Prison of Realty
by Travis Diehl
You know what they say: what you own can own you. When the guest editors of the present issue of the Rail call Los Angeles a city of writers, I can’t help but agree. I also can’t help thinking of the pressures and joys by which these writers live. Amid the current boom, as artists and creatives and developers alike work to tip the country’s balance westward, I reached out to the Los Angeles contributors of Prism of Reality with the prompt “Prison of Realty.” Self-evidence sells by the square foot, and prices are up. But as these artists attest, we’re not here for the money. Sometimes we’re not even here.
by Nick Kramer
It is this writer’s opinion that D. Judd compulsively built masturbation beds in every room to avoid interrupting his work reliving the trauma of making unfixable paintings. Enter a career in architectural renovation.
I find a lunch box full of Mimbres bowls with dick-size kill-holes. On the lid, Wile E. Coyote flails his arms, trying to balance as he falls backwards into a pile of bones at the bottom of Olduvai Gorge.
Up the hill, UT is retrofitting a telescope to search for dark energy/antigravity. They’ve been making boxes up there since the depression.
Silver Zombie Horse
by Candice Lin
I have no Marxist shame and even around leftist, British academics, I’ll casually mention that I own a house and I work part-time as a real estate agent. This year I took out another loan and doubled the size of my property, adding a studio with plenty of natural light to the back. I hired a contractor whom I now refer to as the Silver Zombie Horse because I was so charmed by his long monologues about Second Life: the horses and property he sold within that system, and the “accidental” peep show of two lesbians getting it on, one dressed as a furry, that he showed me on his slowly-rendering computer when I asked what it was like. Sweetly nervous, he didn’t want to press the wrong button and alert the lesbians that he was there, invisibly spying. This was something he had rights to since he was the owner of the virtual property the lesbians rented. Now that the construction on my studio addition is finished, I can tell (even from the depths of my plush dappled suit) that a fragment of my contractor floats above the bed at all times, half-rendered pixels of hooves shining metallically in the dark.
by Matt Siegle
Nostrils twitch with the faint chem burn of chlorine. Two images misalign inside my skull: goddamn R. McGinley swimmers and sabercat yowling in a tar pit. I disrobe and slide into a bubbling hydrotherapy soup. Each water molecule delicately pH balanced, each fading crimson to UFO blue through a sickly LED rainbow. Now with eyes closed flesh cooks at 102 degrees and pores open. Dodge the jets, scale the molded plastic tub, leap through the chain-link fence into the desert night, run wild with those coyotes. O I sigh into my domain, my predictable selfhood!
by Fiona Connor
I was sitting on the ground just after they laid the rug and spilt a glass of water
When I sat on the floor against the wall in my room I had sisal imprinted into my butt and it felt good to touch
A dog came and she scratched at the carpet
Olinda was helping and I walked bleach out of the kitchen and into the room
Kate dragged her suitcase and its little plastic feet left a black mark and the next day we ripped the whole thing up
The floor has turned the corner
Review: Shannon Ebner’s
by Brica Wilcox
A series of sub-parcels are traced on the land between twenty letters. Marking what may come, desert tracts or a site conspicuously conserved? As spectators, we hide behind the language Ebner has erected. Each form like negative space—reading between the lines, but with the paper turned 90° and a well-partitioned landscape filling in behind the phrase: LANDSCAPE INCARCERATION. A long gap between E and I, or I and E opens to a valley (depending on the dominance of a semantic or morphological view). In the expanse, there is a divide halved, or redoubled, where distance is mirrored, perversity amplified, the set of spacers from here to there simply stated. In these intervals, constricted pleasure gives off dust that registers as light grey haze.