You go to a factory that makes headlights. It’s in a neighborhood just outside the center, a little street. At last you’ve arrived. The factory is there.
You see it, it’s in the courtyard, a cadaver without weight. It’s there, it doesn’t move. Factory mass. You know it.
You are in front, in the courtyard, you think, you know it.
The factory is very big, in many pieces.
Disarticulated and full, the factory.
It’s there, it doesn’t move. The air is humid, the factory sweats.
From the metro to the factory a soft black space. You’re in it, you walk.
You turn in the soft space, you pass by the young woman.
She’s sitting on a chair in front of the door.
The young woman is sitting, she’s talking to her dogs. There is a bottle on the ground, it’s not important.
The young woman is there, infinite.
Nothing and nothing. The world opens, the world opens in each place. You are at the end. Things are. Chair and door, and behind, the buffet.
The buffet is large and brown. You see it through the window.
Heavy and large, the buffet. There’s also a table with chairs all around it. The chairs are all the same.
Leslie Kaplan was born in Brooklyn, but raised and educated in France. Beginning in January 1968, Kaplan worked for two years in a series of factories. She later claimed that “no discourse could speak the factory,” but that some words—free of the forms and expectations of discourse— could undertake to do so. In L’excès-l’usine, she writes an alienating and often hidden place in society. The book-length poem, which includes nine “Circles,” acknowledges the distance and separation that the factory environment creates between people and objects.
Julie Carr is the author of six books of poetry, most recently 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta, 2010), RAG (Omnidawn, 2014), and Think Tank (Solid Objects, 2015). She is also the author of Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2013). A chapbook of prose was recently released as a free pdf from Essay Press. Carr was a 2011-12 NEA fellow and is an associate professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is the co-founder of Counterpath Press and Counterpath Gallery.
Jennifer Pap is Associate Professor of French at the University of Denver. She has published articles on the presence of the visual arts in the language and thought of French poets such as Apollinaire, Reverdy, and Ponge. An article on Leslie Kaplan’s L’excès-l’usine is forthcoming in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies (formerly Sites). In collaboration with Julie Carr, she has translated Apollinaire’s Alcools as well as Kaplan’s L’excès-L’usine.