Recently my close friend, big brother, and creative mentor Ty passed away due to the Covid19.
I do not know how to do justice to his memory or even begin to convey the level of heartache I am feeling at his passing. I will be trying to process my grief through writing and some of that may or may not end up on this blog.
Until then I wanted to share this poem. I wrote it back in 2017. Ty had been criminally slept on during his career. I refuse to shy away from this fact especially right now where all of a sudden I’m seeing glowing tributes in mainstream media outlets that ignored him during his lifetime.
He had decided to take matters into his own hands and had pulled out all the stops to do a gig marking the 19th anniversary of the release of his debut album “Awkward” that was released on Big Dada. He had decided to perform the entire album, start to finish with a live band.
Anyone who’s followed Ty’s career over the years knows that he excelled at live performance, particularly when he brought live musicians into the proceedings.
I and so many of Ty’s die-hard fans could not wait for this gig. The gig was on May 31st 2017 and I wrote this poem in anticipation of the gig as I had been reflecting on his music and his friendship.
The first two lines of my poem were inspired by the following lines from Ty’s song “Closer” from his 3rd album “Closer“, the music video for which I’ve embedded below.
“Nobody ever said it was easy
and if they did they’re trying to tease me
I struggle with my demons discreetly
standing on my granddaddy’s shoulder
Trying to see more than I’m supposed ta
Can I get closer?”
The first two lines in my poem are a reference to the 3rd line of the excerpt from his song “Closer” above.
That 3rd line always pained me as it was Ty alluding to something that many of us experience and feel, but only he was brave enough to voice it on wax.
Here is the poem in its entirety
My brother struggles with his demons discreetly
While I struggle with that
The flip side to wearing your heart on your shirt sleeve is you can’t be discreet while you wait for the wheel to turn
It’s jammed right now
And no matter how discreet I try to be
Unpacked emotions spill over in every interaction
36 years on
I still can’t walk without crutches
My mother wanted me to be my father’s strength
I failed miserably at that
It’s all inverse
This prolonged adolescence
I need to snap out of it
Peter Pan syndrome
I was told I wanted to be a man in my 20s
And now a boy in my 30s
I’m a child in fact
I wish I’d inked Corinthians
Don’t care how many mocking & scornful glances it draws
It’s the one wish that has remained constant
It’s my totem now
Reminding me if I’m in that dream-like state the world strong arms us into
Or if I’m truly awake
When I’m wake
I take long walks
Powered by the voice of a mortal who was fashioned from the most magical clay & cosmic dust
I’ve shed tears while in the presence of people sharing their light
He made me weep
You’d think my vision was obscured through all the tears washing over my corneas
Now I see clearly
5th May – 2017
Trafalgar Square, London, UK
Ty – 1972 – 2020
RIP = Return if Possible
RIEP = Rest in Eternal Power