Genesis 17:17 by Paris Green

The civil war never really touched us. Every once in a while we had to mutter shibboleths to get past men in different hoodies, but they were pretty obvious about what they expected so you didn’t have to worry about it too much. Hard to get fruit for a while, hard to get corn for a while. You know how it is. On the radio there was the usual chatter about glory devices going off far away from us, but besides the one in Longview there was never really anything like that too close to Olympia, and that was a year ago. Then one morning most of the radio went silent and there was music, and we were all told we had been liberated. People celebrated, drank hard seltzer, broke out fireworks, grilled a little meat, shot their guns into the air. Few murders, few hangings, nothing major. I-5 was clogged to shit all day, northbound and southbound both, full of people with all the money they could take out of the bank at once, and we all had a good laugh about that.

Hot pockets in the evening, and in the morning a bowl of cereal.

I woke up the next day and it was Monday, and I wondered if it meant I had to go into work. I mean, the reds had won, so maybe I didn’t. But I wanted to keep everything straight so I clocked in at 8 AM. Richardson the foreman looked like hell, told us he had gotten into molly with some wobbly strange because who was gonna drug test anymore, and he was stressed out about what the war being over meant for production. The boss never showed up; everyone said he was probably headed for Canada or Cali or something. But management was still breathing down his neck. One of the guys in the skin and hair department told him he could probably tell them to go fuck themselves now, but he shut that up. “Without us, society grinds to a halt,” he said, “revolution or no revolution. Maybe in the long run we don’t work for management, but we gotta work. And if anyone has a problem with that -“

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Roleplay by Ava Hofmann

wow. i can’t believe the thislife rp forums are still alive. i thought the community would have moved on to other games by now or something.

i forgot the password to my old account, but if anyone here still remembers who i am, i went by BloodMoon13 back when i was active on thislife (from around 2008-2011). as you might have been able to guess, i first made that account when i was thirteen years old. which, you know, it might not have been so appropriate for a kid to participate on a nsfw roleplaying server like thislife. but, yeah, the standards were a lot more lax than they are now from what i can tell. so that’s good to see.

i’m not sure why i’m writing all this out to you guys, but i guess i just want to write all my memories of this place down in a place where other people will understand it. when you try to tell your therapist or your girlfriend or whatever about rp servers it takes like an hour for them to understand what an rp server even is, you know? you gotta explain that strike-force is this first person shooter game, but then somehow explain how you’re playing a modded version of the game where you don’t have to shoot anybody and you get to just play as as a regular person. one time, i had a therapist who just did not get it. she once called the rp server “like playing house online” or some shit. like, what? i changed therapists after that.

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NEWSPAPER CLIPPING, 1976 by Josiah Morgan

The body was a body but somebody had dressed it up in an alive kids clothing. Nobody in the room really knew what to do with it. Somebody said that because the group had stumbled across it we could call the kid ours. Something traced the outline of his jaw in its notebook and we started to believe that was real. It was as real as we wanted it to be. The building knew somebody was coming, it seemed. The door was lying open at arrival with a big slit down the middle like a wound that we couldn’t quite see. For a while it seemed that door was plastered on the kid’s face and his nose was a slit we could have slipped inside and rented out for our own use. Somebody pulled out a phone to call the cops but the reception was shit from downstairs and their questions would have been impossible to answer anyway. Nobody was supposed to be here. Here was a place just for us and only at nighttime. But now something had ruined it, something that we did not want had wormed its way inside our space and we couldn’t quite map its geometry we had to move around it. It was an object that one of us could trace like the outline of a shoddy circle but not quite accurately draw. This was a place that had been a home and now something had ruined it.

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ALL OVER by IAN MARTIN

Mona says I am scared of commitment. I tell her to stop getting drunk and calling me every time she feels sorry for herself and wants to take it out on me. Mona says that she hopes one day I understand where she’s coming from. I tell her to shut up and grow up and then I hang up the phone.

 

I go on a Tinder date with some boy. We play a board game and I suck his dick.

 

The Tinder boy texts me to go hiking on Saturday. I vomit dark mess into the toilet because I’ve had too much cider at my friend’s birthday party. Mona hasn’t called me in three days and I almost forgot she existed at all.

 

We drive home from the park. I feel good all over. He drops me at the corner near my building. I blow him a kiss. He catches it in his hand and shoves it down the front of his shorts.

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Reseda by Eris Victoria Aldrich

The neon glow of the 7-11 sign hangs limply in the Los Angeles smog. The night air is stagnant, warm and the sky is painted a dark, reddish brown that makes me wonder if we’re already on Mars. The sky is the same color as the wine I’m drinking from a plastic Coca Cola bottle and sharing with my best friend.
 
A tall girl with delicate limbs zipped up in a purple American Apparel hoodie is standing in front of the store. She eyes me as I’m about to walk in and asks me if I have any money, since she needs some for cigarettes. She emphasizes that it’s for cigarettes. She has short, blonde hair, hair like a lesbian, so I trust her. I fish through my soft, denim bag, sorting through the shine of empty gum wrappers until I find a five to give her. I scan her face methodically, wait a second for my breath to turn invisible in the cold air, and decide to ask her if she knows where I can get any drugs. “What do you want?” she asks me, not rudely at all, not even missing a beat. “Like, H?” she continues. I’m silent for a second. Heroin? I was looking for meth, since I thought it was more common. “Sure,” I say. “Or crystal,” I mumble. “You know, anything.” Across the street a bus stops and groans an asthmatic release. My own breath, a beat, passes. I choose to ignore the bus.
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WE WHO REMAINED by Jane Diesel

Where are the bodies now?

We who remain remember them, dragged out into the street in the red light the next morning. Vague shapes. Contorting in the cold morning. Some mottled purple, some with bleached bones, some with glassy eyes marred with fear, some still alive, but still, and still, and still—bodies. Where are they now?

Do they scream out from shallow graves? Where fields lie barren, our sons sowed into the ground. Taking root. Where worms gnaw upon and shit out our future. 

Or were they left unconsecrated? Did they burst up like the screams of the stolen daughters, keening into a crescendo until stopping—at once—in silence? Are they in the air now, filling the lungs of the new generation that will replace the lost?

Where are the bodies?

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Do not neglect your alter-self’s alter destiny by txgen

Few need be convinced that the Black individual is the ideal example of the ‘other-being’. What may take a bit more convincing is that the transnationalization of the Black condition was the constitutive moment for modernity. In the first volume of his monumental study of the development of the capitalist mode of development, Capitalism and Civilization, Fernand Braudel cites the Black Slave as the key gear which allowed mass European migration across the Atlantic, for without this slave population the available labour-power would not have reasonably sustained the colonization efforts, a central fact of Mbembe’s Critique of Black Reason. “The progression from man-of-ore to man-of-metal to man-of-money was a structuring dimension of the early phase of capitalism.” This same movement, the invention of blackness, has been central in the continual modernization of the objet d’art (objet du son?), most notably in the development of European primitivism. 

Summarized by the phrase “summons, interiorization, and reversal”, Mbembe locates the figure of Africa and the notion of the Black Individual at the heart of the conceptual development of contemporary art. The Black Individual, in their supposed inertia lacked what was “necessary” to explore Existential Territories outside their own. Their capacities for interpretation and conceptualization were regarded as belonging to “savage mentality”. It was the White European who was able to employ a history and rationality to the Black Individual’s irrational degeneration. Here we find the first type of movement of the refrain, the creation of Blackness as the ‘inferior other’, the creation of a territory. The second type appears in almost the same moment, the affirmation and protection of the territory. For the White person, this means a distancing of oneself from the Black individual. For the individual plagued by their Blackness, we are left to seek self-degredation to the limit of annihilation. Finally, the Black individual crosses a threshold whereby they have been supposedly liberated by the chains of their race. However, Mbembe notes that even this last movement, still relies in part on the continued existence of a notion of Blackness rooted in European Colonialism. It is in this space most frequently we see claims to the “re-educating” and “civilizing” mission of the onto the Black individual, such that they may be stripped of their Blackness finally gain their humanity. It is under this guise that “neocolonialization” and “urbanization” projects take place. There are no easy solutions to the dilemmas presented here. What is made very evident is that if we are to speak of a survival of any form of humanity (or something beyond), it must be one based in the concepts of restitution and reparations.

 

Calling Planet Earth! CALLING PLANET EARTH

CONCERNS

I’M MADE TO FEEL LIKE AN INTRUDER IN THE PLACE I WAS BORN
THE TERRITORY I LIVE IN IS DESIGNED TO ISOLATE ME
AXIOMATICS IS OVERTAKING PRAGMATICS
PRECARITY REAFFIRMS ITSELF AS THE DOMINANT MODE OF EXISTENCE
CENTRIST JARGON IS OVERTAKING FORMERLY LEFTIST SPACES
BLACK WOMEN ARE ENDANGERED
THERE IS NO VISIBLE END

REMINDERS

THERE ARE THREE “O” ’S WHEN TWO TERRITORIES MEET

    o + o = os

    o: The Territory, The Planet, Code

    +: more than an equation
    Bridge, Problem, Difference, Autoproduction

    os: the word for the mouth or opening
    symbol of change, process, becoming, transcoding

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The Birthday Party by Anthony Dragonetti

I remember a door made of orange and brown beads. Not a door, more of a curtain. It was the entrance to the house once you were in the tiny foyer, which was where we all left our shoes. Above the doorway was a green hued Christ looking down from his cross, his dead flesh guarding my grandmother’s home. It’s the first thing I can recall making me afraid. Whenever my parents brought us over to visit, I would try not to look at it. I’d still catch a glimpse, though, and I think I wanted to despite being too young to understand the impulse.

The house smelled funny. We’d usually go for Sunday dinner, so there was a tomato sauce mask over it. Underneath the oregano and rosemary, the air was stale. Completely still. Thinking about it now, it’s because she never opened the windows. Behind the blinds, the glass was caked over with dust, keeping the sunlight out. The house felt subterranean, as if buried under ash, despite looking like every other modest, single family house on a corner in Bensonhurst.

There was a dog bowl in the front yard, but there hadn’t been a dog in years. Much like the baby cribs in the basement, the locks of hair, the teeth. Reminders of what used to exist before the ash settled, slowly accumulating while no one seemed to notice.

The first time I was taken to the birthday party, I was eight or nine. My parents had somehow gotten me out of it until that point, but for whatever reason my father finally acquiesced, and my mother treated his word as final. The first birthday party occurred when I was three and I was left with my mother’s parents for the night. For the next five or so years, this remained the arrangement.

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My Father Says and When We Went to Disney© We Didn’t See Disney© by Anthony Kelly

My Father Says

it’s just me over here with glass in my eye – make cups with your hands he says – fill them like chalices or buckets for blood – pull that top eyelid down to your knee – blink– and again – 

no more talking to fireworks he says – you’ll go damn blind – it hurt to cry but I did because I know that I stole them from the basement with jason – our blood was pumping and we’d been wrestling too close to the fire hydrant again – someone’s going to crack their damn head open he says – there it goes – call an ambulance you fucking retards – 

threw a football at his face and he beat the damn pulp out of me and I felt clear again – like GOD was busting through my chest with a light so big it punched my spine into place – fucking FINALLY I screamed – my neck was no longer stuck out like a crow – my arms no longer needling and thin –

that was the day I fell asleep in church with my arms burrowed up underneath a polo t-shirt – that was the style – that was cool back then – it was the same summer I threw jason off of the canoe and left him to drown in the lake – he’d called me a fag but it wasn’t true and he swam home and beat the living shit out of me – my father says that’s what you get – you asked for it – you –

and there’s still glass in my eye when I speak because jason works at the bank downtown and takes pictures of his girlfriend – she wears bikinis that get me hard – has a lot of blonde friends – she caught him –

he lives in a house made of songs with a massive lawn I thought kids our age couldn’t afford yet – and I’m still just me over here – breathing out – talking to fireworks again – burning the hair on the insides of my thighs – because I never learned to shave –

three years ago my father brought me a copy of the collected works of mark twain in the hospital – I never told jason that I was back in town – it was the same hospital where I was born –

When We Went to Disney© We Didn’t See Disney© 

and I’m glad we didn’t see Disney© – we drove all the way through Disney© but never stopped there once – we had planned a lot and had oh the places to go but nonetheless they were never in Disney© – and that was what we loved –

we stayed in a quaint little B&B on the outskirts of Disney© where they brought food to our room on little white plates and wore cute little white aprons with The Mickey Mouse™ on them but still insisted that they weren’t from Disney© – 

after that we drove and stayed in a little shack in someone’s paved backyard – tucked away in the corner of a nice suburb with watering cans and vines pouring out over the door with trees that shaded our drinks – 

the people that hosted us were never from Disney© or had anything to do with it – they all had smiles on and had two shiny cars in their driveways and had jobs that they were always going to – protest signs on their lawns – 

our limousine driver’s family came to this place on the Oregon Trail® a hundred thousand years ago and had never heard of a god damn Disney© – and that was strange –

the only thing we ever saw that definitely was Disney© was the way the D was always capitalized in Disney© – that D was scratched on to everything around us – it was sold on every t-shirt in every store – flags with it flying fucking everywhere – as far as the eye could see – 

and I’m still not comfortable with talking about Disney© because I’m still unsure if I have ever been to Disney© – and that was what we loved – 

 

 

 

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Private View by Sam Machell

The girl’s jaw aches from gurning. She is sitting on the sofa opposite the exhibition’s introductory text. Her head is crooked and throbbing and rested, bulging, in her hand that sweats. Don’t worry, said her friend, I’ll be there by 11. For invigilation I mean. I’m real proud of you babe, it’s like cool as hell to have your work shown in a proper sort of gallery like this. Lol thanks gal aha! Maybe I could give you a guided tour of all the work, yknow, if you wanted. Tell you what it all means. The girl promised her friend she’d see it before it closed. It’s the final day today, and it’s hot like the sweaty clutch of morning regret. She went out last night and hasn’t been home to change. In her left arm she cradles a Lucozade. She dropped and smashed her phone in the club toilets when she was trying to take a mirror selfie with some strangers she met in the smoking area. It’s happened before. Little flakes of glass would break off and embed in her fingers as she scrolled. The time is 11:29 and her battery is below 10%. Her face is fragmented in the reflection.

    The studio is getting hotter and hotter. Everything is slowly stewing in the muggy scent of spectral patrons. The ceiling-spanning skylights are too high to be opened, and the corrugated metal loading door is locked. It’s Saturday. Every visible surface is white. Maybe she could find the energy to prop open the door and allow in some breeze. She has to squint it’s so bright. There are barely any catalogues remaining, besides the ones with footprints and dog ears that drift along the polished concrete floor. The covers on the cushions and the letters on the wall are both made from polyvinyl chloride. Both are also wavering and reflective like spilt oil.

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