A Thing Like You and Me is a multi-authored Narrative in Progress which evolves every month with new instalments by artists, poets, writers, and activists. A Thing Like You and is edited by Sarah Crewe and Dimitra Ioannou. The contributors explore the guidelines for A Thing Like You and Me which are largely based on Hito Steyerl’s homonymous essay. You can read them here.
Everyone Knows How Moons and Mushrooms Grow
by Nana Sachini
by Louise Anne Buchler
The woman remains pinning him to the ground. The soldier is silent. She sniffs him like an animal – the soldier, cringing, squeezes his eyes shut.
Yer smell like Ol’ Spice – my ol’ man used to wear it. So clichéd doncha think? But I kinda like it.
The soldier remains still, his eyes shut. The woman sniffs and nuzzles his neck with her nose – there is something almost feral about her behaviour. She rubs her face against his cheek.
Yer prickly like a pear. Yer feel like sandpaper – all rough edges an shit. Why’re ya so quiet, huh? Doncha like it when a woman rides yer like a pony.
Crudely she rocks backwards and forwards on him. Still pinning his arms to the ground.
Yer know, I always liked a man in uniform – somethin’ powerful about it – like ya could make a difference. Yer uniform is so clean – cotton – not poly-HESTER – yer feel soft, yer feel like ya couldn’t hurt nobody or anything. All bark and no bite. Yer pathetic little bitch boy.
Suddenly the soldier spits in her face – they tousle and roll. They alternate positions and he is straddling her- her hands pinned to the ground. She laughs.
Growing angry the soldier muzzles her mouth with one hand whilst pinning her down with the other. The woman struggles beneath the weight of him, kicking her legs and making muffled sounds.
There now, not so funny is it. Are you going to shut up? Are you?
The woman falls silent and he removes his hand from her mouth, still holding her down
I’d never killed before, they conscripted us and we had no choice – handed us guns and ammunition and self-help books about post traumatic stress and pills. The first month we fought in the jungle – I was so afraid and hyped up on adrenalin I didn’t sleep for two weeks. I felt like I was trapped in a Munch painting – the jungle was humid, and smelt of wet vegetation, I heard birds calling full-throated like sirens in the trees. There were eyes everywhere. The jungle was every shade of green you could imagine – all I saw was red. We camped out in a canopy of trees – when I did dream I saw my father. We washed our clothes in the river – it ran red with blood. I forgot who the enemy was – a series of faces, death masks, rose from the nightmare.
The woman struggles under him. He forces her to be still – gripping her face with one hand – she groans in pain
This was the only light on in the street. I’m not going back to the war. They’re looking for me now – doubt I’ll get a medal for this – I shot a girl on the ridge coming into town – she didn’t do anything to me but I was afraid.
by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
by Sophie Mayer
When Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned over the Panama Papers revelations, he resigned from the Thing | OK the Althing but still | the thing | a thing is an assembly it| lives on in husting | and Manx tyn | identical in etymology to thing meaning object | & before that a stretch | of time (as in: the time | allotted for an assembly which can | I guess stretch depends | how long you take to | listen | to what everyone has to say the early | sense did not survive | to Middle English | deed c. 1000 possessions c. 1300 | sense of | communal, collective lost The Icelandic thing met in Thingvellir from 930 to 1798 | under an overhang | an echoic (natural) | outdoor amphitheatre | carrying speech to chieftains | the Lögberg | a World Heritage Site where they | film Game of Thrones it’s the bit beyond | the Wall | hexagonal basaltic cliffs black as | Jon Snow’s hair or coat I can’t | tell | it’s a rift | continental drift opening | the valley ever wider the | lake the largest (natural) | in Iceland clear | enough to drink | & great for ale makers | despite/because of crymostygius thingvallensis, a species of subterranean amphipod crustacean, endemic to the area around Þingvallavatn. The species has no close relatives, and is placed in its own family, Crymostygidae. This distinctness was been confirmed in 2011 by molecular phylogenetics & | by Wikipedia the thing in the water | the thing is it’s not | a remake of The Thing from Another World it’s | its own other “festooned | with enough K-Y jelly to fill a swimming pool” which | puts “a whole spin on the narrative and | the weight of the tense blood testing scenes” weighed against | Reaganomics Reagan family values the thing | is HIV the thing is in | denial | the thing is | it will come to get the last (straight) (ablebodied) (white) (cis) man | standing | alone | & that’s when they finally give | a shit sense | of communal, collective | lost
by Erica Schreiner
by j/j hastain
Princely Purview: or How to Heal Dying Bouquets or Bushes:
Tran(S)ophia as touch has manifested in me by Unseen Beings working with trauma compositions in my Back Space. Sewing, cutting, suturing. Creating seals in the web. Lilacs are collectives of many individual flowers all expressing themselves one to another, at once. If you smell just one, there is almost no smell. In place of wild smell there is the yearning for the smell of the collective: a somatic sense of something lacking. If you smell them all clumped together, the smell is overwhelming. The smell is freedom.
From the sense of the back as it once was: uninhabited, empty or even impacted, jaded—to the sense now, of being positively populated in my Back Space by allies, I am growing alongside those who inhabit my back. Together we are taking up cosmic space and doing so in Gaia-based-ways (growth).
Women inhabit my back.
Growth occurs by rhythmic attending into and through deep time. The ground on which we (myself and those in my Back Space) walk is being crowned, made royal. My bare feet sink into ground; they sink into the bareness and vulnerabilities of my back. In all reality, I am we; we are surging.
As I let them. We let.
When working the community at my back, it is not a space only for women. But, the fact is, Patriarchy prefers men (which gives women much less body space than men, in the most general sense). Regardless of if there are men in my Back Space (men are welcome) I intend to let women flourish in my back. For men who support, love and believe in women, who worship women, for men who are queer in some way or are sensitive, my protection of women ensures they too are safe. The only people for whom my Back Space is not safe are those who abuse women.
My Back Space is attuned to Woman (embodiable mythic site).
I am currently coming out as a woman: being taught and talked to as a lover and protector of women. I am among these Divine Masculine women, these Divine Feminine women and I (and they) need protection. Gaia point of view.
The God/dess of stone (who is rubbed by a practitioner) is not a stone butch, though they do share somatic tendency: both of them need in ways they just might not be able to talk about overtly and they are stuck behind something real that, without a stroke particular to them, they can’t or won’t open on their own. It is stroking the Acheulian Goddess of stone that lets it become a woman. Ganges clay in the shape of a woman with a dick for a head softens in the hands of the person who is making the figurine. The work changes the hands: all of the bulk and wetness of the Ganges, all at once, staining human hands. Clay and mud: phallic depth of the world. There are no Patriarchal boundaries in this stroke: just the attending knock of so many hands.
I created myself as a God/dess with a dick for a head: with dick, volition as a way of thinking and being. Now that I am finding women (myself) in my Back Space (now that they are finding me) my Back Space is being fertilized as site for future sex, love, and intimacies.
In my Back Space: both body parts and identifications. In my Back Space: guarantee women can be.
Here, histories are being erased: making space for Gaia-synonyms. Having been desensitized in culture the plan to follow through on is being women—finally able to be sensitized in circle.
In my search for women (in myself and in the world) for whom and by which I can make the stronghold of protection I am finding myself. Exclusivity is fading away. My heart needs this woman contour on my backside.
As women sense the span of my back, as they touch my back, they trace up to my head (which is one with my dick shape).Womb-shaped wormhole: phallus-shaped femme. Gaia enters at the backside of everyone in my Back Space.
Making record, standing with another (others), loving in the circular waft, crowning one another, crowning the shape as it is divining itself, we become the fractal reality of a mythic Bearded Grandmother: a position of intimacy (rather than age) feeding from and giving to the Back Space in/as contrapuntal essence.
Two respectful and complimentary melodies binge to extend beyond two. Beyond two, every orgasm is the accordion-shape, the musical site of multiple breaths, the particle life of Women of the West in which a shared essence and baring shocks the span.
From once-inhibited to fully inhabited.
by Navine G. Khan-Dossos