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excerpt: Dahlia’s Iris—Secret Autobiography and Fiction

From the Chapter titled: Elude by Leslie Scalapino

Elude seeing the world destroyed utterly. The olive green air ripples. A bus driver, when she mounting the bus has only a dollar and fifteen cents instead of a dollar fifty, says to put that in, rather than get off. She has dollar bills (but these aren’t allowed). Groggy then she finds a dime in her coat. Another passenger alights into the bus with no change, and asks the other passengers to change a dollar bill. Dazed then she sees how to do it, no one has said anything to her. She tries it. She asks a woman for change, receiving it goes up to the bus driver and pays him. He nods graciously, kindly. She’s feeling ill because of death (unrelated to being tired). At all, but for us because of Bush’s wars.

The man’s long part pointing up. Then he puts it in the woman lying beside him. He is not in the military.

However, the part pointing up in the olive green air. She puts it in. Her. Then lying beside him who comes. At the same time night.

People are moved by one other’s non-sense because she suffers. It shows desperation. Or because they imagine she’s their slave. That other thinks she’s a tragic heroine, that her loved ones dying she alone remains as tragic in a center. They have all been effected (sic) by this. But no one is this. Everyone dies and a center (which of them?) would be always childish only, because it’s not real. So her emotion—just confines her. To only being child. While they are not. We’d grieve but we’d see, mystery.

The ones thinking she’s their slave are also in a center. Though she never performs slave motions for them, they can imagine it as being there.

There’s a parade—police in it—crowd viewing police being her amongst them—looking their (they’re) rearing slightly up close.

Telemarketing is coming from India where people are poor or from women in prisons here—they’re calling, soliciting because you don’t have to pay them much. Labor is cheap.

Man in center island of street with crowds and traffic, he’s in tight satin jockey-shorts (small pants) and high-heels, naked otherwise—with long hair and a guitar—to be photoed beside women who pay to have their pictures taken with him. On the street’s island downtown, see they come up and pose standing beside the nude man in the tight satin.

The couple, the man arched, the woman is rounded humps so that the fur-lined mound in the middle between them is open to a small clitoris and a tongue is coming from his mouth on it. They’re both curled humps lumps, she rested on her folded arm, as his small tongue is licking.

The arms of the couple are around each other, her hips flat frontal knee back (as of [dog’s] rounded soft flat fan of hips and leg), so the fur-lined mound is on her front—his erected member is on his side, is over on the side with one of his legs coming out so he can rest on this knee with his member on his front as coming from around them, so they’re both facing the fur-lined mound and hunched over his huge erect pointing member, at her.

Pictures were from outside. Inside, were only imitated. I imitated them. The Indian man at the Xerox shop, helping me, asks Did you do this? No. Because there’s something missing, he’s naked! down there, he says accusingly.

Outside night’s Giotto (is separate from him) cycle, night’s cycle. Without day. Giotto is not there, it opens to an outside.
Hasn’t the couple in it either.

There’s clouds oil mixed with it brown in swirls on night—a slick from tankers—ocean getting into the air—the couple in that maybe.

There’s graffiti on the walls of buildings here—More bicycles, less asthma. One billboard says Superhero Contra El Asma.

Where they have charcoal camp slaves, an other place, the people don’t think of death with the same fear, so the connection to AIDS misses them. A documentary film is made showing this connection, is made for the people.

Oar in the black the man’s part vertical hanging down on the expanse, his arm and knees crouched vertical, erect—the part is out about to enter the woman’s erect mound. She’s seated up on her hips fans screwed on backward opening the fur-lined part, is vertical. So that, it is.

But her opening isn’t into anything, there’s only the flat gauze hanging on the middle of them, not to conceal or reveal the couple either, a part of them, in the apartments.

The falcon killing a bird by someone’s ear when their sleeping at night occurred before these meeting each other.

And so is a basis.

Rather, people hopelessly believing in fashion of theory whereas the only thing to do is examine with one’s ears and senses present moment. Every one moment. This is easy to do. Though the entire people are turned completely pointing the other way.

Everyone pointing on the street. Sway in olive green night. People pursue each other in groups there. Talk. So the falcon killing a bird by my ear is akin to Captain Healy passing (for white). One is, there. Socially, and amidst the green night where in places ice cakes float at sea. People walk in honking…

Children run searching for food packages amidst the cluster bomblets dropped by the U.S. planes. As soon as a few of our soldiers are killed, they decide to say the war is ended though they go on with it. The falcon being there just as it ordinary, one is in everything at once. Swatches. Everything is at once.

The laws have been changed overnight so that anyone can be detained as a suspect, immigrants. A woman says A country has to defend itself when it’s attacked. They can be moved from facility to facility without their whereabouts known, not allowed to see a lawyer or to have one present at their interrogations, in which anyway they’re bounced on walls and beaten. They aren’t allowed toilet paper for weeks, are kept in solitary. Freeze, they aren’t given blankets. Food is withheld for days while they’re questioned, they may have nothing to do with it, are from Iran fifteen years ago escaped. Antonio was rounded up on the street in that he is a foreigner, held as a suspect. He is an investigator. He’s beaten. His interrogator is Dirk Robespierre thin lips pressed, shoves him. Hits his eye. Grace, Cloe, and Andrew search the city’s prisons for Antonio. Though they are police, the information is closed to them. Andrew takes Antonio out (from the facility) saying it’s for questioning, finding him, he has order for questioning from Captain Jasper Frank. Who backs this up, though Dirk Robespierre, furious at losing his prisoner, demands his return. Captain Jasper Frank won’t return Antonio.

The prisoners detained without reason, only that they have black hair or searched in airports because they have dark hair, are close to the falcon at night. That once. One’s closer.

Schools of fish standing, it’s 10:30 in the morning in beating disco music loud, people standing at long tables, a couple come in. They all shout at the woman Surprise, she’s turning pursed grimly to him If I’d stopped at the toilet I would have looked better. The crowd standing in the loud music coo whining in high falsettos as they push each other into snap photos in groups standing before the long tables. The young woman happy now, whines cooing in a high tone Take a picture of...putting two young women together with herself. Coo to whining infantilize oneself. They all do. Grace sitting having breakfast in the loud beat is waiting for Antonio to return from the toilet. He’s been retrieved from prison, where he hasn’t been able to go or wash. She thinks the constant pulsing music background is to program our timing, give sense that we’re constantly (being constant) but it’s monotonous. Whereas, it’s actually not. Neither constant. They want us to feel that we’re in excitement.

The burst pair. They may be behind gauze, with pattern on it. He’s not in military. Never being in the military, not ever having been—and his huge erect member hangs to enter the fur-lined mound. But her fur-lined opened at a small clear clitoris which is between the gauze is outside. His is about to enter it at green night.

This is going on around them…


Leslie Scalapino

Leslie Scalapino is the author of over thirty books of poetry and fiction. Day Ocean State of Stars' Night is forthcoming this year from Green Integer.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2004

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