Issue 4 – Summer 2003 – Leslie Scalapino

Leslie Scalapino


From: Dahlia’s Iris – Secret Autobiography and Fiction

              Now she’s mad. He has no beliefs. Robespierre, the director, has replaced her when she

did the motions. In this version, Robespierre the glittering purity makes strawmen functions to

grovel take the hit for him before him while he secretly which everyone sees is a mamma’s boy

with ladies lying to him whom he enlists/ stings, one carried in a sedan chair, but he appears to

glitter because no one can bear to feel/ comprehend that they would, or could, allow themselves

to be bullied only, therefore he must be of high ability they have to feel. This is a relief. It shows

people feeling and similar. She stops crying.

              At once Bush the outside, slack-mouthed so eyes squint as he yaps a jackal at killing,

which he can’t even envision apparently carried by bestial robots who strategize war everywhere

that’s unprovoked by recipients. The old frightened by death of everyone, there are no senses.


                                                                Text as Delicate slate forest the water-desert (Pal Mal Comic)


              Half of the ocean in sight (mid ocean in the Pacific) is delicate slate that is at the horizon.

A horizontal slab of surface of mid-ocean is delicate slate.

              Rough delicate slate forest the water-desert. Yet there it is divided in the middle half

mid-ocean before us is heavy black moving. But we are on the surface (of the ocean).

              (At 4:00 in the morning calling up outside in the city of people who homeless wake up, I

thought in flashes I’d be homeless there if it were not for one thing now.)

              Slate or onyx black plowing on the ocean surface (can’t be beneath, except a submarine) is

divided but without boundaries. In the Pacific it’s middle rough delicate slate forest heavy the

water-desert. I lived on the ocean on freighters crossing it. There is nothing that is the sensory

there. It doesn’t exist, hasn’t even.

              Onyx charges of heavy midst of banks ocean not memory is its lines, for instance. On this


              The man first attacks and replaces me with a younger woman who is to only replace my

words. (Nothing in her self, either.) Then, he says about Daniel Defoe that his character who’s

Moll Flanders committing illegal actions which are simply absorbed flattening as bringing onto

one space, which is the space occurring I make in a work called Defoe in which the character, the

Other, is Moll Flanders – the man saying Daniel Defoe did this space (where I had written on

surface of Daniel Defoe’s writing as its/outside’s actions [interior/exterior/’neither of these’

being is ‘there’ also] absorbed on one space flattening space but it is what’s unknown/ not there)

claims this as his own but as critical idea /exterior (‘about’ something else; so it is past and not an

action), omitting a one and present time.

              In this version, Robespierre is not guillotined and is later a fake. Robot theory become

that, which is now ‘any theory is lies’. Direct observation has become: removed by him. No One

can keep up.

              Alfredo Jaar refers in three columns of texts (on the wall)(1) to mines and to air sight.

Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates on Robbins Island in isolation for forty-one years, in

summer 1964 were taken, chained together, and at a limestone quarry in the center of the island,

put to work breaking rocks and digging lime. The lime was used to turn the island’s roads white.

At the end of the day, the black men had been turned white with lime dust. As they worked, the

lime reflected the glare of the sun, blinding the prisoners. Their repeated requests for sunglasses

to protect their eyes were denied.

              Another column of his texts refers to U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan, carpet bombing

from B-52s flying at forty thousand feet, more than fifty cruise missiles President Bush said

would avoid civilian causalities. Before launching the air strikes, the secret Defense Department

bought an exclusive contract from Ikonos Space Imaging Inc to all the air images of Afghanistan

and neighboring countries. Although having satellite imaging of more than ten times the power,

their possessions of the images produced a whiteout preventing western media from seeing the

effects of the bombing. No one here can verify or refute Bush’s claims. The CEO of Space Imaging

Inc said, “They are buying all the imagery that is available.” There is nothing left to see.

               After is – Alfredo Jaar’s blinding light panel in room; and in a room, vault with slit of

blinding light captured crack, which opens every six minutes as blinding light.

              Here any life has the value of nothing as people accept, or look forward to – doing away

with others, one people after another, being Armageddon.

              Bush a single individual who is the outside now, can’t see anything as real.

              And neither can Robespierre, the inside-private, whose minute enmeshed delusions are

finer and finer. For destruction of others only. Yet a mesh of X is not either on or in onyx waves of

mid ocean, yet there.

              One carried in a sedan chair (who apprehending the gestures of others, themselves

erased because no one reads, has translated their gestures as ideas only, rather than there being

their movements, which in her work she says are her ideas to have credit for these) (academizing


              While one by one, before them, he erases other women. (and others) But then, she has to

consider that they (carried), not the others erased, want this, while being duped at once.

              There are birds before or forest – oneself is the view. Who only sees outside before one.

The birds have no space that’s the birds-trees behind them. no Delicate slate forest – delicate

space forest is in front of them, only one.


(1)Alfredo Jaar’s installation, Lament of the Images, Galerie Lelong, New York, November, 2002.



Leslie Scalapino‘s recent publications are: The Tango (Granary Books), Orchid Jetsam (Tuumba); and It’s Go In/Quiet Illuminated Grass/Land (Post-Apollo). Forthcoming in spring from Wesleyan is: Zither & Autobiography.