From COMMENTS WITHOUT COSMOS

Ricky Garni

Superman (2)

 


SUPERMAN (1932)

Things Were Much Better in the Fifties


It’s easy to say “Things were much better in the ‘50’s” because so much time has passed and the memory of those distant years, over time, becomes wrapped in sweet nostalgia as if wrapped in a soft and gentle decorous georgette saree, but not a saree that covers your body so much as one that dwells restlessly without a body to cover, and in your mind.

Recently, however, I watched an episode of Superman which demonstrated in vivid detail precisely how unsettling the ‘50s really were. Back then, everybody who went on vacation went to places like Moose Island, Maine. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, if you think so, try asking Jimmy Olsen how nice it is. First of all, back then, if you were to have an aunt, she would appear secretive and sinister. Your cousin, we’ll call him Chris, would wear one of those Joe Palooka beanies and wouldn’t look at you and wouldn’t greet you by shaking your hand. He wouldn’t have a bit of it. Nope. And the housekeeper? Beautiful, but also deaf and dumb. Scary, huh? But that’s not all. If you were to take a pleasant vacation stroll in the woods, you would hear a haunting voice scream “Help me! I’m drowning!” and the lighthouse that would have been abandoned–well, its lights would become mysteriously illuminated at night. And don’t forget Matt, who is about as nice as Chris in the Joe Palooka beanie and would suddenly appear out of nowhere and put a knife to your throat and tell you to stay away from the lighthouse! And even if you were to mind your own business and stay in your room, you would receive mysterious notes from your aunt, slipped surreptitiously under your door and pleading for help–and the hand-writing would be different from her handwriting on her recipes for her delicious blueberry muffins! Try to escape your so-called ‘vacation house’ and you will find yourself face down in a cave with the tide rising in the cave and you will be drowning–drowning, that is, until Superman comes and bends the cave bars (they used to have them back in the ‘50s) and he would do that with his mighty arms which he would then use to kill Matt, hold Chris up in the air dangling by the scruff of his shirt collar and then bend one of those bars around his torso and then give Matt’s pistol to your real aunt–the one who really did write the recipe for her delicious blueberry muffins–so that she could personally apprehend the pretend aunt and bring her to justice with a pistol, which would be a good thing since she is really just a petty smuggler or arms dealer or something in cahoots with Chris and Matt who are also criminals who probably aren’t giving their real names anyway and because your aunt secretly likes the idea of holding a loaded gun and pointing it at an arms smuggler, and when she does, her eyes would dance playfully, like those of a little girl. I know that this part sounds like fun, but while you consider the fun part, don’t forget the rest of it: Chris’ sullenness, Matt’s knife at your throat, the damp and misty New England air, the “Help me! I’m drowning!” person, the Edsel, the Korean War, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, The Clutter Family, etc. You can’t be too romantic about the 50’s–you can be gentle to them, but try to be realistic. It really wasn’t that great–even though they had Moose Island, Maine, and even though, at least for a while, they had Superman.

 

Ted Nugent (2)

 

TED NUGENT (1948)

In a Field of Daisies


Strolling through a book

as though I was in a field

of daisies on a lazy summer

day reading a book,

I discovered that my


son was born on the same

day as Heavy Metal Cross-

Bow Hunting Rock Star

what’s-his-name. It was

the best day of my life. It was


a great day in his life.

It was a great day

for thrashy heavy metal.

It was a great day for ears.

And amps. And arrows

that kill deer. They look

up quickly and say “Whaa-”

and then nothing. It was a

great day for the word

WHAA-

 

Robby the Robot

ROBBY THE ROBOT (1956)

Science Fiction Theatre


She has beautiful legs

he said. Does she? But

that’s not a she: that’s

Robby the Robot.


Wait. It is Robby

the Robot, but

Robby the Robot

next to a she, a girl

with beautiful legs.

He is caressing her

legs. She is letting

him caress her legs.

She is smiling. Robby

is smiling–a Robby


the Robot smile.

She must be Robby’s

girl. Oh the humanity.

 

Lord Byron

LORD BYRON (1788)

Where is my Mother?


Lord Byron had some funny habits. Sometimes he liked to take the ‘i’ off the word ‘it.’ Of course, he would add an apostrophe before the ‘t’ and thus it would read:

‘t

I’ve spent a lot of time studying Lord Byron, and so far that’s the only mistake that I have seen him make. I mean, it looks like a mistake. Although it would be misleading and pretentious to suggest that all I do is study Lord Byron: I do not. I also swim in waterfalls in Brazil, I also drink Bekerovka in Prague with las mujeres de la calles. To suggest that all I do is study Lord Byron would be to give the appearance of boasting. Yesterday, for example, rather than study Lord Byron, I harpooned a sting ray as it floated in a Floridian canal. Today I took off my clothes and entered into a new world. You know what else? I was born in a crossfire hurricane. Animals from the spirit world hearken to greet me. I use a cobra snake for a necktie. I am the only one, among my four brothers, who can swallow the ocean. Also: where is my mother?

There is no more to be said at this time about Lord Byron.

 

Samuel Johnson (2)

SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709)

Goddam Hell

The year 1747 was made more distinguished by his writing of the

DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.


I once asked him by what means he had attained such an astonishing

knowledge of language and he replied:


“How in the goddam hell should I know?”


Which is to say: not the effect of a particular study, but that which

had grown in his mind insensibly.


I was, understandably, a little surprised at his curt tone, his abrupt, and somewhat taciturn

response, and his uncharacteristic lack of curiosity on about my super slick shiny chrome modern

 

time transport machine with the wavy silver lightning bolt lines on top.

About the Work

Ricky Garni

Ricky Garni is a graphic designer living in Carrboro, North Carolina. His work can be found in EVERGREEN REVIEW, CAMEL SALOON, USED FURNITURE REVIEW, ORION HEADLESS and other places. His latest work, JANUARY, is a sequel to his earlier work, DECEMBER. Although it could be the other way around, with a lot of space in between.

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