When the Rodeo Clowns Came

I live surrounded by retirees in rural Oklahoma. They are spry. They own arsenals of gardening equipment: lawnmower-tractor hybrids that grind through the fibrous local flora with cruel efficiency; they wield wicked contraptions, whirling motorized blades that allow withered men to sculpt hedges into forms of sublime and delectable complexity.

Event: Literary Death Match

Come see me on Oct. 17th (if you’re in Tulsa) at the third annual Literary Death Match

On Bohemian Life in the Sooner State


HOMEWARD BOUND: Tahlequah via Brooklyn: James McGirk writes notes from a screened-in porch in a city that sleeps.

Amy McGirk in the Tahlequah Daily Press

Three Buboes

To hurtle through space we had to live on asteroids; to live on asteroids, flesh and bone were rasped from our bodies. Glass blowers found three cavities in the porous galactic stone and blew bubbles to contain us. Topped us off with nutritious fluids, and pushed us out—






  • Editorial consultation for forthcoming Science Fiction Movie


  • Art Focus Oklahoma
  • Roads and Kingdoms

Kindle Singles

  • American Outlaws AMAZON
  • Modest McGirk’s Grand Theory of Everything AMAZON (forthcoming)




  • Ironclad Closet Long Island City Magazine
  • The Madness of the Upperclass THE L MAGAZINE 
  • Presidential Elections IMPACTGAMES
  • Battleground States
  • Acorn and the FBI
  • Oil Balancing Act
  • Car Giants Mega Merger
  • Livini’s Coalition
  • Sanctuary for Deserters
  • Dying of the Light
  • Madonna Divorce Rumors
  • Angels and Monsters
  • Nobel prize in Literature
  • Middle aged Nukes
  • Russia Recognizes Independence
  • O.J. Simpson on trial again
  • North Korean succession
  • U.S. Financial Crisis
  • Vice Presidential Debates
  • IOC Age Investigation
  • Too Maverick for the Mavs? (etc)


  • Cyberpunk Not Dead The L Magazine
  • Homeland
  • Sour Grapes, Grad School, and Granta
  • Off-campus Housing Court
  • Love hurts, squashes roaches
  • From the Department of Rhetoric
  • Soft focus


  • Prestige: the answer to our woes
  • On ceasing to self-infantilize
  • On protestors and other bloodsuckers
  • Who, who, who will feed the owls?
  • Coming in from the cold

More Intelligent Life clippings available here ImpactGames clippings available here The L Magazine clippings available here Columbia Daily Spectator clippings available here 3quarksdaily clippings available here (scroll down)

Destination Oklahoma: Route 66

What you really need to live here is a truck. Maybe not in the cities, but out here, in the foothills of the Ozarks, where the roads flood when the creek overflows its banks, and even traversing a parking lot means tumbling into tooth shattering ruts and axle scraping bumps: you do.

The Cheat Code to Life

(My stories are Reddit Pizza scamming, and apocalypse cheats)

The Great Spy’s Dream

I asked Patrick if there was anything particularly useful he could pass on to me “about the CIA.” “The first thing to remember is that nobody connected to the Agency calls it the CIA. It’s plain CIA.”

—Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA. 

The Splashy Debut Novel is Dead—Or Is It?

Are the big publishing houses using independent presses as a farm league to scout for talent, and exiting the market for big-gamble debuts? James McGirk reports.