This is Not Futurism

by David N. Zimmer


Edwin probably pissed God off. He was always talking smack to everyone about everything. Maybe it’s all his fault. Junie said that Edwin cursed God out for like a half an hour. Junie is kind of a dimwit though. She wouldn’t know how to scratch her butt if we didn’t show her. Edwin couldn’t stop laughing. Edwin is an a-hole.

This is day one thousand.

We’re sitting in the Brooklyn Public Library. Not in the stacks. In the Central Room. We feel safe under the dome there. The air is thick with dust and the smell of paper. So much paper. We had to leave all of our cooking gear outside. Edwin said one spark and our goose would be cooked. I guess he thought it was funny. Edwin stopped being funny around day seventy-three.

I remember people complaining and running crazy trying to find toilet paper. Edwin asked why people needed toilet paper when there was nothing to eat. That was the last smart thing he said, but it didn’t make anybody feel better.

Ozzie was so cool. He knew things. He said maybe that all of the dumb people would die. He was smart though. He knew science and literature and all of that. I hoped the dumb people wouldn’t die. I didn’t know hardly anything. Ozzie died sitting down. Things just leaked out of him. We could hear the breath oozing out of him. Then he slumped over. He just laid there. Edwin poked him but nothing happened. Edwin said that being smart didn’t help anyone anymore. That was day three fifty-two. I wrote it down.

Junie said that maybe if we stayed awake then the bad dream would end. She stayed awake for eleven days and then fell down the stairs. She didn’t cry so she was probably dead before she fell. Maybe that’s why she fell. She was waving her hands in front of her face and yelling about the birds and the bugs. Edwin joked that he would teach her all about the birds and the bees. Asshole. But really there wasn’t any birds or bugs that we could see. Later, I saw Edwin crying. He yelled at me when he saw that I saw. That was day four-eighteen. It’s in my book.

Edwin vanished. I woke up and Edwin was gone. I looked to see if he was messing with me but nope. He was just gone. I just sit and make little pictures in my book. Pictures of Edwin, Ozzie and Junie. I don’t remember much of before. This is day one thousand and twelve. I’m hungry.


Pavel is wearing his stupid hat again. I really can’t stand another minute of his insipid, bourgeois, decadent, perverse and pretentious headgear.

Pavel has this red fur Russian hat. It is tall, taller than his long foppish hair. Also red. Pah! He has worn the hat every day for the last year and a half. Pah!

He wears his stupid hat in the extreme heat. He wears his stupid hat in the rain. The rain makes his hat smell, and I sniffed at the air furiously and guess what? The fur is mouse! Mouse fur. How many tiny little pelts did it take to make this stupid hat? Do cats attack him in his sleep? Pah! What is his problem, I wonder. Oh, there he is and with his stupid hat. Again.

“Hello Pavel,” I say.

He nods graciously and half bows at the waist. The top button of his shirt is undone. This is too much. I mime spitting on the floor at his feet. He pretends not to notice. Or is he too freaking cool not to notice? Pah.

This time I do spit on his shoe. He nods unctuously and wipes it off by rubbing his foot against his tattered pants leg. The mice in his garret have been nibbling on his pants. Mice! He knows how the Futurists hate mice, yet he does nothing to interrupt their nightly meals. His clothes, his papers, and his artwork all make meals for the tiny motherfuckers.

Pah! This man irks me no end. Of course, he is the dean of Czech Futurist poetry, so I keep my opinion to myself. I am sure that others share it.

He wears the hat no matter the weather. An idiot you say? Yes.

At the spa he wears the hat. Even to the natatorium. He has jumped off of the high diving board wearing it and, oh, how the girls laughed and applauded. Even the poetess, Anya. Anya, can you believe it? She is so fierce that none of us have even smiled in her direction. Pavel, she sleeps with! Pavel with his moronic hat! Pavel with his mouse eaten pants!

Later she was seen slapping Pavel.

This brought me great joy! I steeled myself and spoke to her. For the first time. And she smiled at me.

She asked me what my interest in Futurism was.

I was shocked! How could she be so dense? I am great friends with Boccioni. And he told me that he respects my work!

Ha Pavel! Ha-ha, in your face! The great Boccioni is my friend! Not in Anya’s face though. She is merely ignorant, though I would never dare to say that to her. Not for fear of her contempt. For fear of her right hook. Anya is the most formidable.

Anya is a proponent of equality and women’s strength. Of course, she is. She is one step above a Russian bear with her filed teeth and heavily muscled arms.

I smiled politely at her question and asked about Pavel.

Anya said that they were through and good riddance. I smiled politely.

She said that he fancied himself a master magician and his mouse fur Russian hat was the source of his magic.

Pah! I knew the fur was mouse. I could smell it.

She spat. He’s no magician in the bedroom, she said.

I blushed furiously and retired to my loft to think upon the events of the day. Soon I fell peacefully asleep.

My gentle snores floated past my curtains and must have awakened something predatory in the mice hiding in the walls, for they swarmed me, biting and tearing with their tiny teeth. My arms bled, and my clothes were shredded, and I cried out pitiably.

Pavel must have heard me because he stormed into my room, and taking off his fur hat he slapped at them until several fell dead at my feet.

I stared at him open-mouthed and said, (to my great surprise), “God bless your stupid hat, Pavel.”

He stalked out of the room, and we have ceased our acquaintance.


I’m having Matty shoot me with the Mouse Gun because something stinks like rats near the basement laundry room.

Everyone is angry. Angry at the machines.

They say: “Fuck you Futurism. Fuck you machines.”

I’m having Matty shoot Marinetti this time because Marinetti stinks like mice shot with the potato gun.

Marinetti is angry. Angry at everyone.

I hear him yelling, “Fuck you machines, fuck you Mayakovsky.”

I hear Marinetti yelling, “I am so fucking angry. Angry at the washers and dryers that eat my quarters like the rats at the basement recycling bins nibbling on the bits of spaghetti dotted with Marinara.

“Wait, Matty”, I yell, “Shoot the Marinara. Fuck those Italian Futuristas.”

I hear the rifles recoil and listen for the pop of potato slamming and re-slamming against the basement wall.

This is the death of movement. This is Stillness without possibility.

The shadow of the Futurists’ future slithers down the wall behind the basement recycling bins. The rats show no interest. I am crying silvered tears filled with photo emulsion, Silver nitrate, and I wait for some new art movement to develop.

*David is the guest editor of the Summer 2020 issue of Thorn Literary Magazine.

David N. Zimmer is a musician, photographer, poet, and writer from Brooklyn, NY. Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of two novels,Noise Makes You SickandTwelve Angry Steps. He has co-authored the novelBlack and Blue Collarwith Matthew Paris and two novellas (also with Matthew Paris):A Wrestler’s Vision For AmericaandThanatolia: A History and Real Estate Guide. He has also compiled a collection of his poems (1973-2020) entitledHere Is A Gift I Will Smash Your Head In With. He is currently working on a graphic novel,Scaredy, a Boy and His God, and a pseudohistory of forgotten artists entitled,This Is Not Futurism.

 © 2020 þ (Thorn) Literary Magazine                                                                        

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