The Soft Side of an Iron Gag

Jeremy Tyarks

A Construction

"But quotes were always the
work of devils,

handsome devils
at that."

In constructions of argument,
falling for poets,

we walked with ponderers'
fingers, wrapping our knuckles
'gainst the gates of Terse.



I cleanse my face with the murdering
hands of realization;

where your stomach turns, my wishing
well lets its stone rot 'round city blocks.

It's realization –

coming forth like budding shadows
in our fantasy gardens,

rotting as wishes tend to do.

Realization –

coming forth like the blooming eyes
of our fantasy lovers,

dressing our days in stone.

Cleansed face,
murdering hands,
I am no longer my father's son.


We fox and outfox;
we stay steady.

Foxing to be outfoxed and
remaining ever-steady.

In something of dreaming constants
moving as the steadiness in tremor
deep into the sudden break of highway
down to the floor of a seducer's sea,

we were of these rooms –
living, dining,

and all my bones were contorted
as memoir spiders crawling 'cross
the lea of marrow into the
contours of brain.

And these hills of dew, a parched family,
reached to a golden time, a decade of
alchemy. They warned our villages, they
calmed our summer lungs.

We were of these rooms, outside
but without, dining.

Lip Stick

There are moments when
vibrations give us away.
Creeping up the stairs,
caressing the door handle

But it's okay;
I've enough room in my bed for another.

We relax and play games
storied shadow puppetry
until she climbs on top,
biting my lip
and is pulled in by the small of her back.

There are times when
vibrations give us away.
Caressing the door handle,
creeping down the stairs

But it's alright;
my bed was made for but one.

Glacial Flood

Brook Street holds no fury
in this library of beggars and
mismatched dreamscapes.
No fury, no pardons.

And as if bitten by thy sweet
tooth, sharp as citrine day or
cobalt night, we were standing as
blight in being:

you drunkard,
I glutton.

We were walking with the success
of teachers.

A drunkard,
a glutton.

But pardon me for not
introducing you earlier,
for not driving thy
plagues away.

Smoke screen covering,
carmine outlining.

Pardon me for the days of
hesitation, the world of coming floods.

The Population of Speech

jejune attire,
I know this patient mouth
like I know the soft side of an iron gag.

insipid language,
I know this deaf detail
like the fluid motion of Providence theme.


Past where we're lifted like
wounded birds or left
quietly as severed meat,

past where we breathe as
partnered travelers, lips parted
with clandestine whispers,

it starts –

some celebratory explosion of
constructed conversation.

It starts.

We're dreaming.

A Weave of Ways

Desperation has left its mark
  upon the heads,
    the wrists,
      the tongues,
        upon our endless speech.

As strong as war-call, the sting of shrill cry
crawls into the cracks and crevices of
our open eardrums. It calls –

"You are my final reverie, the hazel theory,
dancing as the strum of our resting vocal chords.

And you are my new destiny, a spark in old technology,
certain light bathing our skin in new weaving ways."

And desperation leaves its mark
  upon changéd moon,
    weather prediction,
      scents leading us home,
        upon the promise land and the promised.

But why haven't we traded our hands yet, cowboy?
Why hasn't my eye caught the slick drift of a Texas sun?

And if these teachings are so,
and my days are truthfully numbered,

then why must this scar tissue blend so well

in youth,
  with growth,
    all that has been and will be?
      So we say "Stand down,

      just put your armor down,

for as desperation writes its
prologues, epilogues, you'll be
standing as a quieter self penning the
absence of creative days."


"I am as much this expansion of space
as this closing door."

and end:

"But am I desperate?

For truth is an onward pace,
a rescue from the Lethe rivers.
And soul is a lift, an uplift of lids
shadowing our next step.


"Desperation, "


"back home with thee."



Once upon a drifter's
ever-drifting path,

trailing through
fanged night,
burnt sienna,
summertime syrup

this rust forgot how to grow
and we forgot why we
cared in the first place.

Shakespeare on the Common

Prudential student,
coat of lover's fog,

we're carefully crafted as the warm
glow of molded glass.

Expired breath,
dress of dense mist,

we're carefully creeping as crooks
in these midnight dens.


this is home;
this is mysterious.


Extremes are long expired,
lying quietly under burnt clay.

And you, the extreme, writhe with
incredulous eyesight, catering
not to age but to his pen.

For this oration of entropy
written to artistic atrophy
reaches to thee, a sight of
comma as threat.

It is written to you, the extreme,
harboring your name, your burnt clay.


In an arrangement of space speaking
forth as if it knew what was wrong,

the wrongness of wrong, "wrongity"
or something of the sort,

my lips divorced, hopeful to add in some
pearly gate showered shine to the conversation.

But it was then I realized there was no more
to say. As if wedged between symbolism and

slaughterhouse-styled silence,
there was no more to add.

You see, I'd been out of bed for hours;
the toothbrush had already tickled my

gums, engine was cooling, and
evening sat settling with winds.

So I swallowed these graves
'mongst graveyard shift,

giving rest to my divorcing lips

and let the side-street fascination
pass by another way

letting dead air speak to its somber day.


Thief City,
hole in weakened muscles and swollen eyes –

keep your wars,
keep your aging death,
keep your putrid speech.

Hell Mouth,
leave me be.

Death Blow

To our methods of swallowing
the sweetened milk of a death blow...

to thirst, unquenched and insatiable...

and to the ripened coils with their corroded richness...

here is voracity and my deepest sympathy.
Here is departure and my deepest mourning.

For in the embrace of a shattered spine,
in wait for the caress of a tired shell,

the giants have all gone to sleep
and the morn is all too close.

A toast.


Screen haze
ever-fixed eyes
and days lined with sleep's golden sand,

bursts open as a
blooming field of eye shadow,
or a hand in birthed bloodbath.

Forgive me as a father.

Fertile phase
where you lie caked in crimson
over a morning eyes-wide white,

haunts these chrome draped halls
like the distortion of focus in an
age of system subside.

As if written to me, a father.

And I only wish to kiss thee goodnight
because I can't have you by my bedside.

And I only want to cradle this plague
because I can't have it infesting my days.

Forgive me as a father, as a guide.


Fourth Iron

a seamless line drawn in Hampshire twine
where the brilliant white of this stretched bark
dirties beneath our curious step.

And it is a joint step in time where we find
a deeper hue around this song bird,
a broader sight bathed in amethyst.

We're curved as cursive letter,
drowning in the sun's vibrant tongue.

We're locked as interlocking cogs,
breathing deep this frosted air.


A Siberian arms race in the
eyes of thy fellow thieves,

but wait...

I've stolen...I'm stealing...
this fellow thief carries my breath.

In a morning too brisk to be
August where fields of dew
kiss our sand paper tongues,
the air lies webbed with music

and I'm staring up a speckled white –

housed ash...
red lips...
burning Red...

Outback where Siberia extends
its ever-frozen limbs, and a
thieving windless wave settles down
between our unpicked pockets,

a sort of soft lonesome breath makes
its way from our lungs - the same
frost of life that ceases when siblings
grow too old to share a bed.

we've grown apart in Siberian nightmare;
our stolen days coated in hibernal sigh.

I'm staring up a speckled white;
this ash, these lips, this burning Red knows my face.


Thinking back now I can
still hear dawn's dirge for
cherry oak November night –

"We are but maple spiders
walking across birch tables;
evergreen eyes growing
ever-fonder, ever-wider.

We are but young homes
letting the flame walk right in."

Dysgraphia & Diagraphics

Made to retire in a
wrinkled attire,
and left with the sweet
constraint of impatient shackles,

I retire for
that is what men do.

I age because
that's what men do.

Where peace rests as an uneven frame,
I'm awaking as the step amid this staircase.
I'm standing as the retired strut in this
hall of modern dance.

But, oh, what life is in
these retired steps!

Life like the frantic pace of a lost June bug,
frantically pacing in river-surface

Life like my own descending body,
falling as rotted dropsondes into
thy lips and out of thy bed.

Oh, young peace,
young lung soaking up younger air –

your day-in-age will age with men,
your shackles will retire with rusted gags.

Paralytic Linguist

"All but truer words," I started,
ceiling out to twice my
height in a graze of
neighbor's feet,

"All but pure sayings in this
pitch white, player card terrain."

As if coating our throats,
black coffee, or cranberry tart,
deep in conversations of our
dreaming tongues,

we broke bread, even-faced,
and joked about how man
could never be man's
best friend.

So I started –

"If I were to recall, here of all
places, now of all times, why it's so
important to be able to forget...

or should I let my chords, like
stubborn cloth, tear 'mongst uneven
responses to reason and design...

then truly,
our hesperian heirs
have outgrown their
coming thrones.

Truly, our language should
be left for dead."

Welcome to Vermont, Denver Birth

When the time comes, layer me son.
Pull silence over eld, let your days
calm as an old man's ashes over older
man's soil,

and layer me with the peace of
brotherhood. At night, in sweat, I
can still hear the calling of empty
lots lost in songs from a nip bottle.

They ring clear as tiger sigh,
clear as youth's desire.

They say that time is coming,
we're aging well.

And somewhere, a Taconic Crest
Trail, drenched in floods of shade –
you'll laugh with ghosts, piecing,
forward pacing,

waking as the shoulders of
all-too-common beasts.

You'll live with the inked
paradise of a Williams Inn chlorine
sip while I stand as the layer
'mongst older man's soil.

For these, son, are notes from your hometown:
a closing pub of purple in some western
state of mind. A percussive lapse in some
other trickling majestic shine.

And these words, Jeremy, are but marks of an
old town: poor posture and an almost
indistinguishable yellow tinge, Vermont's air
never holding us this way again.

So when it comes, layer me son.
Let go of this, your fail speech,
and wrap our history with
gifts of time.


Our cities opened
in calligraphic arc,
kissing the hazel singe

(an orange sun in streaked sky, the
coming wolf howl with wind howling back).

And our cities closed,
mouths agape,
a kiss of hazel singe.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...