Recent Work By Matthew Simmons


This is farther than I think I meant to take us, but that’s okay because in many ways—ways like this way or that way or maybe some way that no one has thought of yet, because everyone knows this way and that way—this was exactly as far as we were supposed to go when we went, and we went and went because going and having went is the way we say it’s us together and no one else is here and we love each other and I love you and you love me and screw the rest of everyone back at the place we left because it was a bad and terrible place with nothing for us.

An idea familiar not simply to fans of the Godzilla film franchise—wherein a fire-breathing lizard of monstrous proportions makes his destructive way through the city of Tokyo with destructive results—is that the creature is a metaphor for the results of the weaponization of the atom. That is, the monster is the monstrous indifference and the monstrous destructive force of the bombs called Little Boy and Fat Man which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, three days apart in August, 1945. In fact, the destruction left in the aftermath of the bombs was still present in the minds of those who made the Godzilla movies. It was a marker for them. They endeavored to create, to recapture the look of that destruction when they made the films. It was always present, always a part of the story.

The stars were packed so close that night
They seemed to press and stare
And gather in like hurdles bright
The liberties of air.

—Gerard Manley Hopkins

I will tell you this story, but only if you promise never to tell anyone else. I’m certain of much of it, and where I am not certain, I am comfortable making up the rest. This inaccuracy is only one of the reasons why I ask for your confidence. The other reason will become plain as you listen.

You work in a bookstore and have had the opportunity to attend a lot of author readings, right?

Yes. Lots and lots. Thousands, I imagine.