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VARIATIONS OF A BROTHER WAR (FIRST BATTLES TRIPTYCH)
j.a. tyler




With a Rifle

Millerís first battle was with his mother, refusing to eat the soup that had been on the stove three days, closing his mouth to her food. The valley was green, the cabins unfired, unburned. Miller closed his eyes with his mouth and didnít see his motherís hand coming forward, the hit like gunfire over a ridge, punctuating a shoulder, ending a sentence, seizing the rock of an opportunity. And when Miller is rising above a crest, rifle cocked and loaded, he thinks of his mother swimming in hands, that soup, and the light as it comes out of a stove.

In a Gouged Heart

Gideonís first battle was when he stepped on the biggest flower in their smallest garden and his mother chased him from the dirt, bare feet kicking, her mother face closed down into winter. Gideon launching apples later from whipping sticks in the woods, the lashes on his back when he returned for dinner, his mother and her perfect teaching. Gideon now gutting one man who looks into his eyes, across from him, the concrete distance of a rifle to an abdomen, and his mother there in that manís eyes, the apples whipping out, the flower crushed beneath his boyhood feet.

Worn as Rouge

Eliza, her first battle is watching Miller open his mouth and nothing coming out. Eliza, her first battle is Gideon at her feet drunkenly weeping and shedding his clothes in fall cool. Elizaís first battle is with their mother, Miller and Gideonís, looking across the valley and into her washing, the lonely house of her cabin keeping, no father no mother, the stove gently boiling the skinniest batch of soup. For Eliza, her first battle is how no mouth or backs refuse her teaching, her beautiful eyes. Eliza, her first battle is closing the distance between one and the other.









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LA PETITE ZINE 25 ∑ FREAKY FREEZE

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J.A. Tyler is the author of ten books including the recently released INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (Scrambler Books, 2009) and the forthcoming A MAN OF GLASS & ALL THE WAYS WE HAVE FAILED (Fugue State Press, 2011). He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious Press. For more, visit mudlusciouspress.com.