• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 05
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Motel Paralysis

The sun’s heat prickles and then swells across the woman’s shoulders and back, her torso is sheathed in black polyester, that halter neck dress from the 1970s that skims her shins, her legs shaved smooth beneath the synthetic silkiness of the fabric How did I get here Her sunglasses are black orbs territorializing her face Her oily hair is coiled into the nape of her neck, pulled tight at her temples Her skin, taut burnished ochre, glows in synchrony with the arid weight of the air that throbs about her, rubs up against her And she is comforted by the benevolent pressure of this communion of elements Her body is nestled in a trashed plastic chair the like of which are typical of pool-sides the world over Right leg crossed over left leg: ankle, calf, knee and a slice of thigh of the former exposed to the rays that both nourish and bleach out The scene is bleached-out This overexposure provides an affective entry into a dream of epistemologically motivated instrumentalisation of violence [It is sunny in a pan-American register I am repeatedly slapping my daughter’s face; tears stain her bruised cheeks yet she endures The crying man – a faded pop star – is getting high on camera from a used up bag of Maltesers: he raises the elliptical opening of the bag to his mouth, he inhales deeply, exhales slowly, and tears stream amidst the deadened synapses and extinguished capillaries, relief spreading across his tense physiognomy: thoughts, henceforth, paralysed. The three parked cars belong to the others (the men who frequent this place, for we women are always driven here, in the broadest possible sense) The pool is empty of water: drained power-lines cross-cross the azure sky which seems exempt from the generalised bleaching A fiberglass donkey is poised to receive the latest melancholy itinerant, sex/dope-fiend, suicide bid The sky blankets everything; its benevolence is too remote to penetrate the carapace of flesh, which instead squirms beneath the irradiated heat that is produced from out of its nucleus


Motel Paralysis

And we are flesh sacks filled with gelatinous ‘star dust’ (“blood and shit and bones”: my daughter), humans with notions and permeable borders and conceptual safety nets Remote hospitality crossed with hypnosis crossed with the gaping orifice of infinity that navigates and swallows I made my choices, even in the apparent absence of alternatives That’s how I came to be here This motel is a witness, though not in the sense of a bystander, which invokes passivity and potentially disinterested pleasure It is, instead contingently active and constituted by the events that play out within its boundaries Each room a cell, making up the totality of a system that is at the same time hermetically sealed (here, one is no one and nobody asks) and open to possibilities with a wider reach than those other exteriorities This motel is abject, dissolving boundaries between the internal and external The woman’s lips are dry and cracked; she licks them once with her