Issue #70

Winter Issue | May 2019

In this Issue:

Selected Texts from Canon of the Chamber
by Tununa Mercado; translated by Rhonda Dahl Buchanan

a scene

Dream of the First Exile

A city exalted by the unconscious, flooded by a dark, lead-blue twilight. We go down to the plaza in a round about way, clambering up streets with the feeling we've walked them before. The real city crumbles in our memory, leaving only an engraving hammered and chiseled for the dream, sketchy, timeworn, laden with the heavy air that precedes a storm and erodes monuments and stone facades.

Elusive city, perhaps once teeming with life, but more vital in the dream in which silhouettes of ethereal bodies stand out against the somber gray of walls and cobblestones.

The dream consoles reality. Transfers, platform changes, lost connections, trains missed or delayed until tomorrow, leaving the city to us, silent, deserted at night, alone, intricate web of the unconscious.

The river flows more tumultuously than ever beneath the bridge. Foam splashes and drenches the railings, piers vanish beneath the waves. It's the same small city, but why does it reappear? Read more...

The Little Dollhouse Company and Gitane
by Salvatore Difalco

a scene

The Little Dollhouse Company

The sign in the window said Help Wanted. I'd always been fascinated with miniatures. That's what I told Mr. Pound, the bifocaled proprietor.

"I collected them as a kid. Had over twenty Dinky Cars, remember those? Even had a little ambulance with a red cross on it."

Mr. Pound smiled. "What makes you think you'd be a good fit? Middle-aged men don't normally come here looking for employment."

I wasn't going to tell him that I'd been out of work since my divorce five years ago, that I'd fallen into a deep depression and had all but lost my will to live, hence the lacuna in my resume, that if he didn't give me this job I might just walk out into the traffic and let the chips fall where they may—I told him none of this. Read more...

Freefall by Carolyn Levi

a scene

N. imagines, as he steps on the braided wire (one foot, then two) that a cord runs from his feet, through his body, to a Lucite bead in his scalp. The cord ascends to secure anchor on a space elevator circling the Earth, its gears and engines in geostationary orbit at 35,800 km. Or is held lightly between two fingers of the one hand of his G_d.

Below, at 157 meters, so it is 86% closer to ground than to his present position, is a faintly luminous net. The net's warp is a single-walled carbon nanotube, tensile strength 63 GPa. Its weft is pink silk, the color of one held breath.

Midway between the two towers (that is to say between M. building and L. building), N. falls. Read more...

Four Prose Poems by Ian Seed

a scene

Late August

On our last day's camping holiday in Wales, we went to visit a family for the afternoon before driving back. While we were having tea, I could hear it raining heavily outside. I pulled back the net curtain. Water was already halfway up the wheels of our car. Another car was driving slowly along the street of terraced white houses. It had to stop where the water grew deeper, but the driver was able to reverse and turn into another street going uphill. Should we leave now and try the same route or just stay put? Read more...

Jackanape by D. Harlan Wilson

a scene

Vacant interior.

Cobalt light.

Each corner of the room is set at a different angle. There is a low-level ceiling with a jagged hole in it, stage left, towards the rear.

Center stage is a freestanding coatrack on which hangs a fedora and a dinner jacket. Rectangles of dust mark the walls where pictures used to be. No windows.

The skin and clothing of the actors are colored in matte shades of gray, as if their bodies have been clipped from an old film noir. The hat and jacket are an irradiated maroon color. Read more...

Three Stories by Peter Cherches

a scene

Hemingway's Typewriter
(collaboration with Robert Scotellaro)

Warren admires himself in the mirror.

Bare-chested, puffing a corona, sipping a daiquiri, stroking his beard, he's thinking about that other life, his past life, life as a typewriter. Yes, a typewriter, but not just any typewriter, a novelist's trusty typewriter, a war correspondent's battered typewriter, Ernest Hemingway's typewriter, a 1929 Underwood. No royal blood in his past, no, not even a Royal typewriter, unless you consider Papa Hemingway's Underwood royalty, which he does, as a matter of fact, proudly, yes he does.

Why, you should have seen the way those keys smashed against the ribbon, the letters punching black bruises onto the page, words running across the paper with the force of inevitability, like the bulls at Pamplona. You should have seen it. Read more...

About Our Coffee and Other Fare

Please Note: All of the coffee served at The Irreal Cafe is fair trade, organic, shade-grown and not real. All of the food served at The Irreal Cafe is organic, vegan, locally sourced and not real. See "At Our Cafe" for more about what we would serve at The Irreal Cafe and how we would serve it if there were an Irreal Cafe.