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Ricky Garni

From COMMENTS WITHOUT COSMOS

  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 ...

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Ricky Garni

From COMMENTS WITHOUT COSMOS

  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. ...

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Ricky Garni

From COMMENTS WITHOUT COSMOS

    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- ...

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Ricky Garni

From COMMENTS WITHOUT COSMOS

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.

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Quinn White

Figuring

The butcher’s shop was in the hospital/ where, headed to my MRI,/ I wondered why that white, psychic tunnel/ made earplugs and mantras/ helpful, seals within seals/ secure, when I turned/ into a corner where skinned calves stood, blinking. / Others were in process, ripping.

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Mark Powell

Murdering Your Darlings: Mark Powell

Interview by Johnny Damm JD: I’d like to start by asking you about what must be the largest logistical change here, shifting the war memories from WWII to Vietnam. What dictated this choice and at what point in the process did it occur to you? MP: This was a very late, and reluctant, change. As the story developed the age of Elijah proved to be a continual stumbling block. Simply put: he was too old to make believable certain moments. I wanted him to be a WWII vet for sentimental and thematic reasons. The lateness of this change is proof of my ...

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

  3 Limestone. Asphalt. Bitumen. Stones in the road, a telephone pole, silver paint flecks falling away, crude hearts scratched into the metal, fleeting encounters in teenage life are immortalized for the lifecycle of the metal cylinder outside our house. Mam at the door. “Your tea’s ready, come on in, now.” Sound travels over water. Mam’s voice travels over the tarmacadam ribbon, across the road and up the lane into Hollie’s Plant Hire company. Dumpster trucks with slabs of ice, 5′ x 4′ floes, turn fingers blue, shatter on oil-soaked ground. Perimeter wall is lined with barbed wire, three strands wide, the ...

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

  2 Birdseye fish fingers, creamed potatoes, Heinz beans, and maybe, just maybe, a slice of buttered toast. All washed down with hot tea, a blessing on you for taking care of your children, missus. Knock once for yes, twice for no. A low card table with a green felt inlay, deck of dog-eared cards, the suits faded and fingered to nothingness. There was a house up the lane from where we lived, three-story, with a sprawling back garden that seemed to go on forever. It could have been the Garden of Eden, or Gethsemane, but it was the garden of criminal intent ...

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

You shared a house in Harrow and Wealdstone with Frank, Mickey, Ken, and Elaine. The place was a cuckoo’s nest of oddities. Mickey, Elaine, and Ken were all from the same small town in Northern Ireland, a town containing a large mental institution it was rumored the entire population had at one time been in. You heard Ken’s maniacal laughter on the tube to Covent Garden one night, his hoots more like a howler monkey than human being.

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Mark Powell

Murdering Your Darlings: Mark Powell

Anything you can compress—and still retain sense—is more powerful than what came before. Very often I tend to clutter a description or insight with three or four mediocre details when a single perfect detail eludes me. I deceive myself into thinking that when quality is absent I can somehow make up for it with quantity.

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Elliot Gallion

The Spill

4. The President’s declaration of the End of Fun did not inspire mass protest or violent demonstration, even from the most extreme of fringe elements. This was contrary to the President’s assumption, shared by his advisors and most law-enforcement and intelligence arms, that such a statement would inspire a long-running internal conflict. The air was ripe with discontent, certainly, but no more than usual. The nation, having suffered the burden of chaos in the wake of the Spill—a time of great change and cultural upheaval—seemed to settle: calm and unprovoked. There began a period of quiet contemplation. High-ranking thinkers attempted to formulate ...

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Elliot Gallion

The Spill

3. It was that one-two combination—the Literary Scene’s Elder members’ Theory about soon-to-be-silenced cultural voices and the leaking of classified documents concerning the as-yet publicly unacknowledged End of Fun—that inspired the efforts of one Arin Joy, a well-regarded ex-journalist-turned-Post-Spill-fictionist, whose simultaneous crippling fear and giddy anticipation of the impending death of another cultural voice inspired him to join literary forces with a dozen fellow journalists-cum-Post-Spill-fictionists to collect, in a single 136-page volume, excerpts from what Joy called “aborted accounts”: pieces of literary non-fiction and long-form journalism about the Spill and the Clean-Up, including personal narratives, omniscient experiential essays, in-depth reportage and ...

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Elliot Gallion

The Spill

2. As forces within the government began the preliminary stages of the Post-Spill Clean-Up and the nation prepared itself for embarkation into a new epoch in its ongoing history, there echoed a definite silence from the Literary Scene’s practitioners of Non-Fiction. Non-Fiction’s Journalism apparatus, in particular, struggled to address those facts relevant to telling the story of the Spill. Efforts to objectively observe events as they happened then pass on or tell about or report on those events in a factual, cogent and professional manner were met with the particularly violent variety of scorn and derision that often issues from the mouths ...

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Elliot Gallion

The Spill

1. When asked by the President to fulfill the duty implicit in her honored position, Gilda Sopht—the nation’s poet laureate—remained silent: so memorably in the past had she marshaled the nation’s people through times both trivial and tragic with unwavering selfless grace and virtuous certitude, but in the aftermath of the Spill she memorably declined. The President publicly expressed his disappointment with Gilda’s silence, but took no action political or punitive; privately, he was hurt, having wrongly presumed far too much in their few meals and walks together at her home in a storied region of the country. His reputation, like Gilda’s, ...

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Jacob Cooper

Commencer Une Autre Mort

Death often seems perfunctory in opera. It is so ubiquitous and so expected that it rarely elicits any sentiment in the viewer: no compassion, no terror, no pain. By digitally altering recordings of staged performances, this video strives to make us feel such emotion in a “revised” scene from Bizet’s Carmen.

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jojo Lazar

jojo Lazar in Three Forms

The hooligans with funny hair, rodent-topped canes, the look/ that they may make loud jokes about fish tacos, declare “I’ll be/ drinking my dinner. Bring me some dinner rolls!”

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