The Language of Birds: The Preface
It is the seeking
The melding of understanding and flight
I cannot attach myself
Is that sigh an “I” or “you”
I strain to be complete
To follow the trail
Winding throughout, that signifies the end
The golden recognition
Changing the life lead to the life leading
Inside they alight on branches
Weaving together their songs
Soon movement sends them
Chaotic, screaming forward
Waves upon waves
Redefining the importance of notice
Mesmerized by the glittery trinkets
Someone left, like breadcrumbs
Always prepared for the lost wood
The cries are re-directed
The season is right again
And they return
I can almost comprehend the cacophony
Submissive to the calls
The woods contain no light
No reflection from the trinkets abandoned
No memories to deflect the racing patterns
Was the forgotten syllable “I” or “you”
Nothing replaced now, all filled
J. A. Tyler
Autumn and Things
A boy in a coat burbles, skins his knee, attempts to pin his father to the ground. He is a backwards hat. He is full of something. He is lively.
His father wears a beard and a hopeless grin. Tented hair smashed into a lawn, letting his son break his neck, twist his arm, stab his quads with a broken stick from the cottonwood.
The boy’s voice is a bird, chirping, why do you love me, why do you love me, why do you love me. The father’s response is a hacksaw, a startling metal edge; there are too many reasons to list.
Yes you can, yes you can, yes you can.
Inside of them are ideals and moments, the skins of morals or ethics, the peels of living. One is a boy, which means young, untrained, unnoticed, a kind of new stone. One is a father, a man, which means older and now residual, existing, and sometimes beyond himself.
The boy rolls and pounces, finds his father ambling underneath his small and punchy limbs. And the man ceases, unresists, lets the laughter pelt him as rain, sun, to unremind him of the sand and the dust and the dirt and the screams of blood.
A bird sings and the boy thunders. A father crucified on the green of fall grass.
These are the kinds of things that happen in this world.
Lickable Fuck (Or love in the age of Cyberpunk)
how you reach me
through London’s steampunk
vista of zeppelin-round
skyscrapers and lickable
cathedrals. How you reach me
through the labyrinth
of mechanical Minotaurs,
and stores where Dante
is on display 24/7. Cholera
tongued moon, how you reach me.
Flags and Bombs: There is no George Orwell
I joined the navy. The war was stark and cold. There was East and West and Good and Evil. Flags came out for holidays, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day. Parades with legionnaires. Ronald Reagan was the president and flags very rarely flew at half-mast.
I spent four years in the navy, got stationed in Scotland. Joined Greenpeace and donated to the ACLU just to be different and no one in the navy gave me any grief about anything. The chain-of-command wasn’t overbearing and I was an American; free to believe in whatever I wanted to believe in.
I left the navy. Drifted from schools and jobs and marriages and a certain Big Brother drum began to beat. I don’t want to give you history lessons but remember Ruby Ridge, remember Waco and Oklahoma City and all of a sudden there was legislation at the ready to combat domestic terrorism.
The drums beat some more.
There were bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole while docked in Yemen and finally September 11, 2001. Flags were dropped at half-mast all over the place. Flags were pinned on every politicians lapel and draped from windows and flying on porches from every other house in my suburban neighborhood. Patriotic, everyone was feeling patriotic and the American flag flew in your face every where your turned and I remember trying to lower the flag in front of my tire shop. The flag was massive, towering above my store and the car dealerships and fast food restaurants along the strip. The flag was stuck. I couldn’t lower it. I called the flag company and of course they were extremely busy. A week passed before my flag could be lowered but during that week I was harassed by phone calls, motorists passing by angry at me for not dropping my flag and the voices were all white and whiny and condescending without a trace of youth but that doesn’t matter. I felt like I was a target and I know that pales in comparison to the very tragic events of that horrible day but there was a certain mania in those days.
And then of course The Patriot Act was passed without delay, as if there was a bill just sitting in congress just in case we needed our government to spy on our citizens without a warrant. The Homeland Security department was created, sort of like the Nazi’s Fatherland but different.
There were more bombings of course, in Madrid on March 11, 2004 and in London on July 7, 2005 and I wonder if flags were pinned on Spaniard and British lapels?
And this has all been tied together by a pointless war in Iraq and the bombers are still at large and there are still flags flying everywhere, alternating between full and half-mast on a weekly basis. And flags are still flying on lapels, on politicians who pander to xenophobia and fear. Like Sarah Palin as she debated Joe Biden recently, the jewel encrusted American flag pinned to her chest reminded me of Brezhnev addressing the Kremlin, his bushy eyebrows casting shadows on the Soviet flag pinned to his drab suit and I wonder what the difference is?
And the point of all this? There is no point except to say that I’ve flown out of the country twice since 2001. Both times I was randomly pulled from the security line and frisked by TSA agents more than any other passenger, my passport inspected and the inside of my shoes examined.
I am flying out of the country again in January. I will let you know what happens.
The leaden vaults
Does the air become tired of
carrying these heavy burdens
of somnambular sentences
and midnight cries of children?
Hollow winds howl through
the drunken minds that sway
on fast waves of crimson seas,
always looking for the lighthouse.
Here, there is only a green river,
on her muddy banks I sit and from
the silt I bring you my tiger-eyed love
Under the stone bridge life will flow.
We will see it coming, it’ll shudder
and tremble in fear of black monsoons.
Take me with you from these ruined
filthy houses, their dirty washing jerking
in grey yards, inhabited by women
with crooked smiles and umbilical
cords still attached to the calloused
hands of their fathers, kettles busy,
serving every single silver bell tea wish.
In the chill of mornings they call out high
and low prices in sterling silver, shrewdly
selling their hushed sisters to whisky eyes
of dead boys. Then they cry in their
goose-feather pillows for the shameful
loss, not knowing what they have done
self-blind, jealousy bound and numb.
Please, come to me, take me from here
I cannot learn to obey or be ever so quiet.
This is the tender hum of dusty death and
crow’s wings sounding in the misty nights.
I am here all alone, scattering brush strokes
across the torn canvas of furtive waters,
as they softly embrace willows, dreaming
under the leaden vaults of transmuted skies.
I’ve been building a house
in your eye.
on the edge of your pupil.
Someday I’ll retire there,
sit quiet and still.
At the edge of the dark
I’ll wait for echoes.