You are now the proud owner
of the Sangsum P38 Terminator X-IT,
the world’s first hybrid smartphone
This manual will help you become acquainted
with your newfound distaste for the Orient
and the various features of your Terminator X.
Did you know? Adolf Hitler’s father
was a small dog with no recognizable
features whatsoever. During his time
as German chancellor, Hitler could often
be seen in the shadowy halls of the Reichstag,
plucking stitches from his legs.
Getting Started First off, let’s get two things straight:
dying is something that only happened in the old days
and the word for brother now is “combatant.”
Just for this manual. Things will go back
to normal when it’s over.
Step 1. Open the eggshell packaging
and remove your Terminator X
from the viscous “shipping gel.”
This gel helps to ensure safe handling
from Sangsum factory
to your trembling, tiny hands.
You will notice a smell not dissimilar
to menstrual fluid. If you or a loved one
ingests the shipping gel, flush
the throat with the blood of the Lamb,
and pray, God dammit, for morning.
Step 2. Insert battery, making sure
the metal contacts are appropriately placed.
Step 3. TiVo all your shows for the next
day or so. You’re really gonna have
to knuckle down on this one.
Step 4. Collect the hair of your
most recent lover from your bed
and do something weird with it.
Step 5. Dry your eyes. The world
will look like fun again tomorrow.
Did you know? John Wilkes Boothe
ran from a theater and was caught
in a warehouse, whereas Lee Harvey Oswald
ran from a warehouse and was brought
to justice in a movie. What the fuck, anyway,
do they teach you in that school?
Step 6. Place your Sangsum F22
Safety Goggles (included) over your
Step 7. Turn that shit on, nigga.
Step 8. Input name, age, rank and sex
into the blistering screen.
Step 9. Now fill out your “Gossip Page”
with your thoughts on 9/11
and your sister’s weight and height.
Step 10. You’re ready to go! A few
warnings though, first:
I. You may notice a slight “melt,”
an ever-increasing vagueness to your features
and methods of problem-solving
that your ancestors insist
is a sign of the end times.
No need to argue,
parents just don’t understand.
II. You may also notice: everything seems
like Minority Report now. Wasn’t
that movie the tits?
III. While unloading dishes from your washer,
be sure to close the cabinets
whenever you lean back down to pick a fork
from the rack. Injury or death may occur
should a text message startle you
and cause you to leap upward
into the door corner. And while
we’re on you and dishes,
how did that blackened hot dog
end up in your sink, in the colander?
Would you throw it out already? It’s making
IV. At night, on those long walks you take,
when a brief and dim commotion
pokes through the air, you may become confused
as to whether your Terminator is shaking in your pocket
or the bells of the church have begun their low knell.
In the unlikely event of the knell, do not be alarmed.
How it Must Feel
We will be there
and laughing so hard
a band will be playing
a song with no words
and Boris Yeltsin will hop
on some rubble
and scream through a bullhorn
triumphant and young
telling the bad ones to go home
and thanking the good.
We will cry all fucking over the place
and our hands will all tremble
embracing each other and the cold of the sky
and our backs will shiver
digging our souls from
beneath the rubble of our organs.
Our hairs will salute no one
but ourselves, for disregarding
our parents’ advice, for stealing
away in the freshness of morning
and the day will be so calmly gray
with white shooting through
in ticklish whisps, the clouds
either profound or prophetic, we don’t know
what comes next. And the night
will come next, and the vodka
will burn and the gray will be black
and the white will be orange,
and we will sing songs
with many words we do not
Joshua Kleinberg lives in Columbus, Ohio with his cats, Desdemona and Sorrow. A full list of his publications can be found at http://joshuakl