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.
Bud is in black suit, helmeted along the track. Engine jazz. A tank top and a towel. Load the van.
Profile closer than passenger, it’s grain. No matter the gas station girl, we are the focal point.
Gleam splattered bugs on windshield. A mailbox. Wood panels. I’ll kiss you with both hands in five minutes. Hurry to leave. I am a tail light like an empty mailbox or a highway.
The blurred profile is a sky made of houses and cars. A stop sign and too much green to behold. The green is how I blend into a picket. I have a brown sweater. I’ll wait at the door of a house where I don’t know how long it has been since you’ve been home.
Red hair turns orange and bored. Birds chirp. Nothing but a bunny rabbit. I live in LA where it’s small. There are no children there. Everything is brown. I’ve grown, too. The pool has been drained. There are no pools here anymore, no tablecloths where food should be.
The road melts black hair in Ohio. Roadside in leather. It’s a tired song, but rain is a car.
A pet store holds birds and fish and puppies and kitties and bunnies. Bunny life is five years, six until death. I want to forgive you.
Fried rice and chicken. Wash hands over white tiles. It is summer.
At the rest stop. White shirt. Your halter top landscape. I’ll walk past you. But when I turn, sit close, your face is a Lilly. Lips stare. The comfort of ghosts. Wait for the sun to turn blonde grass into hair. Frame it by an unending slope to silver.
I want to be tender. Fields are tender. Write the horizon stretched forever. She’s there in white kisses alone on a motel bed. The sheet is a skin. Be a comb or a gaze driving mountain to salt. I’ve held the edge of a door. I’ll block wind-sun from your watered squallor. Drive it to the edge and slip, curve the night-trucks due west.
Gasoline. A strip of fuel for the flat.
Be a speck once more. An angle to hover. Pure light. Glass spectacle turns grey concrete to the air of this love.
Nevada in the perpetual spring glitz. These are the ghosts of who you could be the future I dream. Rose is a flower that reminds me of you. Beauty is how we drive, circle, drive. And Rose is a necklace. She is pierced, but you and her are planets apart and I am terrified of being with you.
Seventy-seven. I’ve grown tired in the way. Your street is a sunset silhouette framed empty. This is where a family used to live. This is where Daisy used to live, lives here no more, not now. I’ll pin hair in a bun, watch sun drip, leave a note for you on the door.
Here is a room of white. Sleep is a way to cry. The way grey smokes crack. Sit on the bed. Daisy is made of light. Sit on my lap for a hug. Nothing is spoken from a pipe. This is not Bay Street. There were other boys there. Kiss me and throw up. Nothing you say is true.
We lock lips to be still. Ours is a shattered lust. I am sick in love. Out of love. The fragment of my face, your face. Tighten hand, the hip, the bare back. A strap. Feet smear to fingers. And a lost child. Yes, there was once a child. On a bed, your blue heels. Death is a choke, Daisy.
Leave Los Angeles. Leave earth-desert lost. A face made of light.
I am open, freezing hope.