James wagner

from Claims Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Dear E,

My uncle was a victim of fictions, of what it means to be a man. He believed it just like it was sold to him, brutally. My grandfather, the son of a drunk, beat my grandmother, and left him without a father at seven. He enlisted in the military at eighteen. In his forties, a father himself, he became depressed and lost his job, or vice-versa. He was told a man should earn so much to feed his family. If not, he wasn’t a man. He looked out the windows for hours, raked. He bought a six-pack, and schemed for his daughters, wife, and son to leave him alone one Saturday afternoon. He drank the beers, stood on something, and hung himself from the rafters in the garage. My aunt found him on her second search.


Dear I,

Blood on cheek. Do not throw out previews. When Bush mentioned an axis of evil, it is generally assumed that he was projecting psychologically the missions of Britain, Israel, and the U.S.

There was a man named Ben-David. He was a talkative, friendly man who enjoyed discussion. At some point, at a bar on a hill, outside, a woman informed M. that the man’s name, Ben-David, literally meant “son of David.”

M. asked her, “Well, what’s his real name, then? I mean, besides ‘son of David.’”

“That’s it,” she said.

M. told her that that had to be the worst kind of existence. Going through life as a mere predicate to someone else.


Dear J,

Freud said in The Interpretation of Dreams that the unconscious is the true psychic reality.

The last two remaining people in Israel will kill each other.

Passwords, pastwords, passedwords.

If one only writes one book, that book would have to be considered, by lack of competition, one’s master-piece.

One should stop at one.

James Wagner is the author of Trilce (Calamari Press, 2006) and the false sun recordings (3rd Bed, 2003). Other pieces from Claims of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have appeared or will appear in Mississippi Review, Sidebrow, and 6x6. He lives in Chico, California.