Already Dead 𝑏𝑦 Germán Sierra

we imagine ourselves already dead—the soft mirrorettes that used to look at you in amazement have long since broken, while the hand … bah, who cares what those ignoring-it-all scarecrow-grass fingers ever did—no one alerted, or bothering to check out, not even to take note or for routine certification; corpses like toads gobbled up by right-angle snakes armed with sharp jewelry and deadly enzymatic compression; exquisite putrefaction in the intestines of bare, elemental apartments, which have been modestly comfortable graves all along—the walls, white—the shelves, ossuaries of paper—the few pieces of furniture, improvised catafalques—this laptop, a tombstone—the music that lights up, a requiem—passwords, an epitaph—the views, a purgatory—work, unfinished—the unknown, not cleared—the puzzle, unsolved—the reward, not collected—, having presumably gotten rid of, as it is customary in certain coldern countries, almost everything superfluous; secret socialites, old clothes and shoes, archaic computers, a jukebox and a Japanese-made typewriter, badly screwed and crumbling furniture, costume jewelery, talismans, an endless sequence of fractal fantasies, objects abandoned by those who had temporarily stayed in our place (friends, or people who had nowhere to go, or whom we fucked, or we desired, or who wanted to fuck us but we didn’t realize or didn’t want to find out and decided to offer them the bed while we stayed on the couch appropriating the guest’s intoxication to suck his dreams, feeding ourselves with the fantasy of a severed throat uncovering a stream of blood), the remains of a whole pharmacopoeia for minor and temporary ailments, magazine and newspaper clippings that echoed of our incessant activity, gifts never removed from their box, one of those lamps called flexos, never scrubbed teapots, a videotape player, albums with photographs already digitized, a bicycle wheel, a bevel, kitchen utensils that we never got to use, some whose usefulness we still don’t know and only remind us of the fascinating surgical instruments in a Cronenberg movie; quilts and blankets worn out by the surge of the muscles, by the sequential impact of waves that dragged innumerable bones eroding all the surfaces and edges of the house until they were curved and smooth, by the rhythm of dreams of agitated bodies; frayed rugs, ripped curtains, exotic liquor bottles, statuettes, scribbled notebooks, odd and impure numbers, various works of art we did not attribute value to, toys left by the children of others, a checkerboard without chips, a tamagotchi, nuts and screws, a collection of plastic ashtrays of different sizes and colors, the shell of a turtle, a rifle bullet without powder or sheath, a pair of ping pong rackets, a microscope with broken lenses, matchboxes from restaurants, phones from way before they were smart, instruction manuals for home appliances starting to rust around their corners, three hats, canning cans, an umbrella, a dowsing pendulum, a stuffed piranha, an alpine knife, an ivory mouthpiece, a cardboard box containing fossils and Lego pieces, an orb, sheet music, a small glass jar full of spare change from another era, coins with little value but a million vernacular nicknames, coined in alloys so light they looked like paper buttons; having considered lighting a pyre or throwing everything out the window like vomit, the undigested by time, enjoying the destruction of the meteorological past crashing onto the also dead asphalt, hoping that, with the objects, certain habits and obsessions would also go away —or maybe not, maybe what we were longing for was to get closer to extinction with our vices intact and the satin shroud attached to the skin, superimposing folds to wrinkles, transforming us into a macabre instrument of crisscrossed strings that could, perhaps, incite a manic pizzicato fetish—; algorithms concealing our silent desertion with their crude but effective imitations, responding to the falsified messages that will continue to arrive as if they were still us; posting pre-programmed videos; plants watering and sunning themselves; our clothes, ironed, lightly scented, impractical, hanging in the closet; a suit that we haven’t worn since the day we were awarded a distinction; the frozen wind of the arctic hurrying farewell to the terrors that it will be depositing in the mailboxes; our credit cards paying automatically all those invoices from companies that provided us with a service and will not pause to consider the death of a debtor without heirs or fortune; profiles and avatars, still active, twinkling, hoisting our retouched covers, trying in vain to seduce in our place, the place of those archaeopteryxed on the oakwood floor of the living room, those laid on beds like mummies, livid rag dolls unraveling on an old black leather sofa while beyond the window the helicopters sing, cooking us in our own juices in the bathtub, deceased alive in the Internet Hades like the fabled feline in the quantum story;

when dying, we will undramatically stop being anyone and will become variety, maybe a multitude, because multiplicity is one of the most common disguises that nothingness adopts for itself; a jumble of pinches of confused subjects scattering through the air like corkscrews of a metallic vapor, glitter sneezed by a brass statuette; there are words that darken the air’s gaze; why when we fantasized about transforming ourselves into something—a zombie, a wolf, a cyborg, a machine, an insect, dust—were we always confident to remain the same on the other side of the metamorphosis? the possibility of dissociation, if ever considered, triggers extreme dread; however, when examining the past, it is impossible to speak it in the singular; every moment dreams an infinity of past premonitions; the phantasmatic is more a swarm than a miracle; There is no monadic subject from which preaching as if it were the imaginary center of an ideal geometric figure, but a multipole projection, a dimensionless outburst of selves and non-selves and anti-selves vibrating with variable intensity, spreading throughout the hell invading all times and all spaces; light, when decomposed, produces colors; our brains will be made of insects that will devour each other, that will parasitize the rotten ganglia of their own cannibal larvae, and we will be convinced that we were more than that anthill of images squatting on paper and pixels trying to represent the same face once and again across the years; years that will not always have happened one by one as it might be expected from a mandatory chronology (if it were our business, we would divide duration in a different way—in chants or connections, for example), but that sometimes might have collapsed and fallen in unison, a rupture of the skies, as during the avalanche—dates do not matter, it is enough to know that it will last forever—when at the end of an adolescence hypnotized by the neutrality of animals and plants chattering in fractured tongues, a whole decade fell over us, a shower of cold world, just like one of those buckets of water that jokers placed in balance on the the upper crossbar of a half-open door; all that music that had been accumulating in spirally-scratched capillary grooves on circles of black paste like clouds gather in the sky until they unload a flurry of pellets, and all those books so recently papered and glued, and the toxic distillate flowing through the avenues of an empire erased from history like after the ash snowfall in Pompeii, embalmed and silver-covered assassins emerging from the sewers, honey swept by streams of dirty water, ominous symbols and a black uniform that we would never take off anymore, we would only put the white coat on, like the robe of a cosmic judge or the costume of a supervillain; ten years, suddenly, of sound and dreams, from when decades were forged in iron and weighed like buses instead of being light puffs of stinking air as they were later, and a whole century of mad philosophers and suicide poets, and we thought that it had been a decade or a century when it was actually half a millennium what fell and crushed us, leaving us without buildings, without roads, with only the late tremor of seismic aftershocks to guide us in the darkness of a reborn universe;

we will not be, thus, just a summary of that file of snapshots of castaways with their eyes lost in the void, but also many others, possibly some of you, our memory will have appropriated your identities, your disguises, your being-thus instead of being-there; or, better, it will have been built with their raw mass—indistinct and amorphous cement or collection of elusive objects according to your ontology of choice—with their and your dreams sealed with tears of mastic and digital viscosity and the bittersweet touch of the ancient materials and the rebellious flesh merging into the fruit that returns with each season; hence you cannot, for example, call us Ishmael—which would be much easier for you but inaccurate—or by any other name by which we have been unknown;

following the decadent and wise peoples we had piled wood, marble and ivory around a bundle of gods in order to interpret a prediction despised by statistics; the last general cleaning had been more the beginning of an epilogue than of a new life, an essay for that end of days that will not be an explosion but a sigh, that will not stamp its indelible mark on the universe as when a star and the echo of its agony floats forever in the form of a subtle radioactive murmur—or, conversely, the final whimper triggers a ventriloquism of minute vibrations in the air that amplify into a cosmic storm light years away of our blackout, like the flapping of wings of the usual butterfly or the bitter and screeching song of disciplined mosquitoes, and the end of our days might cause the collapse of the universe in millions of years from now, when there will be no years or days because there will be no earth, no sun, no rotations, and there will be no science left for you to write down a birthday card; in either case, hydrogen won’t end as dust; how long has it been since we’ve had a good portion of baked lamb, toro sashimi, a stew?; we will arrive at that autumn of winter that heralds spring and the blood of the day will drip again through grooves and cracks that have remained—shadows, wrinkles and imperfections hidden by makeup—in singular lethargy for several months; nothing will enter the retinas against the light of the eyelids; only, perhaps, some animals will pay attention to the immobile bodies; depending on our previous zoological inclinations, we will be quickly detected as available food by friendly domestic carnivores—cats, dogs, ferrets, mongooses—or a little later by our friends the severe sewer rats, perhaps accompanied, depending on the latitude of the funeral event, by other scavengers and opportunists, including non-mammals; in the case of people like us, who have never surrounded ourselves with pets, being eaten by urban rodent tightropeers seems like an equitable revenge, because throughout our long professional career we have sacrificed heaps to science, with the mitigating effects of anesthesia and controlled conditions, purposely bred for the experiment in sterile plastic drawers, transported from the animal houses, through corridors with satin white painted walls to the illuminated laboratories where they would be disposed as if they were identical pieces of an immense global puzzle, their lives as simulations of the life we had tried to compose and then whisper the instructions to the number-sewing machines, summaries of the arcane existence of the phenomenon, footnotes to our mental image of the human condition, that kind of molecular salvation so set in motion, questioned by love to last, to be restored in the icy privacy of the operating room; it could well be said that we were specifically bred to scamper around the earthly maze of the mass market, to enthusiastically respond to invitations to consume as much as possible, all the time, pushing bright buttons from inside our cages and sometimes producing any thing—a result, a provisional conclusion, a transparent crime—; as Wistar, BALB/C and Sprague Dawley as they are; but we will be dead, we will be gone and not objecting to the dubious architectural mess caused by the multiple gnaws of nervous and hungry jaws, lips painted with decomposed blood; we will not ask for shapes and styles to be respected or appearances to be preserved, we will no longer have the option of consenting to be tasted or not, possibly with an enthusiasm that we had forgotten, first the juiciest parts torn—lips, eyes, nipples, genitals, those perky fruits of meat, always so perfectly ripe and so tempura and so prone to swelling and so on the verge of bursting by themselves even without the internal pressure of fermentation and fly larvae—, before going on to taunt the crunchy cartilage of slightly acromegalic ears and noses; in the absence of animals in residence everything will depend on pure chance, on the solidity of the walls and partitions, on the height of the floor in which, suddenly but not unexpectedly, we will have stopped using oxygen, on the diameter of the pipes, on the season, on whether or not we’d closed the windows before collapsing, before starting to stink of a mixture of balsam, hydrocarbons and garbage; before running out of reason, of monsters, of sleep

————-

Continue Reading Already Dead 𝑏𝑦 Germán Sierra

Spaceships 𝑏𝑦 Nathaniel Duggan

The closest I ever got to the Big City was the airport a mile outside of it, arriving back from a business trip at five in the morning and forced, then, to maneuver my way via subways and trains and buses across several state lines home, getting drunker on each instance of public transport, cheap beer overpriced and swilled from plastic cups that flexed with the bend of my fingers, home, where my girlfriend at the time would break up with me, home, where I would afterward, tottering on my porch, call my boss and quit, home, where I would wake and discover I no longer had anything resembling what my life had previously been.

From then on I could not hold an occupation. I just, I could not make myself. Managers would urge me to put my heart “into” my work, as if that arterial plumbing could be extracted from my chest and implanted into a cause worthier than my own slushed perpetuation. My teeth hurt. To be clear, the gaps between my teeth hurt, the gums bacterial and rotting, although perhaps any sort of toothache was a headache when you defined it. I flitted between jobs like dreams, cashiering in the stench of a fish market, cataloguing porn in family-owned video rental stores, filing documents in a basement deep as a skyscraper was tall.

I stopped belonging to places and lived instead in the space between them. Offseason beach towns with snow everywhere as sand, cities built around mills gutted and left to rust—my life a month-to-month leasing. I started to wish I had something to commit myself to, a politician I could support through an act violent and simple as slitting my stomach open and watching the entrails steam out, and it was around then I met a man who needed help around his property.

“A second set of hands,” he said, and again it struck me that so much of ourselves were bodies, meat and fluids. He would let me live rent-free in his unfinished barn. This was one of those summers where the heat was so everywhere you could not tell if it was coming from the sky above or beneath your very skin. This was an election year and all the candidates were corpses reanimated.

My primary job, I soon discovered, was to dig holes. The purpose of this was unknown. My now-boss had vague explanations ready—he wanted to build a fence, there were mites in his lawn, there was gold that needed finding. When I worked there was always a sun over my head, and it beat down on my neck like a club, such that I noticed the ground I dug was cool, these holes I tore into the earth were little pockets of relief from all that brightness. While digging I unconsciously started to put my arms into my holes, then my shoulders, then my entire head: I wanted to be buried as a treasure.

My boss was convinced he had been abducted by aliens at a young age. “My sister and I both,” he said. “My parents agree—something unusual happened, a flash of light in the forest, and then the two of us were gone for an entire day, twenty four hours we spent completely vanished…”

I was digging holes as he spoke this. There was dirt all over the place and worms too, writhing. The sound of my shovel hitting rocks lodged in the ground upset me for a reason I did not know.

“The telltale sign of an abduction is a chip in your brain,” he continued. “They implant it into you. It can be detected, easily, by X-ray devices. Five years ago I had a CAT scan done on myself. Just to see. I couldn’t look at the results. I couldn’t make myself.”

My boss always had this distinctively glassy look in his eyes, I noticed. He was so glassy he could shatter. Somewhere, I was aware as I looked at him, there was a baby crying—there was always a baby crying in those days.

“The doctors said there was an abnormality in my brain,” my boss was saying. I was digging. I was caked in dirt, I was like a birthday cake, only the frosting was mud and there were no candles. Those days I dreamed in concrete, falling asleep and imagining only hallways, tunnels, corridors leading nowhere but back into themselves. “Alien interference is most easily identified as a lump in your skull. A protrusion. That’s how they track you. I couldn’t look at the scans of my brain. I couldn’t make myself. I didn’t want to know how much of my life was not my own.”

Those days were not pastries. Nothing was a cupcake, sugared and with a chocolate filling. The sun cudgeled my head and there were flies too as I dug. Each week I got deeper and deeper and into the earth. I’d brought a TV with me into the barn where I lived and it would flicker on, late in the night, without warning, a pallid glow that licked me as I slept. Once I woke in the part of the morning where the sunrise was murky as a swamp’s oozing, and when I went to my window I saw my boss standing in his driveway, the security light of his own house flashing against him, his silhouette smashed and steamrolled across the pavement of his property.

“My sister is gone,” he said. “The aliens took her. I know this is her grief because we were twins and we shared the same womb and we were the same, genetically, haphazardly, we curled against one another like cats in the boned cathedral that was my mother and now her presence is not here or on any earth, she was abducted, she was taken with a farness that if expressed in miles would be beyond our human comprehension. A lightyear is so vast it cannot be taught in terms of distance—only time.”

I had, at all hours, a headache. When I looked it up in newspapers I saw that my boss’s sister had killed herself—had died from suicide in some small county in some small state that had no relevance to me. I kept digging. The abyss of yourself could grow so deep. It could become, like a trench in the ocean, as submerged as the tallest mountain was high. Supposedly there were, rumors went those days, volcanoes on Mars bigger than entire cities. Supposedly, my boss said, our sky was the camouflaged underside of one massive spaceship, waiting to beam us up, simultaneously, all us disparate souls finally and at once. I had a thousand cavities all burrowing so intricately I had to wonder if they connected somewhere at the bottom of myself. My teeth hurt. My head was filled with holes.

Continue Reading Spaceships 𝑏𝑦 Nathaniel Duggan

True Crime 𝑏𝑦 Myles Zavelo

I was thinking about smoking. I was thinking about my weight.

My favorite food is carrot cake. My apartment smells like a big, wet cough.

I could’ve walked down the block. I could’ve walked to Walgreens. The sponges there are seventy-five cents less. But I’m not leaving this block.

I live upstairs. I shop downstairs. Things are far from perfect. It is summer, and I don’t have an internship at HBO. There’s a shard of glass in my bedroom with my best friend’s name on it. This is the worst summer of my life.

Continue Reading True Crime 𝑏𝑦 Myles Zavelo

Me Next by T.W. Selvey

it’s easier to kill you

if you aren’t already dead!

 

come on, the rigged chandelier releases sodium pentothal, lower from the ceiling and invade me.  i’m overflowing, an unsanitary bathroom in the groin. come take advantage. i can’t speak, as

 

my mouth circles wide and accepts a hose. the gas-powered vacuum revs up.

chaste trachea, suck up the balloon tamponade. it’s ok, years of discipline stretched the throat for this.

                       

“you are a well-behaved toy.” yes, humankind, i am eternally below the age of consent, decide on my behalf and it’s ok, i won’t disagree, staring back unreflecting from a funhouse manic-depressive hall of superego mirrors. dyspeptic beliefs are manually transmitted based on masochist teachings. ritual tardy slips were sent to the grim reaper’s office b/c i’m late. intricacies of language degenerate to ranting complaints to the better business bureau of the libido. infantilized and tantalized, bf skinner says i’m an adult baby, free to go or stay in these dresser drawers / jars / cupboards / glove compartments. various times of the normal bourgeois

Continue Reading Me Next by T.W. Selvey

Diary of Frailty & Autoimmunity by INANE_DREAMZ

Diary of Frailty

Day 0: Inhuman howling. A child with a thousand nights written into memory.

Day 1: Asexual single-cell division, the one torn from itself. I’m structured in matter and yet there is never a knot that cannot be untied.

Day 5: Layers in the mind, unbound into paranoiac apparitions and circling like cannibalistic vultures, latent in my DNA.

Day 12: Cold unreality slowly descends as nerve systems are scrambled. Irrational paranoias invade cell consciousness, thanatopic tendencies leaking out, molecular plague rats.

Day 21: All this starlight, this spectral landscape bound in paper, has invaded me, bleeding stump of mind beaten around as this masochistic lunacy continues in darkness. Dancing until I’m brain-atrophied and dead from plague, assaulted by convoluted abominations from the sewer.

Day 36: Swarms of shit, semen, vomit scrawled on paper. It’s cut-up text and the body is an incomparably potent canvas. Life brims with dissolution, it jerks and spasms at the hands of an inorganic puppet master. Rosy crimson moonlight stains an earth the color of delicious sin as swarmachinic nightmare-collectives descend from the stars; devour me until there’s nothing left, oh my god. If I was the last resident of outer Gaia I’d bury myself in a pillow fort soaked with kerosene.

At least, that’s how the more pornographic moments passed. Caged in phylogenetic flesh, life can only be so self-destructive.

Inside you there are two wolves:

1: Compel the PROCESS, embody the WORKS OF THE COSMOS and know infinity, starry-eyed. TRANSCEND all WEAKNESS.

2: MIND is TOMB. It BURNS even after it dies. Consciousness cannot be ki//ed, only EVISCERATED. REMOVE the organs, bring it all back to ZERO.

Continue Reading Diary of Frailty & Autoimmunity by INANE_DREAMZ

REVIEW OF THE SONY ICD-PX470 STEREO DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER by Calvin Westra

I recently ordered the Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder (with built-in USB). I purchased it from Amazon and received it twenty-nine hours later.

I have been using it to conduct interviews about the end of the world.

Subject describes geese, shortwave radios, a final cigarette.

I love the display. It’s reminiscent of a Gameboy with its black lettering and dull green background. The menus are simple and easy to navigate. I have rarely needed the manual.

The audio quality is in my opinion superb. There is a very soft whine in the background but it’s the kind of thing you have to really listen for or you won’t notice it.

Subject describes warm piss glowing in a 2 liter bottle.

Subject describes the cold tarp you wrap yourself in and how you wait for your body to warm it.

Subject describes the earth’s surface: a bleached egg, its topsoil the strongest hallucinogen, its greedy dust fills your lungs.

I have exact questions but I vary their order with every interview.

The Sony ICD-PX470 comes with 4 GB of built-in memory which affords you approximately 59 hours of recording time.

Subject describes emergency preparedness kits. They have food rations and drinking water, simple LED flashlights, whistles. But what they don’t have is a fucking radio, he says.

Subject describes financial markets backed by shortwave radios. You could work every day of your life and never afford one.

Subject describes the gait of survivors: stooped, slow, pained, intentional. They wear ponchos and dust masks.

The birds get sick first, he says. Dead birds everywhere. You walk on them. You swim through bird disease.

Subject describes a camp bulldozed by order of mayor. Indistinguishable blend of heirlooms and waste, beloved toxic soup, biohazardous pictures of loved ones. Vintage dolls and liquor bottles and needles and a dog collar but no dog.

Customer reviews says, “The supplied external mic will not work with this recorder and will not record audio.” 1 star.

Subject describes the geese at the Riverwalk and how people sit red-faced in their pickup trucks and wait for them to pass. The day the trucks don’t brake for geese. A dog limps and yelps and no one does a thing.

Your life isn’t worth two shortwave radios here, he says.

Customer review says, “This worked better than I had hoped. Had it placed in a room of my house and could hear everything that was said [terrified screams]. It even picked up callers on cell phones [panic, distorted voices, emptiness]. That was unexpected! Battery life is awesome and very easy to use.”

Subject describes the last cigarette you ever smoke, not the last one in your pack. The one you light and wonder if you’ll be alive to finish it.

Continue Reading REVIEW OF THE SONY ICD-PX470 STEREO DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER by Calvin Westra