Ben Carlton Turner
Edition of 300
12,5 x 20cm, 88 pages
Soft cover, perfect binding
Layout design by Jason Forrest Hogg
Published by RED LEBANESE
Support provided by the agnes b. endowment fund
Special thanks to Elodie Cazes
he told me
we need to talk
the only way to maintain
is to leave
Hotel Sequence is a deceptively small series of poems, an extended sprawl punctuated with photos blitzed out by the flash. A hesitant effort of relational exploration. Always starting. Always stopping. Turner’s efforts take us along for the ride to six anonymous motels exploring the physical and emotional space between each. Here, the weather is hot and the bodies cool. The rooms unremarkable, specific only in their lack, each occupied by couples getting caught on the edges of the other. This coupling, this togetherness reinforces the synchronous pretense of two different vocabularies - investment and disinterest - in every exchange, as the self inflicted disappointments emerge, the pleasures taken in the wounding of oneself and others.
In our quest for authenticity comes the reminder of unoriginal we are, an admission of how we ultimately are following the fallacy of locating oneself in relation to another. Hotel Sequence’s exploration of how loss warps and shapes time, memory, trauma, and love shared between people highlights the universality of this position. Compulsory actions escalate while remaining unconsumated, suspended somewhere between maintaining a connection whose time has passed and navigating the fragmentation of old certainties; marginal success resides only in the acceleration of losing mass to dust. Each anticipation and rupture occurs independent of a universal meaning and at times, in spite of it. We want the past to be vindicated thus the evocation of every tenuous connection. Missing information is overwhelmed by factual distortion in the search for that which encapsulates all.
Hotel Sequence works toward a kind of erotic sovereignty, though its less sex than status. A point which resides neither in the author or in the poem itself, but in the relationship between the two. The effacement of descriptive signifiers relates the poem’s you and her back to you and us, across and within time in an Sisyphean loop of mis/action where narrative is rejected in favor of oft-oppositional state’s of being. Ultimately that is how it stays interesting, with infinite variations and internalized detours. All six poems unfold as though happening simultaneously, deliberately indifferent to the limitations and structures of continuance where each individual embodies a temporary yet consistent meaning. They are, as we are, a souvenir, incomplete in itself, made real only when defined within someone else’s narrative.
By the end, Turner possess you, and somehow makes it attractive to be possessed.
- Camille Weiner