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. January 2016’s narrative features works by Jessica Borusky, Louise Anne Buchler, Sarah Crewe, Charlotte Geater, j/j hastain, D.I., Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Lila Matsumoto, Sophie Mayer, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Nana Sachini, Erica Schreiner, and Liliana Vasques. A Thing Like You 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.
Constituição Combustão | Constitution Combustion
by Liliana Vasques
Constitution Combustion is part of the intermedia series started with Objects, addressing domestic violence against women. Domestic violence is illegal in Portugal, yet there are no women’s helplines for this problem, and a shortage of women’s shelter places. For more info please check here.
by Charlotte Geater
strong in the teeth
made a mess of your hair again
at the end of every historical novel there should be a list of the people in service
to the heroine
at the end of every thriller should be written everybody who died
these are the new rules:
how old were they
even their middle names
— second chances
from the day they were born/baptised
your name is hard to say // i can’t make that
out / rolls the wrong part
lit the match before you were ready
hand cupped / no rain
leaves past the front door
weak from being inside all day
scarves indoors, for fun & play
swans aren’t girly because they bite — she called her favourite swan “mister”
as in, “mister, the bread was for the ducks.”
the geese came close and she put her hands in her pockets. one caught
in the scarf and had to pull itself back.
a mess. how come you always make such a fuss.
mister bit down on the water. there was someone
with her, even then
Love The Swan Not The Pixel
by Nana Sachini
I Saw Her Know (ii)
by Lila Matsumoto
Being in your body is like … a gently discombobulating dream, taken out of the air like a song subject to more or less instant improvisation by other singers who rewrite the tune when they get it. But you may say I exaggerate. You may say, it’s more like a dandelion’s downy seed stealthily floating, poker-faced, an angel’s right hook. Well, some days your motility seems to me a strange thing. I remind myself constantly that your ridges allow for increased leverage when picking up objects or walking barefoot.
Over time, a small cult came to form around her cascade of shrubberies: both by the weirdos already hip to her outlandish flower pits, and the ones whose horizons were being bagged with every slip of geranium. At the present moment, it’s hard to believe that we’ll ever be at a point in history when mountain floras were underrepresented, especially in the softer light of dungeons.
This is a project helmed by two friends who live in a cul-de-sac, produced by one of their dads who is probably best known for his work with the sprawl band Loose Liver. Their sound can be likened to high-definition hay: seemingly prosaic, but makes you look twice because it gives off a ridiculous amount of bloom! In fact, the best part may be the tacet section, when one of their friends (presumably) walks into the studio and says something about a ‘celery bandage’. But it seems tangential to focus on that particular detail.
by Jessica Borusky
by Sarah Crewe
big girl in the red dress/
she’s just trying/
to impress us
mishearing barley as body fever
in this colour:the woman is the bomb
the dress synecdoche
red roar red raw red raucous
but she doesn’t make a sound
to bleed out in silence
how to be period positive when
all the blood has gone
how to be period positive when
there was no blood
to begin with
down the court road early/
with the hustlers big and burly
if green is the colour of money
red is the colour of living
if green is the colour of decay
red pinpoints a pulse …. …. …. ….
there’s a million of ‘em selling/
and the buyers can be found
revelation 17 a scarlet coloured beast
whore of babylon simultaneously
draped concurrently in crimson
red light phonebox red light
district red light stop as
stop it stop it stop it
christ he told his mother/
christ he told her not to bother
the blue blooded mother of
the red blooded christ
the blue blooded mother of
the dead bloodied christ
the red hooded mother of
the risen christ, blooming
she’ll be alright in the city
cos she’s high above the ground
the high rise sink estate as sanctum
from the non red – the blue that would
many blood rich retinas
many retained low rent
high rush moments
postural hypertension euphoria/dysphoria
halved housing investment
she’s just hanging around (hanging around)
words-links: bomb, red from Louise Anne Buchler’s Bomb (i)
The link to the Stranglers song Hanging Around is a reference to the original A Thing Like You and Me by Hito Steyerl.
by Louise Anne Buchler
A long silence. The woman and the soldier fixated on each other. Both motionless but palpably tense. The moment is broken by the sound of a siren – an air raid siren – it is loud and shrill, the lights begin to flicker. The woman scrambles (with difficulty) caught in the confines of her voluminous dress and slipping on the rubbish bag mound she is surrounded by – eventually she manages to clamber to her feet and begins to look for the stilettos. The soldier is struggling with the sound of the siren – during this interlude he has dropped to his knees and is covering his ears with his hands as if the sound is causing him physical pain. The siren wail ends and the lights are no longer flickering, giving way instantly to the sound of Barry White – blaring as if through megaphones/loudspeakers from somewhere down the street – singing: ‘Can’t get enough of your love, Babe’. The woman who by this stage has put on one shoe stands agitated by the sound as the soldier listens, somewhat perplexed. She flings the shoe in the direction of the soldier’s entrance. He ducks, missing the projectile.
Shouting in the same direction
Oh for fucks sake. Give it a rest, will ya!
The music stops as suddenly as it started.
Glancing at the soldier and by means of explanation
No worries, mate. Biological clock. Goes off once a month. You get used to it.
Last January I thought I was done with the bleeder but it just keeps coming back. S’posed to be a ‘friendly reminder’ – could have just written it on a post it and stuck it on my door – but what with the decline in birth rates – drastic measures an’ all that. Know a woman across the road – two days before her 42nd birthday it went off and didn’t stop for three weeks. She eventually fucked her neighbor. He has arthritis and walks with a stick. Deaf as a door knob and hasn’t spoken since ’96 – but at least the noise stopped.
The soldier listens intently. She looks at him as if contemplating similar action. The Soldier gauging this recoils in something between disgust and fear.
Nah. No worries, mate. You’re not my type. I like ‘em scrawny.
Still wearing only one stiletto she walks awkwardly searching the ‘wreckage’ until she finds a pack of cigarettes – taking one out she surveys the ground for a lighter without luck.
Got a light?
The soldier pats down his pockets keeping her in his sight and finds one which he lobs over to her.
She lights a cigarette and takes a drag blowing her smoke in his general direction.
The soldier shakes his head.
The Woman shrugs
Just as well. Looks pretty common on a man doncha think? Not as so-FIST-ti-cated an’ such.
The Soldier remains silent. She squats, facing him. Takes another drag before putting it out.
What’s the matter, honey? Cat got ya tongue?
The soldier flinches. A beat.
Please don’t hurt me.
by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
by Sophie Mayer
Click here to read the poem: Likeness
by Erica Schreiner
Ereshkigal: Queen of the Underworld
by j/j hastain
I choke on her breath, literally gag, but it is the only way to alchemically trans myself for her: I open my chest to her, open the between for cross circuitry. Day in and day out this is how I keep my commitment.
This time I followed her hand, which was skeletal until it reached into me (which was when it humanized by it entering me). “So warm…” she said, while she rested it on my heart before my heart detached from my body seemingly by its own will, and filled her hand with its pump. She seemed depressed as she tarried. She had me follow her down to her chamber “…also warm—but not because I am human.” Her shoulders are slumped, liquid.
When I look around I see many hearts, alive and beating, connected to the fleshy cave-shaped walls. “All of them, yours.”
“Wait—these are all mine?” Like months’ worth of daily heart offers uneaten, there, beating into the wall fleshened by my relation with her. She has been keeping them alive down here. I get dizzy in the middle of all of the pulsing.
Without saying it overtly I understand her: “It’s more that you give your heat to me every day than it is that I need a new one of your hearts every day. And I don’t need to ravenously consume your heart every day. I don’t eat that much; what I eat lingers a long time before it’s worked out of me.
Think of my keening: all of it is really sourced to one wound.
My beating hearts surround us.
“Are they relics to you?” I ask. “Are they proof of successful conquest?”
“No. They are my friends and their music rocks my weary soul to sleep. They are also time devices to me. They keep me in a type of time I can relate to because it comes from the blood of your devotion. Thank you for wilfully displacing for me for all of these years. You bring me pleasure even if I am never not in pain.
I can see how every time she puts the black tourmaline heart into me and turns my Covenant on in me (impassioned cross-planar protector) I have her heart in me. We are trading. She has always given to me as I give to her.
Her heart comes from where the crystals do. It is hard–and holding it, being it heals the human form…
…or haunts it.
by Navine G. Khan-Dossos