Begin with the perfect object. The perfect object is indifferent to order. The perfect object resists the collection. The perfect object is one that no longer operates as message, signal, text, word, metaphor, denial, safeguarding, exorcism, threat, God, mind, knowledge, jealousy, history, sexual encounter, word included in the present classification (Borges), synecdoche, symbol, diacritic, etc. The perfect object denies any and all metaphysics, even if it is wholly determined by its metaphysics. The perfect object is understood only in relation to the silence of the body. The perfect object is a bird never seen, heard, or otherwise sensed behind fir trees along the bank of a river sounding ceaselessly, while you walk with her hand-in-hand through the undergrowth. The perfect object is disentangled from all desire. None of the above describes the perfect object.

Now, imagine a story that communicates its own structure, contains its own meaning, embodies its own existence. The story is autonomous, autotelic, ahistorical. The story always returns to itself, like a Möbius strip. Its materials are words: their sounds and shapes. The story is an object comprised of perfect objects, as described above. The story is nonreferential: any associations of a literal, figurative, hermeneutic, exegetic, anagogic, eisegetic, dittologic, etc. nature made by the reader are by definition false and illusionary (they are a failure of the reader, the reading, not the story). In fact the perfect story cannot be read. You pass your eyes over each word and letter (each a perfect object (see above)). You study each fragment: ascenders, descenders, loops, links, serifs, stems, dots, strokes, spines, tails, arms, legs. Here you may reside in a place where language does not describe the world but is interwoven with it, where it exists among—is indeed equal to—the plants and animals and stones. You devour the story as if you are devouring with an open hand the smooth texture of her warm hip, she lying on her side facing away from you, a loosely knit blanket pulled down to just below her waist, daubs of pale pink skin showing through the weft, a candle guttering on a small round table, as you whisper into her ear about a bird never seen, heard, or otherwise sensed behind fir trees along the bank of a river sounding ceaselessly.

September 10, 2022

Erik Harper Klass

Erik Harper Klass has been published in a variety of journals, including New England Review, Summerset Review, and Slippery Elm, and he has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes (2019 and 2020). He writes in Los Angeles, CA.

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