J. A. Tyler
Boy in his house is Boy with shoes untied is Boy with balloon fists is Boy with dimples is Boy without irony is Boy with movies playing in each eye, one and another, is Boy as seasons and mostly fall is Boy and what is compacted when coal crushes into diamonds and diamonds are made into clouds and clouds are coming down all full of rain.
The machine gun sputters into a church crowd. The machine gun clamors in this neighborhood. The machine gun cuts into lines of sage bushes and all the people huddled about them, wearing dust in their hair, dirty knees and look at these and all of them holy and holey and saying through open o mouths this is o so o o o.
EVERYTHING WILL BE EXPLAINED.
A billboard with a clean smile. A billboard with white teeth. A billboard with swimming rags of persons underneath its rims its poles its lights pissing on its rails and huddling in its light and kicking dirt to dirt in the shadow it casts when the days they go to one hundred two hundred three hundred and all the people their lungs cave in and mutate, turning them inside out.
Boy in this cave of a new world is Boy in darkness is the same as Boy in burning white is the same as Boy when he used to smile because now he is only looking for trinkets on this the spalltered ground and finding everything crushed everything splintered everything broken everything sweated down to the bottom of its possibilities.
THIS IS O SO O O O.
The world makes a sound:
Open-ended lines that used to hold kites that used to hold children's hands that used to hold fathers' hands that used to hold mothers' hands that used to hold the railing going down into the lion's den at the zoo or into the planetarium at the museum or into the parent-teacher conferences or the back-to-school night when they would talk about A B C D F and are now the lines that remain open-ended and do not connect and float skyward touching clouds holding clouds grasping clouds pinned to clouds and with no way anyone knows to let them go.
Wind says the word GO. Sun says the words STAY and DON'T and SURE and MAYBE and Boy he is conflicted he is thirsty he is lonely he is lost he is tired he is ragged he is damaged he is spilling he is spent he is soured he is soggy he is longing.
GO STAY DON'T SURE MAYBE.
SURE MAYBE STAY DON'T GO.
DON'T GO MAYBE STAY SURE.
SURE STAY MAYBE DON'T GO.
DON'T STAY SURE MAYBE GO.
GO MAYBE SURE DON'T STAY.
Boy in a field is Boy with wind is Boy with sun is Boy with arms is Boy with legs is Boy buried in thoughts of aborted children and cities laid down and resting as a means to death and death as a means to resting and Boy is fixed and Boy becomes still and Boy in a field like this field with all the oceans and all the bodies and all the unmoving moments is Boy made of anti-solidity is Boy of doubled-force is Boy of casting no shadow is Boy of breakage.
Corn made to fuel Corn made to meal Corn made to ground dust and mixed with water and flattened and roasted over a low fire built on rocks built on dry ground built away from unbillowed trees built underneath an orange sky a red sky a purple sky a softened sky a sky that will seep until it melts and will melt until it droops and will droop until it covers Boy and his blanket in another blanket that is sky colored and sky scented and sky flavored and sky like reverting to sucking thumbs.
Feet on the ground make a noise that is this:
or is this:
or is this:
Feet on the ground make these words:
DRIP DROP DRIP DROP DRIP DROP.
A cross in a front yard burned a cross in a front yard smashed a cross in a front yard with a man on it who has been crucified who is crucified who is acting the part of crucifixion to ward off spirits that are not here to get rid of vibes that have gone quiet already to make a change in a landscape that is now forever changing and the cross then is a hat rack and he is not crucified but is instead a hat on the hat rack with his chin bowed down and no one seeing how his eyes look when they look down at the ground from nailed up on his cross.
His lips this man they make a noise when his lights go out and it resonates:
Boy watching man die is Boy becoming a man is Boy acting like a girl is Boy wanted to be a girl is Boy wanting to be Mother Mary is Boy wanting to move is Boy wanting to die is Boy wanted to know if dying is sleeping is Boy wanting to know if sleeping takes too long is it dying.
COME ON OVER he hears and Boy doesn't move.
COME ON COME ON COME ON OVER.
Boy is Boy watching.
WE CAN IMPROVE.
Land is scorched and land is bruised and land is learned and land is unsettled and land is shifting and land is cruising and land is coming undone and land is morphing and land is transforming and land is adjusting.
Boy who is all of these things.
This piece was startled into existence by the good work and words presented at the recent &Now Conference in Buffalo, New York. Particularly the readings by Steve Tomasula and others led me to think about stretching language as much as possible, making the words challenge and press and grow and work. I was looking to define and undefine, to force language harder, to push.