Dear Tyler by Tera McIntosh


Preset to Poem: Tyler Clementi was an eighteen-year-old student at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. His roommate Dharum Ravi had video streamed Clementi kissing another man over the Internet without Clementi’s knowledge. A victim of gay bullying–this is my too late letter to Tyler–usually performed in slam poetry style.


Dear Tyler,

        Nobody told you before…
but thing’s won’t always be so great
We’ve managed to abolish slavery—-
but still harvest fresh grown hate
Right here in our own backyard, it exists
I just stepped on some right around the corner
And I am hoping with these words—theeese wordddddddddds
I might Weed out some of the rest…
because these shoes—theseeee shoes…. are tired— of stepping in it.

It’s not always gonna be so great….
But don’t give up
-roll up your tolerant sleeves
And… your intellectual fists
flex the muscles of your mind
And beat them with proof and pride

Your stronger then the monsters of their mind
Don’t let them take you back to the underground hide yourself times
Full of pink triangles, labels, and separate lunch lines
Hang on Tyler, I promise
It gets better this time

Don’t feed societies dreams
Let who you are bust from your seams
On to others that love you just as you are
On to others that have hung picture s of you on
The walls of their hearts.

And for those others…the haterrrrs
Take their words and trap them in a jar
And make sure you tighten the lid
Because words can’t escape and sting youuuu
If you don’t let them

And if that doesn’t work

Build a damn within your voice
that blocks the flooding emotions
From your mind to your heart
That makes you want to say I give up—–
—cause enough is enough

Don’t give up —even when enough has had
Enough of enough
And you feel like the weakest— in the world of the tough
Take a breathe that starts from the heart of your heart
And remember how far you’ve come from the start
Of the start of who you really are now.

Don’t let them win
Fight hard—paper beats rock again and again.
Fight through the early cold morning why’s
And the late night solo questioning cries
And be you—let your rays shine through onto others
And soon you will be speaking
And educating kids who were just——— like—- you.

And when night falls and you feel
Lost in the abnormal herd of different kind
Remember that in the early morning wake
You will still be everything you’ve always wanted to be
And that’s enough.

Don’t let people say we’re not the same
Because the last time I loved
I still loved as hard as they do
Harder then the square root of you
Harder then goodbye for the last time
Harder then jamming out in my car to my favorite rhyme
While the person over in the next lane
Just smiles at me and drives on thru.
Because she can’t tag my differences
From her sunglasses view.

And when they say we are not just the same
Show them the holes in your socks
That have traveled the loneliest nights with you
Show them that you bleed and sneeze
You laugh and scream
And you love and dream
Dream that you’ll be treated the same
One day from the heart of their heart.

Don’t let middle school whispers echo
Into the confined,conformed,lockers of your mind
and build up hallways of fear
that separate who you are and
who others want you to be.

And those words they say about you
Stack them up in a perfect row
And climb them one by one
And soon you will be standing at the top
Stronger then everyone below—
Because tough times— make us grow—————
As strong as the writings on the legal pad
Of our mind that spells out proudly—-

And remember
If I can stand here today, so can you.
It gets better—it did for me…
and it will for you.


About Tmac: Tera McIntosh born in Johnstown, Pa but currently resides in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, home of the Steel City Poetry Slam. I was born a Poet, I played “pixie sticks” with pencils but within the past year have recently starting performing locally in the art of Slam Poetry. I have performed at places in Pittsburgh such as Cannon Coffee, Club, Cafe, and the Shadow Lounge as part of the Steel City Slam Poetry League. I also have entered work for this years SLAB magazine literary contest and have performed at Antioch University Seattle’s Inclusion and Justice Diversity Conference doing this very piece about gay bullying. I am really bad at english/grammar, love coffee, fall, worn-in socks, and third places. I am co-founder of Project Coffeehouse, a nonprofit organization that opens up coffee shops in distressed communities and gives back their revenue to the community to continue building it back up. I am in my last year of doctoral studies at Antioch University for my PhD in Leadership and Change and play professional football for the Pittsburgh Passion. You can search my poetry page under Tmac, or search my grassroots believer self at Tera McIntosh.

Copyright © 2011 by Tera McIntosh



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