and fauna of the inspired universe. We share our wild thoughts, returning again and again to the joy of our work — powerful writing. Here’s another of Stephanie’s shorter poems:

“Worship within walls, if you must.

But don’t you know, sacred one,

You are a walking temple.”

These poems are designed to awaken people to the larger reality of who we are and what we are capable of as inspired human beings. Which leads me ponder…is that not what poetry is all about? Stephanie is a poet in the finest tradition, with intentions good-natured and noble, but with a desire to provoke, to stir. She writes in a style that is all at once serious and playful. Not at all an easy balance to maintain, but she does it masterfully.

These poems are thoughtful, cleverly crafted and emotionally provocative. This is one author you are going to want to keep an eye on, folks. Who knows what other great work she’ll be sharing with us in the near future? In the meantime, UNEARTHED: Lyrics From the Dirt is available for preorder on Amazon (click here). This book will be available on Kindle and paperback as of July 12th, 2019.

Oh, and if you’re social media savvy, you’re going to want to follow this poet on Instagram (click here). You will discover dozens of her brilliant poems, for free. Read them. Think about them. Feel them. Then hit that “follow” button, and join the four thousand others whom are subscribed and reading her work. Here’s another of my favorites, one of many available on her Instagram:

“It’s subtle: the beauty when pain arises.

You are quick to credit the flower,

But have you thanked the dirt?”

For this column, I give my thanks to the soil of nebulous creativity, that strange, magical ability that is the hallmark of the artist. I also give thanks to inspiring poets like Stephanie Rosella Rose. Last, but certainly not least, I give thanks to you, loyal reader, for checking in on this week’s Artist’s Corner. We will now end with our creative quotation for the week. The great writer, Franz Kafka, had this to say about the power of words:

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”

Tylor J. Mintz

This, the Written Page (poem)

Sometimes that is the last refuge.

That, the blank page.

I scribble and it is a linguistic sigh, a relief.

I write long and hard

And I am on the moon, beyond myself.

I write steady and true

And I am not a writer, but

I am being written, I am writing.

When I am insufferable to the world,

Thinking the world is insufferable,

I turn, one hand armed with the dagger pen,

And I scribble, scrawl, scrutinize.

Or fingers poised above the granite keyboard

I crack, click, clack

The cool, easy hours away.

 

It is like when lovers

Cease their sensuous tumble.

The breath returns at last,

my soul unsold!

Writing is a glorious, beautiful, happy affair.

(Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)

It is an addiction to Self-transcendence.

When I am not a writer, I am being written.

I am writing, and sometimes,

I arise like a hero, head emptied, stomach starved,

Ready (and willing!) to rejoin society.

Because in my hands I wave

This, the written page.

Zombies (A Poem)

Zombies

These people

Soak themselves in amnesia.

Their brains swathed with dreamy cotton

from cradle to grave.

These people

are as dead as light switches.

 

They are as dead as door knobs,

Yellow highlighters,

Butane lighters,

Soft pillows &

Garbage bags.

 

All the corpses masquerade as the living

while the corporate clowns smile

with big, shiny trademarked teeth.

Behind each Colgate commercial –

Behind each plasticine mask –

A wriggling face is decomposing in worms.

 

Their each act is a senseless trapeze.

Their each moment a continued suicide.

Never once do they breathe

That holy, eternal breath of life,

Never once do they engulf themselves

in a flicker of freedom’s flame.

 

What a shame!