Sunday Stories: “Toxicity Report”


Toxicity Report
by Vic Sizemore

Two years after Oxy shut down Mom’s lungs forever, my stepdad Cecil called and asked if I would come and care for him while the coalmine finished killing him off. He’d managed to avoid suffocation down in Patriot Coal’s number seven, but the coal had collected slowly, a breath at a time, like silt in a creek bed. Now it was smothering him from inside. I knew he was bad off because all the pride he’d had to swallow to make the call, to speak up when he heard my voice say hello; we’d had our differences, almost come to blows more than once.

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 32: Montgomery Maxton)

Montgomery Maxton

MONTGOMERY MAXTON is a poet, writer, photographer, and mixed-media artist. Born and raised in Cincinnati, his photography has appeared on, among other outlets, and his poetry published on numerous websites and in various print anthologies. He is the author of the poetry collections This Beautiful Bizarre (2010), Champagne (2016), and New and Selected Poems: 1999-2018. He released a graphic novel, The Manhattan Man, in 2018. In 2021 he’ll release his short novel, Moonlight on the Sunshine Roses, which he wrote in 2009, as well as his fourth poetry collection, Shipwreck. He lives in New York City.

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Fiction and the Limits of the Self: A Review of Rachel Cusk’s “Second Place”

"Second Place"

The projection of self as god works far better as a mantra of living if the reality around you is believable. If the narrative and the plot holds true, and if dreams and assumptions come to fruition, then the little world around you can be one of your own creation. Unless of course, the narrative you have created disintegrates before your very eyes, washed away by every adverse or unexpected event, the true events of life playing out incorrectly according to the preconceived story. Rachel Cusk, star auto-fictional writer of the twenty-first century, wonders at this self-as-god idea, and wars against her loss of attaining it, returns to her dissection of the limits of the self in her new novel Second Place. The story is told by the narrator, referred to as M, to a Jeffers, a therapist-like presence, or maybe a pet. M recants the story of L, a famous artist, coming to stay at her and her husband Tony’s second place, a small artist’s studio near the main residence on the secluded marshland they live on (a Marfa-Marsh if you will.) 

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