Welcome

This web page is a place where I post my ramblings and writing experiments. It is my hope that this platform can be used to reach those who connect with the things I am addressing and possibly even provide some comfort in their not being alone.

Disclaimer: If anything on this page comes off as pretentious, underwhelming, poorly edited, generally rough, amateurish, adolescent in nature, verbose in terms of content, excessively wordy on topics that would be better handled with brevity, redundant, lacking in diversity, or even just vaguely shitty, be confident that I most likely am thinking the same and am praying that putting this out into the world justifies its existence.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy!

– Tyler

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An amber haze

An amber haze serves as a beacon in a sea of darkness. Cars pass leaving trails of crimson glow in their wake. Bodies of streetlights stand tall as their necks crane out, holding their heads over the glistening blacktop mirror. From each of these mouths, radiance pours downward, casting flickering rainfall onto golden canvas. Take a deep breath.

The sepia luminescence reduces his hands to rough sketches. Despite a clear triangulated indentation toward the center of his palm, inconsistent shadowing renders everything abstract. Tilting his hand from side to side, he watches as definition evaporates into the night air. With too many perspectives to take into account, he loses sight of his own. Keep holding that breath.

Above, a blink of lightning manifests as an eye opening from one nightmare into another. Air tightens like a guitar string until it finally snaps in a crack of thunder. Below, trash is thrown in the wind’s shuffle. A 2-liter Pepsi bottle hums along the sidewalk’s strait while beer cans with collapsed lungs coalesce around a storm drain. Breathe out a fog over the landscape, smearing the divisions of ground, sky, and everything in between.

At the heart of such visceral beauty stands a crowded bus-stop. Some sit on a bench, either holding a child or in the arms of a parent. Others stand huddled together. The three glass walls and arched awning strengthen their grip against the night. Never had the world felt so close.

Extending his hand outside the shelter, he feels the rain dance along his fingertips. A developing puddle becomes swallowed in the mouth of his fist. There is something adolescent in his marveling of how neatly muscle and cartilage held everything together. Opening the faces of his palms towards him, he feels sullen. After two decades of sharpening, the engrained creases of his palm still appear fresh. Newborn, waiting for someone or something to…

Listen. The cascading symphony of voices performs over the rainfall’s percussion. The crinkling patter against the stop’s exterior crescendos and enters new time signatures. Conversations swell in a downhill progression, growing more tumultuous and impatient with each passing remark. “When will the bus be here?” “It should have been here a while ago.” “Will this rain ever let up?” “I’ve never seen a storm so relentless.” The glass echo chamber brings the entire ensemble to a rapturous roar. Can you hear it?

He hears nothing.

He sees her, standing outside the crystal prism, an umbrella propped from her backpack and a face dimly lit by her iPhone’s glow. The cellular spotlight transfigures her smudged eyeliner into devastating rays of ash. Light enters and refracts within each retina, amplifying a brightness her eyes gladly welcomed. A kaleidoscope of coffee, chestnut, and kobicha swirl in the body of each iris, merging into the soul of her pupil. The clarity with which he perceives her is absurd. Even the blithe twirling of her headphones became magnified into the form of an invitation. But an invitation for what?

Another zig-zag of lightning across the sky interrupts my train of thought. Chest pounding, her eyes wreck both myself and the rest of her face. This was not to say she wasn’t beautiful–believe me, she was–but a smile could hardly compete with the breathtaking allure of those two blinking worlds. Such sincerity and authenticity could not be put on. Thunder eviscerates all sound except for the voice of one.

An offhand comment whispered, maybe an advisement, maybe a provocation; so many ways to take in the words of that faceless man who whispered into my ear. Scratches of age in the way his breath smothered his voice, but still the thundering booms fell silent to each word. “You do realize she’s a–”

The composition comes crashing down into silence. Whether what came before was a coda or preamble remains as ambiguous as whether what comes after is a rejection or progression. Nevertheless, all complexities are left hanging in that maddening downpour as the precautions of a stranger are disregarded and a direction is taken.

You let out a deep breath when you see the bus arrive. From out the mouth of steel doors, passengers flow outward and board like the sea brushing against a coastline. Bodies cram into seats as you move towards the back to find the one with the brown eyes, but she is not there. Doors close leaving you with a heavy chest and the tightening of a knot in your throat. An amber haze served as a beacon in a sea of darkness and in the cold fluorescent lighting where everything is so clear, you cannot see anything at all.

Recursion (Revisited)

Navigating a sea of spectators, she finds her audience appreciating her latest work. And yet, beneath their subdued admiration flows an undercurrent of incomprehension. Those dramatic changes of expression and audible gasps that defined her last showcase are completely absent. In their wake, blank faces and hushed murmurs that ripple across the room. The whole insufferable scene reminds her of a time when she almost gave up art altogether. Her legs are beginning to give out and her head is swimming. Chilling nausea pulls the faceless mother of the exhibition down with riptide strength as a betrayal materializes before her eyes.

Remember, appearances are often deceiving at these events. Self-comfort, a sensible reaction, but not enough to deter the waves of uncertainty that batter her with hopelessness. Drowning, her mind reaches towards a distant memory of an earlier work. The one where the premiere was nearly a disaster but went on to become both critically acclaimed and regarded as her finest work. Remember.

But she cannot. The promise of comfort to wrap her in its tender arms is left unfulfilled and she is left alone. With the stark realization that reassurance is unable to attend her event, it becomes clear her only option is to let go. To relinquish one’s control over their own fate and to simply ride the wave.

However, accepting her limitations cannot cease the endless cycle of despair into hope and its return into despair. Her doubts necessitated an immediacy to her positivity; she needed resolution now, whether such reassurances held water were of no importance to her. So maybe they would she what she saw in her work soon enough. Maybe she was being overly critical. Maybe.

And still, the consequent relief always begat the original doubt—how soon was soon enough? How could she be overly critical when she considered herself her best critic? What good was a maybe? Looking out at her guest, drink shaking in her hand, she marvelled at their inner ponderings. What were they thinking? What could have gone wrong?

Tears came like sea foam at the corner of her eyes when salvation dawned on her through the guise of a revelatory thought. What if a piece depicted the pains of irresolution in regards to showing people your art? The art piece itself a product of its own presentation. To disparage her work would only reiterate its intention; effectively commenting on the piece before the audience ever got the chance. Recursion, plain and simple. Such a work had seemed out of reach until now.

___________

She is disposed to pity, her brain a cannibalistic machine of devouring thought. Paralysis comes and words brush against the tides of her head. Myself, with no regard for intent or meaning. Rhetoric for rhetoric’s sake. She considers herself both the audience and auteur of an internal concert; separating herself from the viewer with generalities, abstractions, and whatever trick shoved up her sleeve. She is in need of something more. ________ enters the room, underhanding her a glass of Sangria. I hate myself for this.

Melatonin kicks in, sleep resting heavy on my shoulders. Too many beautiful moments not taken, left beautiful. So while I sit across from your soft face and watch your eyes read the words leaving the mouth of some poet and while I dart my eyes away so you never notice my attention, so while I follow the intense eyes of the arabic Julian Casablancas digging holes into the ragged face of his poem and listen to his delivery brings out an affection not unlike that of a father trying to teach his son how to walk… I’ve forgotten his name already… So while _______ ________ gives me a hug goodbye and I turn to your soft face and watch you pass behind, leaving without even a word, so while I do this, I begin to hold myself in contempt for having cared too much. 

I regret watching these scenes again. ____ looks up with an earnest surprise and compliments me as a jack of all trades. Life is happening at full force and I am ready to slip into bed, under the covers just to let it all go. The once empty box crying over the encumbrance of being filled with emotion. ________ says I should never delete a word, preserve them, for they are, whether you like it or not, your words. But do you know how many times I’ve revised this piece? Do you know what causes the fantastic desolation of watching her walk away with him? Do I wish I cared more or less? Let me disassociate these moments by way of burdening them onto a character. Some faceless blank in a void I cannot feel. Some ________.

 

are you ready to go?

Draped over the blank television screen hangs the opaque reflection of her figure before the bathroom’s mirror. Sitting away from her, he untangles her face from the unfixed mirror layered beneath the digital membrane. The composition becomes fragmented under the pressure of muted pixels within the television’s glass. But those eyes, whose breath matched the haloed stain of her perturbed countenance, whose dissatisfaction was audible in her strained sighs as she brushed her hair–those eyes bled through his perforated calm and supplemented a suffocating sorrow. Her voice, having opened itself and pressed against his eardrum like a splinter, is overwhelmingly saccharine. “Are you ready to go?”

Happy New Year!

The caress of her hand upon his cheek
Reveals scorch marked patterns beneath his skin.
Powdered flakes of time crumbling along the edges of her print;
Chalk dusts across her fingertips, his blackboard of wrinkled flesh
Hangs strangled over bones almost bare.

Her gentle breeze touches the mirage of alabaster texture
And disperses into the air: apologies, discrepancies, follies, and pain.

In the rearview mirror:
A volatile visage left blank.
Ahead:
A response of distress delivered in kind.

Their posed arrangements eternally cemented
In an ever-expanding network of moments now blind.

Anywhere Else

A blurred world turns outside the taxicab drifting down Huntington Ave. Skyscrapers collide in a peripheral mess as cars waver along an asphalt plane. Concrete landscape transposed into the abstract, so she thinks. Like Maxwell’s labored portraits: meticulously crafted before subjected to an eviscerating blow of fan upon wet canvas. Those vibrating liquid outlines left behind, as if sheer velocity had revealed the city’s underlying instabilities. Angular steel structures rendered claylike in the hands of a perspective change, she concludes. The object of subjectivity.

Approaching a red light, the driver presses down on the brake. Buildings regain their composure in an enveloping brush of a cityscape coming into focus. Nature always relapsing into its habitual rigidity, she was familiar with such constants. One can only get so far away from themselves. Her attention is drawn towards a weave of pedestrians threading the needle along a crosswalk. Men, women, and children: cascading glimpses of lives bending along some unknown script. These scenes play out infinitely irrespective of an audience. She wonders if she is the only one watching.

Her ruminations are cut by the serrated breath of her hyperventilating companion. And so the conversation slips: “Why are you afraid of me?” Jacqueline inquires, her head tilted at a 45-degree angle, resting her line of sight on a trajectory towards his impossible face. The autumnal fade flickers shadows upon her cheek through the lightly tinted window. Her eyes are piercing. His breathing becomes staggered in its desperate attempt to slow down. It is the afternoon, mind you, and they only met this morning.

The light turns green and the taxi continues onward. Looking in the rearview mirror, the driver spots Andrew adjusting his glasses and straightening his back. If only he could project an imposing presence onto his characteristically unimposing stature. Confidence is key, as Andrew’s father would say. Meanwhile, her uninterrupted gaze sends beads of sweat sliding down his brow. His entire performance is compromised. Say something, just say something.

“I’m not afraid of you, I…” Voice trembling, strength faltering, authority fleeting; self-doubt manifests in the sharp pitch of his i’s and the stuttering cadences of his delivery. Her eyes speak of some pleasure from all this. Like a predator watching its prey squirm before the final blow. Andrew is terrified.

Be a man, his father echoes from some dusty, sepia-grained memory. He clears his throat and wipes his forehead with the sleeve of his corduroy jacket. Andrew Park, barely twenty-three years old, stares Jacqueline Eliot straight in the eyes and with sincere honesty asserts himself. “You just have to give me time to get used to this.”

“Used to what?” Jacqueline responds, straddling over the hump of the middle seat, pressing him against a fingerprint-covered window. Some sort of trap. His father’s reassurances become drowned in the lines of his anticipated obituary: ‘Suffocation by hyperventilation and abrasive perfume.’ Her genuine smile simultaneously provokes and excites him. His eyes become dry under the rush of heat to his face. Her elbow twists under his ribs like a dagger. It is all too much.

Quo vadis?

There is a beach and a man. Or what is left of a man. His mouth full of gums, saliva curdling in the den of a toothless rough. Sockets without eyes, a nose lacking nostrils, his head full of air. Once somebody, and still he breathes. But no longer there, so to speak. Though speaking may no longer an option, his name was Sherman Oswald. A backwards name, maybe even a palindrome, but the name no longer stuck… His face no longer fit. Hence, the decay.

So maggots stowaway along the underbelly of his frame, mixing in with the granite-shaded bay. Himself, now unarmed and legless. His wrinkled bag of torso attached by the stick of a neck. And so he breathes, in and out like the rest of us. But there is no pain. There is no regret… There are no idle thoughts. For, passivity is the bastard son of a moment let past and here there is no time to be wasted. There is no beach and there is no man.

And yet, there is. There always is. And there always has been. And there surely will.

The Frame’s Glass Was Shattered

Dark crimson streamed from his right nostril, flooding the bay above his lip. The temperature must have dropped ten degrees when her fist met his face; the fire of their argument extinguished altogether. Tributaries of tears flowed from medial canthus and spooled over his mouth. A faucet drip of red onto a white tiled floor below; they had chosen the tiles together. A young couple, he was twenty-one when she became his fiancée last June.

His bloodshot eyes swelled with forgiveness. Maybe even an apology was concealed somewhere beneath his torn visage. She ran to the bathroom, never facing the mirror, and ripped a fistful of tissue paper into the same hand that delivered the crushing blow upon his septum. When she returned he still stood in the same spot she had left him.

Pressing the tissue onto his face, he watched as she darted towards the freezer for an ice pack. His high capacity for abuse and her natural aptitude for abusing—it was his fault, really. She called to him to keep his head tilted downward. He should never have let things get this bad. Her voice was latticed with strains of pain and fear, her breathing fragmented and cut. He still loved her.

An interweaving mesh of moments flashed between them. Moments of enabling and passivity, each coming like a divine revelation. A comment from him left unchecked, a disposition of hers unattended. Codependency, the stem of their blossoming flower of hostility. Like ivy growing onto ivy, each breaking under the other’s weight.

With the picture of their relationship revealed beneath the broken glass of his cracked frame, neither knew what lie ahead.