A Pillow Book of a Woman in Film:
Excerpt from Love Morph
Ana and Karl were invested in analyzing the corpse of their relationship.
Each had their version of love gone wrong. Shrugging off martyrdom,
Ana now felt she could redeem herself and her relationship through their
mutual art. As for Karl, he had long wanted to enter her creative
world the way that he had first entered her body.
Karl had set up the endoscope, its long, thin metal tube capped with
a miniature lens encircled by a light at the tip. He watched the
monitor, while Ana peered through the video camera, guiding the tube attached
to its lens adaptor into her lover's mouth--a maze of white panels of teeth
pushed against pulsating walls of slimy pink and purple. "How incredible!"
he said, watching the image of his own mouth scrambling into a dark cave
as he spoke.
"Why did you have to say anything?" she complained. They traded
places, Ana spreading her legs while he turned on the camera and entered
the cold steel tip of the endoscope gently into her vagina.
"Fiber optics are incredible! It's like fucking with technology,"
he said, pressing against the rubber eyepiece. "This is our chance
to beat Emile Zola at capturing reality."
"Oh, knock it off, Karli," she said. "This is avant-garde video,
not a remake of French literature."
"No, no, no. Zola wrote: `The cunt in all its power; the cunt on
an altar, with all the men offering up sacrifices to it.' What we
are making is the video of the cunt, `the cunt turning everything sour,'
and I quote!"
"I'm much more interested in l'écriture féminine," said
Ana, "and cinécriture." She resented him dragging her body back
into the nineteenth century, especially since they were using state of the
art technology; no one had ever used an endoscope in experimental video
or film to penetrate the human body with its cold steel. She was determined
to match the brilliance of their technical forays with previously unimaginable
metaphors the likes of which only Rimbaud could have predicted. She
wanted to prove that her love could withstand the strength of Karl's inspections.
"So this is the door of conception," he said in marvel. Her cervix
appeared like a white moon, appearing and disappearing in a dawn of pink
"Remember, this was my idea!" said Ana, her cervix wiggling out of sight
as soon as she started talking.
"I honor it," said Karli, never taking his eyes off the eyepiece, waiting
patiently for the chance to refocus on her cervix. And there it appeared!
"The world of video exploration has finally brought light into the dark."
"I want to see! I want to see!" crowed Ana. "Rewind the tape!"
He rewound it for her, and she took her turn, watching the cyclops eye
of her cervix like a mirror.
"What about behind the cervix, where the egg and the sperm become one?"
Dream on, moon child, she thought bitterly to herself. Even such
a powerful, never-seen-before image couldn't enchant her love into action
"Maybe it's better for us to meditate at the entrance," said Karl, "instead
of forcing our way inside."
"Our way?" She pulled herself off of the endoscope, and turned
it off. She had wanted to include the pain of her loss of David Stillwell's
baby, making up for it with this creative act.
"Please don't include your miscarriage." Karl felt that it would
turn out to be a bad omen. It might trigger the derailment of his
own, tentative power of self-expression. "The fetus had nothing to
do with our video."
Karl toyed with macrocosm and microcosm in post-production, trying to
control the pattern of the stars in the sky against a background of semen,
while Ana kept bickering about his controlling her destiny. She grabbed
the voice-over mike and crooned:
Your plane soars through my mouth
into the depths of my vagina.
I want to take you
to the origins of my body.
Don't leave me. Don't take it out!
I want to be
but the same as other women, in this:
I want...to love you.
I want...to love you.
"Ah so," said Karli nervously. "You have a big...i-vagination!"
"Speak English, dammit!" she said, simultaneously rushing past his jokes
into the non-verbal, phallic world of cinematography:
- Zooming inside his mouth, out
to his full, naked body;
- Close-ups of his penis;
- Their nipples. The six-pointed
star of her cervix;
- Her solarized cervix: first pink,
Then she would let his penis talk.
"I will use the grain of the film to symbolize my sperm," he said slowly.
"It's been done, ten years ago. Remember Tony Conrad and his flicker
films? Every eighth frame changing till the pattern could send you
into an epileptic fit? Bet you can't alter the grain patterns
till they inseminate the viewer," she said, trying to deflate him.
She didn't approve of his abstract point of view. She had already forgotten
her part of his bargain to create dramatic conflict as they aired their
differences on film.
"If your ideas have never been executed," he retorted, "it's because
no one in their right mind would represent the emotions of attempted procreation
"Did I hear you use the non-word, `twistedly'?" teased Ana.
"Dammit, Ana, if you spoke my language, I could outdo you," he said,
slamming a videocassette onto the editing table.
Ana stood up. "Men and women as enemies may be an intriguing concept
for you to produce," she said, pointing at him, "but it is one I hope never
to experience personally again!"
"Perfect!" said Karli. "Say it again for the camera, please."
But by the time he turned the lights back on, she was putting on her
clothes. "I no longer have anything meaningful to say," she complained.
"It's all your fault!"
"No, no, no," he said. "Say the other thing."
"What other thing? There is no other thing," she stated.
Karl was very satisfied with this. "Let's call it a wrap," he said,
his armed wrapped tightly around her.
"I want disarmament in your arms," she said off-camera, and this assuaged
"I want . . . you, not your image," he replied. They made love
for the entire week of her period without turning the camera on once.
She began to get annoyed: when would they get around to post-production?
But rather than help her edit the footage, he occupied himself with travel
arrangements for a series of interviews with German and Italian stars.
©2000. Alexis Krasilovsky
All Rights Reserved