This is our mother-brain: a synth, raga, and a donkey. It shed hair, hard pressed by the question that doppelgangers are hawks carving chairs to disappear. And this beard is how I growl, see nothing but “impossible windows” in the goat-light of a film clip.
Here is the hotel where we strip rooms, luggage-stuffed organs, gutted screeches and a wave. This is not a lunar mission. These are not notes about shapeshifting. This is about wolves, eagles, and the subtext of a frozen frame.
We are a hedge maze: a duck is Jack, a boy’s sweater, beastman, finality, cacophonic pastness, gold rushes like “all the best people.” I’ve left you a key.
Unmask me in blood, mother-brain. Flood the shaft with royalty. Men in robes clink glasses when music blues the light. Unravel. This carpet is a diamond pattern of brothers, a family escaping these “pictures in a book.” All is not yet.
Not real. I’ll bring that ball and gown to the hospital as an alternate ending. It’s fit to shine. Show me the prince who looks like a Minotaur for this tale, our lost soundtrack of revelation, is the final interpretation on how to maunder.
Keep to a whisper. The dead do not whisper, they sing master
It wasn’t that I was a writer and you a wife or a good place for our son to play. It was none of this. I don’t speak of dark kitchens at night when you are asleep and I am at the edge of the window looking at windows upon windows—how hot night becomes when soaked in drinks from a locked cupboard or freezer. I should have spoken of axes and typewriters. Typing is not just the clack of the keys or the insertion of paper into the machine, it is a ghost of hate that I will turn novel. I will complete this ghost even if it means I should reach a baseball bat or you walking up the stairs backwards, you dragging me to the freezer, but I’ve slashed all engines, dismantled the transmission and stolen the family key. I have the key. Here is where love lives unchangeable in the glow of soft light. It’s 1920 and I’m wearing a tux. You will notice my tux, because there was a photograph taken of so many people and you were not among them. We were not yet married. You have never stood in the kitchen at night or used an ax to chop down a door. There is more light where you are. The chef comes. I am redder after dark. But I’ve learned. I’ve learned how to follow your little steps around corners. You move quicker than the father. It’s my burden to be a father. I will make things right. Fathers make things right. It snowed on my birthday. My fingers can no longer type like the way snow falls on a maze at night. And it is night when we step into the maze. It is all I can do to give you something to remember me by—in the kitchen, the bright kitchen where you eat ice cream and drive trucks into hotel rooms. There is a room in the maze and I have the key. I’ve seen they way the other women smile. I have seen the father of the girls and I have to keep walking this maze so someday you’ll know what it means to be a father. I won’t carry you far. I won’t carry you at all.
"I just realized that I never look at a painting and ask, ‘Is this painting fictional or non-fictional?’ It’s just a painting."
J.A. Tyler writes rivers of word-circles to wrap his woods around us, cloak words of life to keep us from leaving, to keep remembrance of how brotherly love felt before it left and how it feels to be alone. COLONY COLLAPSE is a love story: you are dying, your brother has suddenly left, you are forced to make sense of life, to find your brother in the woods.
[the beginning: reimagined]
I am a deer who is dying. I am dying and it has been written on a note I was handed from my deer-brother: a white sheet of paper, a black dot to mark a wordless message of death. I am searching for my deer-brother in these woods and these woods are endless woods, houses that I build, burn, rebuild. These woods are alive with foxes and bears, magic, dreams, honey, and rivers. I will sleep in these woods, be here in these woods in a house for my brother who left.
[the second beginning]
J.A. Tyler writes magic words, linguistic spirals like melting nodes or water. He writes dreams of daughters and death-dreams of love. Tyler writes and the deer says, “I am in search of my deer-brother because I want to tell him what it means to be like this. I want him to see beneath my deer-skin, down to the brother-core, where there are love-words and moments of sky unencumbered by clouds.” These loops of rebuilt houses, of daughters and foxes, are ways to the heart, ways to read the message of the black dot written on the piece of white paper given by the deer-brother before the deer-brother left. Tyler speaks in the voice of one who knows love and one who knows loss.
[the second beginning: a reimagined end]
I make each choice to move closer to my brother, to hope for my brother’s return, that when my brother returns he may know me as the deer-brother I want to be known as. May there be love when he returns to this place in the woods where I dream of my deer-brother and daughters, ten daughters that could have been daughters or brothers sitting at tables on feast-days and the distance of a family, how far apart we are. I speak of love. I speak of life. I am a dying deer full of life.
This short magazine showcases six previously unpublished pieces and features original photographs from Michigan, Tokyo, and Hainan. The following pieces appear in this issue: “Sitting Fire,” “Fifth Folio: Production Notes,” “Knuckling Water,” “Apple Tongue,” “Battle Lion,” and “For Nick Cave.” I hope to make more of these Glossi’s in the future. Thank you for reading.
This collection began in a classroom where I was teaching Lee Thayer’s communication theory to high school students in Beijing. At the same time, I was steeping myself in fiction, eating up Robert Coover, Shakespeare, Eugene Marten, P.G. Wodehouse and more. And then the Players arrived, all of them, and you will meet them all. We spoke. They were rehearsing for a live show and I was privy to join them. I studied their ways and became one of them, was shown grand things that blended with my memory of this life and this world. Everything converged and these essays were born.
Or, perhaps I saw a call for a chapbook competition from an esteemed publishing house, but too shy for lack of talent, too word-beaten by failure, I kept these pieced hidden, never submitted them. Unwanted. Weary. Or, did I submit them to a world-class publishing house only to be rejected after an eight month period of waiting and wondering? Yes, I did. The Players forgive me, though, and they needed a home. The Web is their new home. Please enjoy their home.
If you are interested in the idea of performing a life, please sample a few of these pieces. They do not have to be read in any kind of order. Make them meaningful to you.
Writers/Mixers/Artists: If you wish to “remix” an ELECTRIC DELIRIUM essay, please get in touch with me to discuss possibilities or simply do so and send back to me. I’ll be in the vault with the tapes.