I want to thank you for being so

thoroughly gone. Did you need me

to talk about how bad our country is

at death? I remember the teenage actors

trying to scare me in the cemetery

the choral singing, an owl perched

on a volunteer’s arm at the end

a curl of supermoon melting away

mornings I would flee the bad-smelling bed

a group of old men in the coffee shop were shitty

to a woman in ways they think of as kind

my voice coming now from inside a tube

of dead hornets, a metal tubful of oil

cracked and leaking underground

sometimes it matters when people know

I’m annoyed, green light dragging

through the seasons

an army of sex toys buzzing

maybe that’s the reason

I want my friends to have kids

so I don’t have to share

sometimes did you ever sneak a piece

of my cold butter into your mouth


Tyler Brewington

Series Entry 24.8


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”


Merritt Zella

Series Entry 24.7


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

In the desert all I ever wanted was to be in love

 

and asleep. The threat of love hung

 

over the morning I ran out of oil

 

and for the first time fried an egg in butter.

 

I knew I had maybe six good miracles left.

 

Every time I said I missed the rain he rolled

 

a single pearl to me across our blue table.

 

Retreats to the mountain lake house

 

where bare and sandaled feet padded

 

past a rattlesnake until some drunker uncle

 

used a shovel to behead it. A death was never

 

a surprise. At night I’d put on a sweater

 

and walk out to the sand’s lacy salt edge

 

where I knew the moon was mine, and there

 

I’d remember a snowball shattering the pane

 

of an antique lantern, the orange glow spilled

 

out. I’d think of trees, growing.


Tyler Brewington

Series Entry 24.6


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

Series Entry 24.5

Merritt Zella

Series Entry 24.5


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

COMPARISON IS THE BASIS OF ALL KNOWLEDGE & ALL REASONING

.

The drinking water reservoir

has to move indoors so people and animals

can’t pee in it. The mountains I love are younger

and taller than me by one inch. I take my whole

burning skin down to basement, give my throat

a pillar. Without desire there is hope. I come

right to the spot. Get well. I would spend seventeen

years creating a pond for you to rise from.

I’d maintain moonlight, cool clinging shorts.

  


Tyler Brewington

Series Entry 24.4


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

Series Entry 24.3

Merritt Zella

Series Entry 24.3


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

I might not vanish, for you, the second I am out of your immediate sensory range, and I love that, I love how we could choose fear, but do not, and I love how we could have chosen to leave the basement at once, and did, though we couldn’t go too far southeast for awhile, past that green corner where the bridge is, finally, more interesting to look at than the water, curving along the golf course, a territory of possibility we didn’t yet need to claim. The things that happen to our bodies are real. Too late we went to see the rhododendrons, which had already bloomed and dropped, but we were almost in love again. The trunks were smooth and perfect with life. The blossoms that remained looked leftover from an impoverished, tea-stained past, beautiful, like poppies, fascinating to observe at every stage of their life cycle. You and you youth obsession, I said, and meant it. Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.  


Tyler Brewington

Series Entry 24.2


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”

Series Entry 24.1

Merritt Zella

Series Entry 24.1


Description

Series_24

Merritt Zella & Tyler Brewington

To speak of death is to not. This is the paradox with which we all live on a daily basis. Series 24 featuring the collected work of Tyler Brewington (poetry) and Merritt Zella (photography / video) explores this condition through an examination of shifting recollection, necessary illusion, and quotidian detail. As one of Brewington’s pieces observes, “the trunks were smooth and perfect with life […] Five faltering blossoms opened at once. We could quiet one of them, but the other four were still there.” Death becomes playfully indivisible from a common mottle of whack-a-mole lives. The series inexorably settles into the implications of this thought over the span of 12 entries that somehow both drift and carry tinges of inevitability throughout. Both artists seem attuned to the realization that the words and actions we employ to express death actually imbue it with life. The more avoided as terminal and dire, the more we begin to describe merely the inverse reflection of a potent, if desperate vitality. It is unsurprising that in extremis, at the dramatic moment just before expiration, we often claim to feel most alive. Zella acknowledges this perhaps most mesmerizingly, and not without a degree of dark humor, in the sole video entry of the series featuring a cemetery scene that brightens and drains of light continuously like a record skipping for sake of keeping rhythm: the solemn stone chambers and obelisks remain; it’s a measured trick of validating light that changes their complexion and, by extension, their initially flippant, then suddenly grave meanings. Over and over again. Death becomes manageable and alluring in this way. We consign it to the end of things for the thrill that will immediately precede the moment we ‘perish’. A kind of romance awaits us in this magical thinking, a conclusive erotic mingling of terror and joy before the stage goes dark….until the next show.

But this is not death that we speak of. This is merely another description of the character created to stand in its place, to simultaneously deflect a deeper intimacy shared with death than we dare concede and absorb the trauma of half-fulfilled desires by giving closure to what we come to know is, despite ourselves, always just beginning. One of Brewington’s poems captures this well with the inscrutable, yet strangely familiar evocative phase “a green light dragging through the seasons.” There is, of course, no stage on which we perish, shedding mortal coils with all the terrible beauty of last breaths. Death is instead akin to a constant vague presence claiming by increment or indifferent swiftness, shadowing each step we take—less like a ghoulish reaper on patrol than a wry imaginary friend we gradually pursue to make more real over time. Zilla’s images run parallel to this idea, opening with ghostly hummingbirds and library books carrying the dates of past readers before leading us into stunning, depthless darks at the bases of looming mountain peaks. The details of loitering, banal death bloom out into grand scapes of our own making. Memory and daily experience are the hosting vehicles of this death. In other words (and that’s the thing, there are always ‘other words’), that which bears and holds the most of what is deigned to be the stuff of life is where we find death most present, most palpable. And, it never ‘ends’, despite ultimate wants to contrary: “You, sealed alive inside a black valley / Me, a steaming black mountain / Embers of real care throbbed in the wind / I was ready for the world to be enough.”

The continuity of mercurial weather, of recurring thought altered just slightly by new association—the small room we decorate with cheap images of sunset seas at perpetual dusk—this is the constant death not of grim shrouds and unfathomable nothingness, but of the companions we keep close in mind, find in each other, and discover in the things that surround. In a kind of semi-conscious daze, we take for granted that they can be preserved, then secretly love them for defying our desire, for leaving us to memory and wondering over what dreams may have come. Their tauntingly boring, wondrously elusive, and forever ongoing death gives us, for lack of a better word, life. Or, as Tyler Brewington encapsulates in the final entry, “At first I looked like a man walking in place on the sand. / Like standing still with all of my bones breaking at once.”