UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
J.A. TYLER

& (four)

In the peak of this girl, flying and rowing, she reflects the world. Her eyes, her mouth,

Marcin Klepacki
her upturned and smiling lips. She is the sun, this girl, even in the clouds.

Beneath her the world in squares, the men with chests opening and closing, the strain of useless doors. She smiles at them opening closing. She relaxes at their notions. She listens to their whimpering.

This girl, she holds her hands around the shaft of oars, two of them, one on either side, rowing her way through the sky. Fishing her way through and across landscapes, untangled in environments.

This girl, just like the sun, chariot and bright, spilling with days.

&

The man sits up and coughs, sitting up coughing, lungs welling or torn, gutted in rotten screaming. The arc of another night, the crickets skimming hooks or barbs, their legs, constructing sound from themselves, filtering the dusk in rounded noise. The sun unpegged from its hook and sifted to the floor, crumpled in a shell or a train, worn from another day. The night a pool of crickets. The room blending in color, grays entrenching, light going gone.

Sitting up he coughs, sat up and coughing, raking spit on the back of his hand, a nothing stomach made of non-muscle and carpentry tricks, bending in on itself. The crush of a ribbed balcony. The sun outside gone.

And the Other there, watching the moon un-rising. The cricket sounds, the constructed noise. The Other listening. Coughing. A shot of breath and no moon.

Sitting and coughing, sat up and coughing, expelling throated calls, predictions of the futureless. A wail or a cry or a pleading.

But instead, out of his mouth, the yoked threats and the hooves, trampling, the leather strips and the mane of each, the Other full of darkness, portioned from the brim full top, ladle gorging. And out of his mouth, this dying man, there is drool spinning webs, lining the unmanned cities of his crumpled sheets, a cavernous and mistakable dying. Burbling boiling, a thousand unsaid things from the lips of his mouth.

And the Other, watching from a corner or from behind the manís eyes, seeing and not listening. A cough but not a recovery. A dream of sewing and unsewing his heart, but not a blackening, not yet. The mouth just a trajectory or a fall, stooping out of itself in a cough. Him sitting, coughing.

&

This girl, she is vented from the clouds, trailing her fingers in them, the way clouds dream, thoughts of things softer than themselves, less violent, less vindictive. Without rain or thunder. Without lightning. Without the leap and course of shadows, the covering of sun, the movement, the unending feel of waves.

She has hands. She holds oars. She mouths the words to a song. No one sees. Her lips are too near the sun, too pursed in sky, too flooded in light. She drifts. Clouds.

Her breath is a relaxation, moments without stumbling, the reverse of life, an unmoving, the oars spinning in her palms.

&

A breath cannot be defined. Must be resolved in exhale. An inhale. How the lungs collapse out and then recede, leaving the marks of veins and chemical triggers like the half washed footsteps of a god on the shore. The sand covering and uncovering, always another, always different, the inability of constancy. The way things maneuver.

&

The Other is a figure who sits and watches a man die. This will still be the story of a man dying. This will still be the story of a lake and that boy who drowns himself, accidentally, with the hairline fracture of thinking, of making choices, of sticking fingers in holes and unable to pull them back, to relinquish ideas.

&

The girl with oars, she is making her way. She is steady, constant, flying. She is graceful and ballet with oars, flying. Clouds on clouds on clouds.

&

The man who is dying is still dying. An image of earth and dirt about him, in his creases and his lines. His teeth the crack of an open window. His nostrils caves of scented fields, the shift of cold air when winter loads in. And his eyes, as they blink slow to death, finalizing moments and pictures, they are the iris of the sun turning its back on this world, all the black tree limbs and the forthcoming and the frost.

&

The Other is black steak meat cut in warbles. The Other is an unsatisfied look of eyelids under water, wisps of hair stemming from unusable heads. The Other is a thin and grueling claim, buttered in treetops and sun, laced. The Other is the rampant steps, the feet in boots, clomping or traipsing through the kills, the land, the gray limbless trees and parched skies clouding. The storms approaching. There were storms approaching. Dry storms, unused to liquid and frozen in their approach. Storms rising falling and shimmering in the flanks of a periphery, the Other seeing those things come on. A storm of rain or snow, thundering dark or white, bitter unlivable wind, slapping vicious bites. The Other, a growl and a line, tactical and advanced in the dirt, stumbled through with weeds and the shores of a plain. The Other, a hope and an error of hope, the sick spread of dreams. The Other is a looming sense, the pulling of a bootlace from out of his mouth. The pull and desolation of arms producing ankle canvas and black boots, shadows of legs and a waist twisting. A bold shatter of darkness. The Other, a darkness and a shadow, black outlines on four walls and a door and an open window. The Other, skinned the color of night, the dimming and the recession. Receding. Thickly coming through and on.

&

The girl mouths words to no one. Flying. Keeping pace with the rhythms she hears in her girl head, in the beat of music underneath her skin, ripples below the surface skin, the shimmering hairs on her forearms, the blonde and white flecks of glow in her layers. This girl, moving towards the Other, towards the man, towards a place of slow moving soil and rocks and trees subsisting on the spin of the earth and the spit of farmers plowing rows. Flying.


J. A. Tyler has recent work in Elimae, Lamination Colony, Night Train, Underground Voices, & Word Riot. His chapbook The Girl in the Black Sweater is available now from Trainwreck Press and his debut novella is forthcoming from Ghost Road Press in 2009. He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious, a reviewer for Rural Messengers Press, and a member of the Pindeldyboz editorial team. Read more at www.aboutjatyler.com







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