Kissed By

Kissed By…

I road the bus to work this morning, and 1) listened to Disintegration Loops by William Basinski and 2) read a random story from Kissed By by Alexandra Chasin.

The story was called “They Come From Mars” and in one of those all-too-common moments of synchronicity, that story is essentially a disintegrating language loop. It contains only—until its surprise ending—four letter words. (No, not profanity.) There are twelve words a line. The font is Courier, I think, which is a monospaced (fixed width) font, so all the words are the same size.

What begins as an incantatory: They come from Mars they come from Mars…gives way to a discussion of the arrival of visitors from Mars. Chasin abbreviates. “There” and “their” become “ther.” When we speak, we abbreviate without realizing it, and she uses that to her advantage. “Suspect” becomes “spec.” (Unless she means “expect,” but, she uses that ambiguity to her advantage as well.)

The long columns of twelve word, monospaced lines, the paranoia in the prose (they come from Mars, for Heaven’s sake!), the flatering, disintegrating prose loops—it reminds me of Howard Finster a little, outsider art. The text on the bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap.

And, as I said, it dovetailed nicely with the Basinski, a recording of a long, old tape loop repeating and repeating and repeating and slowly falling apart moment by moment in such minimal steps, you miss it.

Blake sent me this book. Thanks, Blake.

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October 10th, 2008 / 1:30 pm