Online Exclusive

11.20.18
Film: NOX Transfer
—for Paul Chan and Pillowsophia (after Ghostface)

The film begins silver, white, and black as two nude bodies make their way down the beach to a sea scattered with geranium heads a layer of petals overtaking us, one male and one female, as the wave does. Wave and wave until petals pull under and sky darkens moon over water and then a strobe of light and waves and waves differentiating you from me, you are the male body walking out of the sea. Walking out and holding

a gun to your temple caught in strobe light. This I did not expect the gun the gun and where did the female body go who would rush you, push you to the ground the gun the gun wrested and flung firing out nothing over sand. Where did she/I go I am air I am salt in air I don’t see her and the heavy perfume of flowers okay-okay semi-ordinary, as was the dark-moon-light-strobe, but the gun

the man his head and the shot returning her still nude and cradling cradling and stuffing flower petals in her mouth keening with beach glass in her mouth this I cannot and I did not, I did not agree to film these figures I did not agree to watch to say we to say I to say you—

NOX

To refilm this with what if instead or what if the second time around the male body naked and silver holds a bouquet of geraniums, gray scale, alternative to gun and pungent flower-flower he rises out of the sea with his geraniums with his sex

or perhaps this vision holds a possible future, the story of how in the future the geraniums will come to be scattered at sea, how in the future blood into sand, how in the future salt and the woman and so they are not-yet and I can stop them the dark-moon-strobe and the emerging I can. If I swallow the emerging I can prevent the gun the gun and so I will not ingest these red these pink these white petals torn from centers and scattered. I will not the beach glass I will not the boat the wedding the bouquet thrown over the side. I will not in a white dress. I will not a child

in white shorts on the patio tasting geranium petals, a geranium because great-grandfather brought them from the homeland. Instead insist no heritage but sex by touch by tongue and no memory. No sea. Blindfold instead of wedding boat let us camp out in the corner of this

lantern flickering over concrete erosion and no past and only body body and body body and body body. Bodied—

NOX

Nevertheless one body male and one body female spat out to sea. Spat out to the promenade off-season and she/I in white dress. The wooden carousel horses protected by a glass pavilion. Off season restaurant and salt and a young woman approaching out of the dark with the high wide forehead of divination. A young woman approaching I love because she

is part-you and she is not me. She is nothing of me, she is you but not as a man but as a young woman. She approaches and she approaches. You who had been the male body are a young woman approaching and the moment I say violence effaced by calliope she/you are holding a gun to your temple she/you say geranium and median I am the medium of this vision, the young woman you in the black hoodie

zipped and cold along the waterfront and too cold we left her lonely so alone and cold and a gun. A gun a gun my mouth striking the throat’s o of no of come home she holds a gun let us pause this moment let us ask let us implore without going any further let us plead this gun be a water gun, let it be a pink plastic gun let it be a trick gun a trick gun firing out cheap silk flowers let it be stated for the record I have heard the lesson the lesson has been recorded no need for the gun no need and no need—

NOX

Let us begin the film again and again the male body naked, singular, but not outside this time this time in a room, contours shadowed. The body shadowed. And I enter in a geranium-patterned robe, desert to room all the moisture collecting along my skin a dewy flower the male body erect and  

the room still. A crystalline arc of water against curtainless window reflecting back sheets salt-dank, down pillows mourning their geese, the male body emerged out of storm wave that overtook the promenade again and again pounding until by salt and rhythm

concrete disintegrates, granule from granule, neurons adrift and what was red was infused with white and so became pink. Body and body. Body and body we fuck and we sex but after continues your death mask pink quartz a pink desert after the war had dried out the sea in your future death I am a desert sea a desert sea a desert sea. But the daughter: the daughter released—

NOX

Let us begin the film again punctuating cloud barrier to witness a constellation disintegrate simultaneous with a constellation in the brain. The hoodie zipped against empty space empty arms empty hood in wind. Synapses unleashing. And from the gun a crystalline arc of water. And syllables, not a sentence, syllables overtake, culminate in cosmic raving cosmic silence—

NOX

Let us begin the film again: I wait a body of water a body that had been female absorbing male and naked sprawled across the desert I was encouraging the geraniums to overtake the room, this is in the future, the future room of glass louvers, bunches of geraniums gathered in water glasses, I male/female in geranium robe your/my neurons drifting—

Karla Kelsey is author of four books, most recently A Conjoined Book (Omnidawn) and Of Sphere (Essay Press). She co-publishes SplitLevel Texts with Aaron McCollough and with Poupeh Messaghi co-edits Matters of Feminist Practice, Belladonna* Collaborative's new journal of feminist criticism.