Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brian R. Gehrlein
October 2009

Percussionist Poets may never write free.
Please read some more and then you’ll see.
For I contain an inner beat,
ticking and tapping from scalp to feet.
This helps me weave ideas in-time
which come in rhythm and in rhyme.
But poet’s prison is my mind
for words I need are hard to find.

In metre always! Why not in prose?
Will I escape? O heaven knows!
But what of choice, of sovereign will?
My life is blank, a page to fill!
Alright it’s done; I’ll stop the verse,
and finally end this writers curse.
I’ll change the words, the form and font.
And write this poem


This is my most recent little creation. I wrote this after a very tranquil and spiritual late night walk home. All I could hear were the clicks and shuffles of my shoes on concrete. I noticed my steady pace and how my shoes seemed to set the rhythm of the night. Shuffle, shuffle, tap, tap, click, clickity clicky clap, scrape, shuffle, step ball change, rap tap tap tap.... (Apparently I was tap dancing home).

This lovely night sat in the wake of a recent conversation with a good friend about my “writing voice." I talked about my poetic form being trapped in rhyming-only meter sort of stuff and how I wanted to get away from that more. It’s not bad, I mean look at Dr. freakin Seuss and Shel Silverstein! Fun as it is I can't be a one trick pony! Those are lame. I want at least two tricks.

Any way I told my friend that I probably wrote metered poems because I have been a drummer formally for nine years and informally since the womb. Ask my mom I'm pretty sure I came out purple and beat-boxing. It was the eighties....

Seriously, I’m lucky to have made it out of Elementary alive…pencils were sticks and my mouth was a fifteen piece drum set….still is.

And so I live my life with a beat in my heart and skip in my step. It makes sense that this beat will bleed into my writing. I just don’t want to be restricted or predictable! We’ll see.

Another thing that has been on my heart has been the wonderful issue of Free Will. I love me some good John Calvin (depending on my mood), don’t get me wrong, I just also like thinking that God made humans…wonderfully and fearfully in His image….not robots.

Oh free will you tricky devil!

How much do I have? Do I have any? Is it a luxury of money? Am I a puppet and stuck in what life dishes out? Who is responsible, me or the Fates? Do I live my life like I have choice or do I send another message?

I’m pulling my hair out… is it my destiny to pull my hair out or am I choosing it?….OMG….

I hope you can think about your life and the choices you make. What about your choices indicates that you live like you have free will? Are you stuck? Do you feel the tugs and pulls of foreign strings? Are you trapped in the emotions of the past settling for second or third best? Do you dream and work to make those dreams come true? In the words of Switchfoot, “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” Do you march to your own beat or the beat of another? Can you hear a beat at all?

Have you told her you love her? When will you tell him the truth? Have you applied for that program or job? Have you forgiven him really? Have you walked through that door? Have you left that relationship behind? Have you gotten on your knees lately?

I will end with a personal revelation.

A friend’s grandfather recently gave me some sagely advice. I had only just met him and I was telling him about wanting to be a teacher. He told me his son in law was one and used to have trouble with school administrators. He shared with me the advice he gave to him. He looked into my soul with piercing blue-wise-eyes and said, “find out what you can control and do it well. The rest…don’t worry about it.”

A quote and a prayer…

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference. -- Reinhold Niebuhr

Dear God, please help me to have a healthy perspective on the amount of control I have in this life. I only live here once. Help me to not screw it up too bad or to ever take your rightful place as the captain of my ship. Let me make wise choices and enjoy the freedom you have given me in Christ. And as always…..THY WILL BE DONE. In Jesus name. Amen.