part ii: our obsessions are obsessions, excerpt from Instruction Manual for Little Beasts

o is thinking about the relationships between people. o is thinking that this thinking is related to power and structures and systems. but as o tries to picture power and structures and systems o can't picture them. o wonders if anyone else has a hard time visualizing. o does. how should o draw economies. or labor forces. or families. like o said, o has the hardest time holding it all together. o thinks this has something to do with being inside of the power and structures and systems. not just any ones, but specific ones. o thinks, lots of people have explained lots of things, but how much do we really hold the whole picture. o thinks, o sure can't. o thinks that o is inside what o is trying to picture. like, o goes to the bank. o drives a car. o's skin allows o to forget about its color. o's body is mostly able to move about without being noticed as different. o drinks water from the tap. o goes to work. o is thinking about relationships between people and how to translate what o senses into understanding. or how to transmute the language o has for what is wrong into sensations that feel powerful. instead, o dreams of animals in the night. as for the systems o kind of thinks we aren't meant to imagine ourselves so large. or maybe o just doesn't have enough to hold on to. these days, o wants things to hold onto. o likes to leave work and ride around town and not tell anyone where o is going. o likes to look at o's reflection in motion. something soothing about being missing for a little while. something soothing about the ability to move forward on a machine but still be outside. o is thinking how these are not solitary sensations. when o is at work or talking in front of people o sweats. o sweats when o goes to the bank. o sweats when o gets lost riding around town, but it's a different kind. when o sweats o feels like being beautiful or handsome doesn't matter. o had this thought about how to change things. o thought o had written it down somewhere, but o couldn't find any documentation. o is thinking that there is something true about the feeling of being lost. as if true were true. o is thinking this inside-ness is like being beside a jet stream of one's own life. o is thinking about how choosing a job is both a necessity and often there is no choosing. o is thinking about how we all deserve meaningful work and how that is not the same as a job. also how bus drivers are taking in objects as they move through space and those objects might become the tunnels through which to transform language. or sensation. o has three jobs. only one of them includes physical contact with another human being. this one being a small one, who holds onto o until the mother comes home or the tiny human falls asleep. opaque work. is it meaningful that o collects news and crosses out entire passages in search of what to name from underneath. o is thinking about the relationships between people and o is having the hardest time picturing anything but everybody running in one place and sweating.






a hand touches some piece of o.

o clamps around it,

not because there is feeling anywhere,

or because of desire.

simply, o clamps around it.






exactly is a word o stole from the person who walked behind o and then o felt this sudden and insistent urge to push him down onto the concrete and o suppressed it. what this all says about o's state of agitation and o's gender. this is the point at which internally a tiny matchbox or let's make it a chestful is spilling out. this is the point where the shape no longer serves. how seeing one of them again made o put o's hands on our chest. o skinned o's knee on the way here and o could claim that was the source of the rattling but o is in a practice of getting off o's own distractions. how immediately is unsustainable and o can't lay palms unceremoniously. o watches the internet and refuses to read a thing. at the night ending o might say no and o might say no again and still the night would keep ending. exactly, says o.






o is on the internet again. this time, there is a place o should be. that is, if location exists in the virtual. o is not very good at the internet, you might say. but o listens in on a conversation of people o admires. all of them represent themselves through their work. o perceives it to be meaningful. one of the people who talks to other people in real time on o's screen says a good read of our cultural and political conditions is that we are all traumatized. everyone laughs virtually. o doesn't laugh, but o has the mute button on. o is thinking, does a not-laugh make a sound? that same person says, learning to recognize trauma builds the skills to bring healing into our practices and organizations. the organizations are the ones dealing with the big structures. the ones that slip. much like the internet, o thinks. if we ignore trauma, the person on o's screen says, it is as if we are studying the systems while we are all hungry. everyone laughs. o has the mute button on. later, looking over o's notes, o reads what o has written. o reads, this is what trauma does: creates secrecy.






a hand clamps around o.

o begins to sweat.

o says, take it luxuriously. 

o says, leave it alone.

Copyright © 2015 by Tessa Micaela. Used with permission of the author.