47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 58

from A Book of First Sentences: TEXUAL BROW LAYNIE BROWNE He invited me over for dinner, with sirens and interruptions. The windows were weak and loud. We all wore the same book covers on our sleeves and read each other’s faces covered in type. Or to be clear, what I mean is, text erupted all over our bodies. Ever since the election. There was nothing we could do about this so instead of making conversation we read to each other from our faces, and oddly enough we were always surprised at what our faces revealed. We had not only no control of the text appearing on our bodies (undressing for bed could be an adventure) but also the text on us was not necessarily characteristic of anything we might have said or written. So our friends or acquaintances and especially our intimates couldn’t help but to take it personally. The words would come and go and we felt no sensation, so we only knew exactly when it was happening by the way others looked at us. The text appearing sometimes reflected the weather with expletives, or the political climate (revolting, hideous, depressing) or internal frustrations (slighted again). When meeting new people, and on first dates things were particularly confusing. I observed a couple; one kept saying to the other: What am I saying now? Shall I paint a portrait of your head? A face expands and fingers fly. I lament the fact that any onlooker might be disappointed by the text on my brow. If you read every other word and interlace the text within the words (I mean the persons) sitting next to you, you might feel better. That is to say sometimes I noticed that if I deliberately sat 50

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