I board the train ahead of Iris. I choose the only windowless row of seats, near the middle of the car. The train leaves the station. Everything enclosed, protected and covered presents itself as unified. Speckled-granite-colored, the dull laminate sheen of the Amtrak wall. I open my laptop. I nearly look. I nearly sleep. The woman with headphones. The man in the news. The man in the aisle. The man on his laptop. I put my hand on Iris’ thigh. We cannot know exactly what we are leaving. There are no windows by which anything comes in or goes out. There are neither openings nor doorways.

8 am. Split ends. Dandruff flurry. Iris blow dries her hair. Forced hot air throws into relief the comb’s monotony. I should leave out further details. We can be repeatedly described but never illustrated. One can obtain a more or less relieflike design by naming Iris. The style of this practice is both linear and free. When reliefs appear initially, they are produced as a secondary surface. When later we see the insignificance of any surface. When the interrelation between the more obvious designs is a matter of crossing the border x number of times. When in embroidery and knitted materials, such tendentious monotony of patterning. Symmetrical arrangements of symbols provoke such neutrality. When our covers are unseen and unheard under other covers. Even bright covers are controlled by the manufacturer. The surface is raised with the cross stitch. The border is patrolled but never described. We discover methods for detachment. We should cross at regular intervals. When the pieces of time must be preserved.

This stitch. A name. Iris departs. When Iris swiped her way into the building. When morning was encoded in a pattern. In a skyline, a name. When it was an instance of repetition. The phone ringing. It was detached from the outcome. It rang and rang. Iris took the elevator to the seventh floor. The gloss does not show itself beyond her reflection.

When she had laid herself open, the walls were covered not in aristocratic textiles but in paper collage. When a secondary surface, a relief. A tourist in the hallway. When her neighbors listen to each other’s organs. When the walls are that thin. They do not withstand the mere imprint of a thumb. When she does not listen to reason, the fire escape forms a zigzag scaffolding. When the walls become a simple refinement, lacking description. When she regains her period. When the slut. When the hunger. When the moment. She pays for her deep critique of this system. (With pleasure. A bacchante, a strumpet of care.) There is no loop stitch. When the shallow imprint of a thumb. When the thin walls continue to allude to impossible refinement. When differentiation might have isolated moments. When she had little exact knowledge of where she was living. When this where was a moment in thinking. Motion was intrinsic to the simple substance. There was no communication. The vessel was floating fathomlessly. It was a subject. Then it was an embodiment of time and place. The law of the moment of which we could have little exact knowledge. It was always before or behind us.

Small lights emerging in a curve along a dark highway. Ephemeral, losing, immoderate. In pointless fog, extinguished. Slipping forward into periphery, focal, astir. Slight and clear. Headlights appearing as inverse asterisks, omitted matter. Night’s total assurance signals their fleetingness. Receding. Insistence. Recoiled amber highway lines in the rearview mirror. Taut forgery explicit and empty. The man reading. The woman with. The man working. Great invisible body of this connecting preposition: the highway. Prepositions relating weaponry to containers. Conveying. The woman of work. Reading. Night’s total assurance. Disengaged. Causeless. Small lights approaching as weaponry and receding as containers. Iris lies in bed. Iris lies in connecting matter. Iris lies abundantly. Iris does not rise.


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