f u g u e   s t a t e    p r e s s
p.o. box 80, cooper station
new york, ny 10276
208-693-6152 fax

from The Vanishing Point of Desire

by Vi Khi Nao

The palimpsest of desire opens her body like a corridor. Time, the Gentleman, walks in first. I stay outside the pages, studying the text written in black ink. I hope he doesnít age you with his sweet, succulent lips. Strands of words hang loosely. Around--

The strands

--of desire.

The gentleman takes too long. I am walking to and fro. Anxious.

You cease talking about the university. The dinner. The writer with her notebook. I do not know what to say to you. I am in a bath of reverence. The large dark maroon handbound book stares back at me. My drawings and paintings are still in there. Waiting. You have only glanced at the preliminaries. I have derailed. The train of the conversation descends into the bosom of fog. I wonder where we are in the interview. The diaphanous window of the conference room glows with light. Drowning it in innocence. The afternoon sun throws in his yellow halo hat. It lands on the hooks of the curtain. On the table. On the floor. The room slits open.

You are so quiet and I am so quiet.

Must I enter you? You in your blue blouse. I am in my red sweater. Flowers of Shanghai. I wonder if you have seen the movie called Red. Called Blue. We are making a movie called White. You smile because you have not seen Flowers or Shanghai in the same sentence. You think this is beautiful. Because you are so quiet and I am so quiet. Hsiao-hsien. I innocently gaze at you. I do not think I am very innocent. Thinking, contemplating walking into the Cathedral.

Without votives. Just wearing a white dress. Perhaps not wearing anything at all. Drowning in blue. My red. Your blue. Four elegant brothels. A courtesan in her prime.

The opium pipe of ink runs through the river of your breath. You inhale. I exhale. A trail of reddish brown, the drug, unravels the air. I am still outside the corridor. Time, the Gentleman, still inspects the palimpsest of desire. He takes his time. He looks carefully at the torn pages. The slit. The mark of passion. The pipe of ink. The opium floats through his nose.

I sit with you in intoxication.

For three years I have not had the pleasure of this moment. For three years I have not had a minute of intoxication with you. In the conference room, I experience two minutes. Two folds. The window. The door. I walk into you.

Descending the aluminum stairs to show you my drawings. My paintings.

I open the kitchen cabinet looking for something to feast upon with the Blue Fruit. A jar of honey sits among the clear canisters of peppercorn, aniseeds, cardamom, capers, flour, rock sugar, mung beans. The assorted scents of spices float out of the cabinet.

The beauty of a kitchen.

The Blue Fruit on the table. The pale amber color of the honey jar. Something is missing, I think, as I sit down at the dining table.

You are still very quiet. This is a sacred time, holding you as I undress the interview in the kitchen. The Blue Fruit dancing in my eyes. I am watching Shanghai wake up on the television screen. Flowers are blooming out of the brothel floors.


Women fading in and out of dark paneled walls. Foods leaving and entering Asian menís mouths.