robert kloss

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Here is an early version of a new piece from my continuing “Bestiary” collaboration with Matt Kish (and here is a link to Matt’s illustration for “Leviathan”).


None could lift Leviathan from black waters but the god who put him there. And then over time that god too did shy from the pale beast. And it was said a thousand cities each populated by a thousand men could progress within such a beast, but no man could live there, within the ocean-echoing chambers and humid mists, save that man the saint himself who was swallowed up in the shell of his ship, and now did wander the belly’s rank darkness, and now did populate the silence with his terrors, his sermons, until he too perished. So he lay, and so he dissolved, and so his man-flesh went into the greater flesh, and surely Leviathan knew him there. Few more would Leviathan ever know. For the ages passed and Leviathan moved in silence, in isolation, through waters of impossible cold and impossible depth, consuming nothing, requiring nothing, vaster than the vastest ships, white fleshed as a mountain shrouded in snow, a thousand eyes glowing with the awful radiance of a thousand lanterns. And what forgotten truths of all the days of this grim world must such a beast yet know? And what madness must perplex and grow through these secluded hours, aye, what strange thoughts must echo the mind of a creature unweighed by time? We shall never know, for no mortal or god would dare ask.

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The Revelator

Just a small note here: my second novel, The Revelator, described as a “psychologically charged western horror novel loosely based on the polygamous founder of everyone’s favorite American religion” will be published by Unnamed Press in Fall 2015.

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The Russian Journey

Last night we watched the brief documentary Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey, which is about Gould’s tour of Russia in the late 1950s and how the previously unknown Gould’s genius immediately shocked and transformed musical Russia. In the aftermath I’ve found myself thinking about what a rare beautiful thing it is to unwittingly confront an artist whose vision is so new and powerful (and how it becomes rarer each year we age) that our understanding of the possibility of art is reinvented. Doors previously unseen are opened, new doors constructed. It seems like this is the thing we should seek out and demand of our artists (and ourselves), but that impulse in our culture too seems more and more rare.


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page one

We begin with the king, his castle and his estates, his moat and moat beasts, his hounds, his advisers, his frolicsome maids, his dungeons and chains and devices, his political enemies, his emeralds and rubies and gold, his scepter and throne and the crown upon his head. We begin with his many subjects across many towns in many lands and the taxes they pay him, and the allegiance they owe to him, and the fear they know for him. We begin with the king and his greatness, his learnedness, his wisdom, his cunning and brutality and horror. We begin with his ships, his suit of armor, his loyal hoards who will die for him, his loyal hoards who have killed for him. We begin with his rifles and axes and muskets and stocks of gunpowder, his swords and battering rams, his cannons and cannonballs, and the royal standard he designed, and the march anthem he composed for drum and fife, and his wars, his wars, his wars, his wars, his wars, his wars.

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from a novel in progress

In a cave before the waters you found a man hunched in the darkness, his pale loose flesh, toothless mouth and unintelligible gibbering. Upon his skull a tricorne hat stitched from lizard skins, and likewise crafted a kind of vest stiffly draped over his shoulders and breast, and a pair of what counted for shoes, although he wore no trousers, perhaps the cut proved too difficult, or perhaps he once swaggered about this isle, lorded over the lower beasts, suited head to toe in lizard leather. How they must have feared him in his salad days, the iguana king, romping and murdering and issuing proclamations onto the thorny masses, before the outfit deteriorated, aye, before his mind gave way. But all that was long done. Now his final hours seemed to play out, babbling and drooling in his defilement, fondling his lifeless prick, fallen onto tufts of white.


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The Armabrach

An entry from the “Bestiary in Progress” that the artist Matt Kish and I are creating is now up at the new issue of Split Lip Magazine. Matt illustrated and named the beast first and then I was tasked with creating the entry for the beast. We are currently eight beasts into the project, with a minimum goal of twenty-six. Working with Matt is always inspiring, but this is the first time that I am creating something directly from his work, rather than the other way around, and I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to meet his vision with my words.


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