Instructions in the Art of Filming Atomic Bombs

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1. Take the lens cap off the camera, doofus.

2. This is a manual detailing methods

    for the capture of a-tomic explosions

        on celluloid film from a distance, and on the ground.

            Note that this manual will at no point try to determine

                what the SAFE distance from said a-tomical explosion is,

                    nor will it try to instruct you in the capture

                        of the image of the essence of the sun

                            from a plane, or while otherwise in flight.

    Those instructions are detailed

    in a different manual, written by

    a different author, at a different time.

3. Use a mirror.

4. Dig a hole. The hole is not for you.

5. Obtain a notebook and a writing utensil.

        Draw a table. Upon this table place a treasured object.

    I don’t really fucking care what object you choose;

        it can be your grandmother’s wedding ring, which

    you plan to give to your beloved, or the bible that kept a bullet

        from piercing your heart.

6. Attempt to make the drawing of the object within the notebook placed upon the table as lifelike as possible.

7. Purchase a camera and film (Really, this should have been step 2. Step 1 should have been “obtain an atomic bomb.”)

8. Throw the ring into water. Rip out the pages of the bible and wail.

9. Under no circumstances are you allowed to quote the Bhagavadgita.

10. Practice closing and opening your eyes 32 times a second.

    Meditate upon the violence inherent in the capture of images.

    Come to an understanding with light; don’t go towards The Light.

Mario Alejandro Ariza was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up between Santo Domingo and Miami. His self-published book of poems is The Same River Twice.

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 August 3

I was wandering in a smoldering landscape, knowing that nothing could be done. The decisions had been made.