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. February 2016’s narrative features works by Jessica Borusky, Louise Anne Buchler, Sarah Crewe, Charlotte Geater, Myriam Gurba, j/j hastain, D.I., Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Lila Matsumoto, Sophie Mayer, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Nana Sachini, and Erica Schreiner. 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.
by Charlotte Geater
The thing about writing in my notebook now is that when I want to get rid of something I have to scribble over it. It makes more of it, not less. I tried using a pencil & a rubber but it just left a pink mark there. The rubber was pink.
It makes it into more than it was.
i don’t remember what the goose-girl
said / another life
sewed feathers together, slept
down with her & i woke early
the taste of blood
tickling at the base of – this was maybe when she spoke
I Saw Her Know (iii)
by Lila Matsumoto
Over noodles in broth she told us about a conference she attended recently. In one panel, the delegates were shown a clip of gorillas performing a ‘waterfall ritual’. Then everyone was asked to rise out of their seats and move to the hallway outside. There, the conference organiser had the attendees form groups of three, and instructed them to take turns walking slowly around the room with their eyes closed, while their groupmates performed three actions on them: swipe, pat, and jiggle. She said it was excruciating when a strange hand jiggled her stomach. ‘I had a poem in my head, by John Ashbery,’ she said. ‘It went, “What goes around comes around. The medicine dropper approached the sky”’.
‘High jinks in the cathedral’. Circa 1908, cotton, grain, stone, ink. The shadow of a particularly overawed beast hangs over it, calling attention to the texture, rather than the specularity, of the work. When one thinks of voluptuaries, they naturally think of multilayer soul gems, astrakhan collars, and snails fattened on milk. One could also throw in, for instance, circulets, silver crockery, bejeweled hand carts, and small baskets woven from rare rushes.
I often wonder where you can get your hands on those hats worn by Enlightenment philosophers as seen in their portraits. Do you know the ones I mean- they look like fezes but are more squat, more turban-like, softer-looking. They usually come in a velveteen or satin trim and for this reason sybarites often wear them. I can’t even begin to search for these hats, not knowing what they are called.
by Jessica Borusky
Some Basic Aphrodite’s Accessories
by Nana Sachini
by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
by Sarah Crewe
on being asked who is your hero? eleven second pause redeemed by the answer: bjork
bite reflex prevents Dad spilling out worst possible feminist answer abort mission:
non-feminist answer my hero is a heroine that resents gender based epithets for supposedly
non-binary roles my hero is feminism feminism the iconoclast f – the deity f – idelity
idolatry the living doll in which we live out our most perfect aspiration to be 100% pure
boss feminist fighter jet plane may the f-god bless you roxane gay for putting the fallen at
ease: not as well read because i am human become the feminist lead by example
the hero is metamorphosing from a person to a thing the hero is google the hero is yahoo
the hero has pet names (fb) the hero is blue tweety birds the hero is netflix the hero is
baymax the hero is yodel the hero is an episode of dispatches on a very quiet news day
the hero is a bin wagon the hero’s mother’s hero is also a bin wagon (bin cart cart)
these were very different times when the hero was in black and white as opposed to an
eighties backdrop the hero was derek hatton the hero was orange bricks and a garden
the hero was in the merchant navy the hero is a yellow and green painted tram the heroes
are locked in the drawer my mother has lost the box of heroes the hero wears rock ‘n’ roll
pyjama pants the hero is a snood the hero is now the red cushion&slouch socks the hero
is home the hero is a social housing construct of very precious  things
on asking yr hairdresser:make me laurie anderson the retort very fine used
in a negative context in an all encompassing shake of the head a shut lip grimace
a subtext but that just isn’t the way! a wet haired squint the weight makes you look
less&less like yr own mother an impossibility the hero is something we secretly aim
to become a moustache is more likely distinctly more likely than to be so selfless
there is no such thing as a selfless poet the poet as superwoman the poet as super mum
a divine contradiction so hold me mum in yr long arms destiny branded in celtic
but rarely short sleeved that would be vulgar that would be too much on display
that would be trickle down love heroes just don’t do that do they
by Louise Anne Buchler
The woman laughs – a loud cackle
Oh – I’m not going to hurt you, man! I mean I could snap you like a twig if I wanted but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna do it. I don’t hurt boys – wasn’t raised like that ya see. I know how soft ‘n delicate y’all are with your guns an’ shit – waving them around like banners. I’ll protect you. Wanna drink?
No worries – I think I’ve got some of the ‘ol spirit ‘ere somewhere
She gets up and begins to ruffle amongst the plastic bags until she finds a bottle half full. She puts out her cigarette and opens it – taking a swig. She notices the soldier looking her up and down.
This old thing? She motions to the dress Found it at a market – like to wear it out – its ironic doncha think?
She hands him the bottle and he drinks greedily from it.
Catching his breath, spluttering
Fucking hell, what is this?
Dunno. But it sure get’s the party started
She takes the bottle back
Seen much action?
A bit. Stationed up on the ridge – revolutionaries tried to gain ground – we pelted them with pots and pans ‘til they retreated South. That was a saucy battle.
Swigging from the bottle and nodding
I’m an Akhmatovite – 1st division – head of the PPP
Looks at her perplexed
Poetics, Porn and Propaganda.
We’re gonna change the world one P at a time.
Are you a band?
Hey mate, where’ve ya been! A band? Do I look like Freddie Fucking Mercury?
We’re a movement and Akhmatova is our inspiration.
She jumps to her feet and standing to attention performs a complicated salute that resembles nothing close to a military salute as we know it today – before singing:
“Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?
And if ever in this country
They decide to erect a monument to me,
I consent to that honor
Under these conditions—that it stand
Neither by the sea, where I was born:
My last tie with the sea is broken,
But here, where I stood for three hundred hours,
And where they never unbolted the doors for me.)
She completes the song with great aplomb and looks at the soldier
Ta da, fucker, Ta da! Whaddya think? Great isn’t it! I mashed some of her poems together and created the melody meself. I’ll teach it to ya if ya like?
Shakes his head and reaches for the bottle
Begins to clear up some of the trash
Can’t please everyone I guess. You’re awful quiet for a boy ya know. It would serve ya better if you spoke up – maybe smiled once in a while. You have a lovely face, you do, but yer so goddam sour.
She puckers her cheeks and resumes clearing up – she doesn’t get far before
Got someone special? Huh? A little somethin’ somethin’?
He perks up for a brief minute before growing sullen again
It left me
Sorry mate, happens to the best of us I tell ya! My bloke ran off and joined a pornography cult on the West Bank.
Yeah! S’true’s Bob! Those mother fuckers A beat
and they were fucking their mothers I tell ya.
She takes the bottle back and takes a large swig before sitting down on the rubbish heap. The lights dim to a romantic red. The sound of violins.
Registering the music and change of mood she shakes her head
This Shmaltz’ll be the death of me. Anyway, where was I…oh…motherfucker !
We met at a rally against Capitalist Patriarchs – (there’s another rally next week for the Socialist ones if ya wanna come?) – it turned violent and they tried to smoke us out – I saw him through a haze of teargas – he was wearin’ a black jacket and a red skirt. So we start runnin’ like and the army was in hot pursuit – it was fucking hot – an’ the next thing we somehow find each other in the throng – and it is mental – MEN TAL – people are screaming and throwing burning tampons at the pigs and shoutin’ and basically raisin’ hell and this guy – this bloke – just reaches out and grabs my hand an’ then he pulls me over this wall just before they started firin’ at us – well blow me down Jack – I’d never known a man – a MAN – to be so strong – so brave and bold.
The music ends abruptly and the lights return to normal
He wasn’t much of a looker though – not that I’m shallow or anything ya know… YA KNOW – I think I have a picture of him here somewhere
She digs through one of the bags producing a photograph before jumping up and leaning uncomfortably close to the soldier waving the image in his face.
Whaddaya think? He’s a bit of all right I guess.
So what happened with the cult?
I’m getting’ there – keep yer hair on!
She resumes her seat on the rubbish bags
So one day he just up and leaves with our hairdresser from the valley – he was always so vain – can’t look revoltin’ in the revolution ya know? And that was that – not a word – and then some months later I’m seeing these billboards all over town – and slap-me-on-the-bum-and-call-me-Mandy – It’s him! On the billboards! An’ he’s half naked- an flashin’ his bits to every Tom, Dick and Malory and it’s an advertisement – guess what for?
Nu-uh! Condoms! CON DOMS! Transpires – he’s now some porn star –an’ get this, right
She leans forward conspiratorially
He has a stage name. ‘The Vase’ – I kid ya not – turns out that’s what they were using him for – if ya catch my drift WINK WINK – yea, I know! That blew my mind! So they’re fillin up every goddam hole – and he can’t even get a hard on – but that’s beside the point – because he’s ‘The Vase’ ya know? An’ the last I heard they’re selling these white ribbed condoms to the global market – because he’s been totally fetishized in Asia – FET TI SHIZED – ‘cos that’s the dream I guess! Everyone wants a Big. White. COCK.
The soldier is silent, pondering.
I feel like I’m far from home. I don’t understand why any of that is a bad thing. I wouldn’t mind being a vase – filled with flowers – a thing of beauty for all to see. I wouldn’t mind seeing people, see me – and want to be just like me – instead of wondering around without any point or purpose.
He’s barely finished speaking and there is the sound of rapturous applause – the sound is loud – deafeningly so. The Woman immediately scrambles to her feet and runs to the Soldier – pulling him to his feet. Still holding his hand she urges him to bow – he follows suit – there is urgency about it and she is shouting above the applause ‘Bow!’ Eventually it stops and there is silence. The Soldier turns to face her.
What the hell was all that?
You’re a long way from home, my China.
She flashes him a beguiling smile
Heteronormativity, of course!
Two or Three Things about Je Tu Il Elle
by Sophie Mayer
by Erica Schreiner
by j/j hastain
Visionary states calm because they are inclusive.
Visions are cosmic sources in which a return to ceremony and mediation of spiritual power is consecrated. We realize when we are called by figures in our original vision, to obtain some sacred information, we are also called to return to the vision itself in order that the vision instruct us to look.
God/dess worship is worship of an embodied place, of presence, more than it is worship of a person. This is why in and by way of God/dess-oriented worship we assess many different qualities of experience. As we strive to connect those to the world, to each other, the connections actually take place. We renovate matter. We are creating by way of additives, be those windows or narratives, fulfillments of our role in cosmic design.
It may seem obvious or basic, but the most complex thing I have ever known in practice is: I have to create myself in order to end up self-made. To be near each other as we are making ourselves, that is the insightful aptitude where we can treat community as deeply intimate.
Embodied Priest/ess can worship God/dess by working steadily with self-care. Self-care is a form of divinity. Such work with God/dess can also take place in consort work with the lover. Additionally, it can occur in community in the context of sisterhood and brotherhood, in kindness.
Is it because there is still patchouli and shaman’s smoke in my hair that I have dreamt of the infant stages of form?
In the dream, in a women’s center dressing room, there were so many gorgeous vestments: as if there were an ensemble of outfits: vestments for every occasion. I had many different dresses and coats and robes surrounding me. I was trying them on and they were piling up around me. Then, a baby boy came over the lip of the top of the dressing room. He was naked and I could see he was scared and did not know what to do. I could tell he was afraid he would fall. Was he the Divine Masculine reaching out to me for stabilizing? Was he the vulnerability of human form reaching for assistance along the way as the roads buckled and the sun shaded? He had his whole body dangling into the dressing room where I was naked and trying on clothes, but he was gripping an antler on the ceiling so hard (to keep himself from falling) that his hands were turning blue. While touching the underside of his naked body and promising him I would catch him, he let go.
I showed him how these vestments of the Priest/ess have corset bones capable of catching and holding all his weight in case, for some reason, in the time between making the promise to catch him and him choosing to drop into the mass of me, my arms went limp or were forcibly restrained by something unexpected. The genre of this gender goes on longer than just me.
I am trying to show him how he is more than doubly-safe: will be able to bounce off my gesture, the cushy shelf of outstretched Heart Chakra, like a trampoline. There will be all of these years of devoted practice, of flounce-arch and architectures that ache for God and this ocular womb on which, in which, he will be caught in his fall.
There is no time to lose. We must get as close to one another as possible, by whatever means possible. Any danger to continuance and path is in illusory-based allowances of ourselves as drift. Drifting apart was never what the internal drive toward densities of song was even for. Practice and bliss are what song is for. Song is that throaty mutant chamber: site in which ocular embrace can take place as feeling and image converging. The oath and path of making images integrate. Wholesome life-force of the altar as composed balance, rather than as limits of a psychosis.
Practice is where hands move images in round ways. The need for altar is a contextualizing, a giving life and balance to images capable of preying on us if not attended to. We attend in order to reify the focus of our day to day works.
by Navine G. Khan-Dossos
So, I was watching a documentary on street photography the other day while I was home sick with something that gave me chills, fever, and phlegm. One of the photographers being interviewed was saying how scared she is for photography because of digital. Now everybody can take photos so photos aren’t special anymore. Digital is going to ruin photography as an art form. That argument bugs. It’s so crusty. Its sort of like saying if we increase the literacy rate, poetry will suffer. It also bugs me when people complain about how kids don’t know how to punctuate or exercise good grammar and stuff like that because of texting. Language gets to change. Mediums of communication get to change and when they go through a revolution, they get sloppy. It’s okay. It’s not going to kill our ability to communicate. It’s just going to change how. One of my greatest joys is texting and taking selfies. I like to take selfies and then do things with them, such as insert myself into photos with serial killers like Ted Bundy. I can point to my photo of Ted Bundy and say, “Look! Unlike the others, I survived!” I can also take pictures of poems I’ve written and share them with people immediately. I did that with the poem here. I didn’t title it but it’s about the female poet being a subject and man being the vessel for a change. I posted it on Instragram and you get to choose where you are posting from and I chose Gold’s Gym. I take notes in my phone too like the one that’s here. I feel like sometimes taking selfies is like making out with yourself in the bathroom mirror. I used to make out with myself in the bathroom mirror when I was 13. I’d open my eyes partway through to see what I looked like. I was curious about what it felt like to kiss me since I was making out with a lot of people. If you’ve never made out with yourself in the bathroom mirror, do yourself a favor. Tonight, have a glass or two of wine with some spaghetti. Then, walk to your bathroom, climb the sink, and try slipping yourself the tongue. Keep pushing your tongue til it goes in. Be sure to stroke your cheeks. Be careful balancing on the sink. If you fall, its your fault.
A THING LIKE YOU AND ME | DECEMBER 2015 . A THING LIKE YOU AND ME | JANUARY 2016