I try to preempt, to script out an order to the day, to set things into gear but still I end up with a belly full of diet coke and gummy vitamins, alone, and several conversations in my head with the hauntings of people to whom I do not in this instance feel comfortable reaching out to. I will never speak to them the way I speak to myself, which is constantly and clearly.
The objects around me have slowly come into an inertia beyond their original gravity--to lift them, move them, feels like a betrayal. The coffee maker on the living room floor must remain there. I do not make or drink coffee. Things of use put out of use assume a decorative, ornamental quality in a way I wish to honor in ways I never would when put to use. But then someone steps inside which so rarely occurs these days and I feel wildly ashamed at the displacements abound. The clorox bottle in my bed, the side I don't sleep on, also filled with books, pens, notebooks, sometimes a shirt or two. I have a lover who, whenever staying over, plays a game of blindly sifting through the sheets to try to identify what is hiding there. There are some things that always return. There are some things that refuse to move.
Some movements and interactions reveal the troublesome quality of the out of place inanimate. I trip over things. But, too, there’s a coy + cruisey aura that can emerge. Like the dragged out entrails of an encounter or moment, strewn and drying for preservation in the slats of light as it remains all laid out on my floor. Sometimes I prefer a dried bouquet--in its enduringness and woody coloration--to an alive one, which alights but that I can so easily fail, in my apprehensions and forgetfulness. Bodystained sheet half-fallen off the bed I no longer sleep in, that I will not re-adjust. Dried blood on metal spikes threatening on the rug. These contain the traces of narrative, of interaction and desire that cannot be contained or replicated itself. In the traces’ descent into a more permanent form, they dull + harden. This may provoke disgust in others--crusty, congealed, abject.
(This isn’t about metaphors; this is about objects.)
Sometimes remembering a thing too much is the same as forgetting it. Neutralize the situation, remove the stinger. I do not even need to acknowledge the key inconveniently jutting out of the door to have my body avoid it scratching my hip, anymore. I could remove it or I could learn how to differently move my body. When faced with this choice, I intuitively chose the latter.
Then, too, I realize that I am an object to navigate.
In this, I am hesitant & ultimately averse to imposing orders or order on another. The paradox of a certain militancy about how I feel and believe in relating and interacting that centers itself on non-imposition, which orbits around what I hope to be compassionate address of the agency of others and things. I do not want to give out a checklist of things to do nor receive tasks done out of obligation. The over-regimentation of life already strongholds the daily--with Slack lists, clock in / clock outs, timesheets, boss’ vigilantism, monthly bills/rents/debts, step-by-step guides for construction and breakdown of furniture and temporary digital spaces, proposals and syllabi, due dates and deadlines, launch dates, advance notice, the semesterly or quarterly or seasonal, etc. Instead, a surge of life through desire and improvisation, not attempts to wrangle function and use. What is the worthwhileness of function without ecstasy?
Enter the space of vapidity, there are spaces to enter just to be seen. This is not so bad a place to be, when it comes down to being about objects in relation to each other rather than egotistical allure. Linger in my breathy voice--spaces that drop me down deeper into my throat. By the bar, particular recline and torsion. Sometimes I meet a person who piques my interest and propels me into the next moment, in wanting of it, let me smile and let’s lead together somewhere, oxen sharing a mutual yoke and no driver. Sometimes it is the desire for interest piqued because of circumstance not interlocutor. The totally momentary intimacy between those who happen into the same emptying space toward the end of the night. Bonded not by ourselves as discrete individuals but the ambient environment that saturates, seeps into us, troubles our separated self and sets us into being part of what surrounds, we who are not outside and around but of. These instances are included in what I mean when I say ‘together’ and when I insist that it is always more than two.
This kind of interacting is not--or at least I hope is not--dehumanizing because of the lack of specificity. So much of the bumping into that structures my days, that structures the social life especially but not exclusively, of cities is full and sweet. The exceptional lives differently, or matters differently. My greatest temporary allies and loves occurred most frequently amidst transit delays or clearing out a space or rainy days.
Sitting, watching, from paralleled or high above places.
Not all interaction can penetrate my facade. Jagged edges of shy and confident. Historically, for the most part, the best I can say is that I have been variously approached as a seated thing, a breathing object within a dynamic space.
Rebecca Teich is a writer, editor, and teacher based in New York. A co-curator of the Fall 2018 and 2019 Segue Reading Series, Artists Space teaching-poet-in-residence 2019-2021, and co-founder of The Anchoress Syndicate, a queer poetry and performance collective, Teich's work has been featured in No, Dear Magazine, poets.org, Nightboat Resonances, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Baest Journal, and elsewhere. Teich’s first chapbook, Caffeine Chronicles (2021), was published by Portable Press @ YoYo Labs.