CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Temporal Relocation
Sarah Wang



Both sexes in the same body. It’s a dream.

My seat is, deservedly, next to a toilet.

Can’t believe that guy thought he was going to cut all my clothes off.

The desire to sink into a soft, clear gel.

The air freshener my grandmother had in her bathroom when I was a child. Pink jelly impaled on a plastic cone.

Six hours next to the toilet.

Still wearing this stupid engagement ring.

How am I supposed to eat anything while sitting next to the toilet?

No plot, only character development.

Yesterday went with C to case a sample sale. Today we’re going back to steal. What if I get caught and put in French jail? I’ve already been in American jail. Then I can compare the two.

Found a bedbug today. It appeared on the white sheets like a fallen mole.

A blind man in the metro. A man with his potbelly exposed in the market pulling an oxygen tank behind him. It’s snowing outside.

J bought green-tea-scented toilet paper.

Stole two dresses and a pair of cashmere tap pants. On my way back to J’s now. Maybe we’ll go see a movie.

Figs with coconut yogurt this morning. If only Americans had half the yogurt selection the French do.

The most annoying person on earth.

Listening to techno in my biodiesel.

In the theater. Going to take my shoes off when the movie starts. Anonymous malodor.

Every year he says he has something for me on my birthday, then “forgets.” Next year I’ll give him a really bad birthday present on purpose, like a used Jim Carrey DVD or a red and gold Chinese plate with dragons on it that you’re supposed to hang on the wall like a painting.

Drinking hot chocolate, reading a book that I slipped beneath my boiled wool coat when the shopkeeper wasn’t looking. When Things of the Spirit Come First. It was on the shelf outside, sitting on the 1€ rack next to an Edmund White book I read when I was a teenager, a book that swelled me with tenderness. It’s the feeling I hold on to after all these years, the contents long forgotten.

It’s hard to hate him like I did when he was around. But I have to remember. His too-small running shorts. Muffin-topping all over the Westside in his Subaru hatchback.

Always the same auditory hallucination when I’m tripping, stoned. She’s so lame.

So embarrassing. Last night I made all this horrible polenta for the Italians.

I feel humiliated every time I have to clean the house, wash the bathroom floors, the toilet.

The extreme enjoyment of humiliation.

There is no reason to think that more gigaflops will inoculate us.

A wreath made of fried chicken with mashed potatoes plopped on top, like snow.

My cheap father. He potty trained me at six months to save money on diapers. He, the root of all my scatological traumas.

The usurper of a masculine prerogative.

All my life I could do anything except for the only thing I really wanted.

Saw the magician in the elevator.

I hope Axle doesn’t call me.

J tells me that there are a lot of prostitutes on St. Denis. And good restaurants. Get stuffed on St. Denis!

My boyfriend at fifteen, who began tattooing LOVE and HATE on his knuckles, but after he finished the first word, for some reason he didn’t get around to finishing the second. His knuckles read LOVE HA.

I believe that his unconscious did this.

Sucked a dick on Wednesday that had a small banner of flesh waving from its staff. What type of STD is that?

Sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the corner of J’s studio. My dog bed. J hates it when I say that.

After I admitted to my analyst that I thought he was kind of second-rate, he immediately became very verbal and engaged for the rest of the session, as if to prove me wrong.

When I was waiting for my tire to get fixed, I went into a jeweler’s to get my ring appraised. The guy brought out a paper cup filled with water and some soap because I couldn’t get the ring off my finger. I kept dipping my soapy finger in the cup trying slip the ring off, the water turning gray. When I walked out, I saw the guy lift the paper cup to his lips and sip from it, the same gray soap water I’d used to lubricate my finger.

The boy at camp hypnotizes him. The boy told him he’d remember nothing. But he was wrong. He remembered everything.

Everyone is an accomplice.

He would like us to congratulate him on being born.

Rot is just on the other side of ripeness.

Fell asleep during a conference call last night.

Looking at oneself: confusion.

The parapraxis by which we daily betray ourselves.

When I was five, I shat in the litter box to see what it would feel like. S cleaned the cat shit and scooped mine out. Oh this one’s so big. What’s happened to the cat? she asked. I didn’t say anything. I was very proud.

After my mother accidentally stepped on the plastic scooper and broke it, we cleaned the litter box with chopsticks, like plucking a piece of beef. Sometimes the segments of shit were connected by one of my long hairs that had been ingested and expelled by the cat, each section dangling from the one above, wind chimes spinning slowly.

It occurs to me that the abuse I suffered in childhood might have had something to do with my mother’s menopause.

During menopause, the vagina will atrophy, becoming inflamed, dry, cracked.

A person’s death can liberate you from his oppression.

Seeing an ugly photo of myself, I have a revulsive bodily reaction, like smelling rotten milk.

In an old journal: Had sex with EO in a car and lied to AF about it.

Who are EO and AF?

One-hundred-thread-count sheets on this bed. Worse. What’s the lowest thread count?

Dinner with C and J at a restaurant they think is really good but it sucks.

To awaken into reality is to escape from the Real encountered in the dream (reality itself is for those who cannot endure their dreams).

While walking through the Elles show, I do not want to be a woman any more or to have a body.

All this art is nothing compared to the tarte aux framboises I am going to eat on the way home.

She reads lots of books but she doesn’t understand what any of them mean.

She is rich and pampered, which is offensive in itself.

When I was nine I asked Bill Cosby to sign my shirt. No, he said. Then people are going to start bringing me all kinds of things.

After a few weeks of walking on it, the Afghan rug I bought stretched out at the bottom like an A-line skirt.

I’ve been lambasted in a book, though not by name.

J tells me he wants to sue his old dentist. Every time he went for a checkup, the dentist said he had six cavities. J spent $25,000 on his teeth last year. When he switched dentists, the new dentist was baffled by the number of fillings in his mouth. Who did this to you? he asked.

At his mother’s birthday, she drinks vodka out of a pint glass and flashes old men on the dance floor. A pilled, grayed Playtex.

I mean it wasn’t like a man could do it.

How many times do you wipe before giving up?

Surfing in Munich.

Why is the tarot suddenly appearing in my life, pushing me around?

If I make it to the café by five a.m. tomorrow Jodorowsky will read my cards.

There is no way I’m going to make it to the café by five a.m.

Datura (crazy root hallucinogenic).

My clothes, makeup, and hair all castrate me by distinguishing a gap between who I am and the persona I implement.

HD makes everything look like porn.

The Disney Channel is especially disturbing.

Switzerland, the most xenophobic country I’ve visited.

When he sees a book in my pocket he asks what it is so I pull it out and show him. All the pages are falling out. Every time I read a page it detaches itself from the spine. He says that the word for page (paper?) in French is leaf. Just then the metro rushes towards us and blows my hair up around my face.

Edentulous: toothless.

If she’s really such a staunch Marxist, then why does she wear three-hundred-dollar huaraches?

He pulls six meters of metal chain out of his butt, which he proceeds to swing around like a jump rope, flinging little dewdrops of lube onto my cheek.

At the party, Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” is playing. The song is really about him and how he is the chosen one, but he can’t identify with that role. It’s not him, he’s not the one. It’s also a refusal of the father. He is the child, the father, the One.

Tonight I went to a bar inside a cave. I pressed my back up against the curved rocky walls, cradling a nuisance of clothes: sweater, coat, gloves, and scarf.

I feel like I am stuck with my analyst because he’s cheap.

In remembering this scene I always forget.

In Russia, his dentist’s drill was operated by a foot pump. The dentist pumped rhythmically with one foot while working on his mouth. When he got to America, a dentist made the whole office come in to look at the dental work in his mouth. They’d never seen anything like it.

You have an unfortunate name.

Temporal relocation. The dislocation of power.

C tells me people like cheese because it smells like our bodies.

I wish I could write a screenplay.

Undifferentiated, anonymous desire.

She kills herself over something that doesn’t seem to matter.

When I was a kid I lined up little rocks on the train tracks, hoping to derail the trains.

Inside I want to say, Please forgive me, I don’t mean it. But out loud I say Fuck you and I leave.

Truth in one’s own annihilation. Moments of potentiality.

Humans have to realize they’re not individuals but individual parts of the same organism with responsibility to each other.

M’s face smells like citrus, as if she’d rolled a tangerine all over it before leaving the house.

This winter I’m going to wear hats, even though they all look terrible on me. I guess it’s already winter.

Everyone has a psychic.

I know she talks to her psychic about me. What do they say?

Eating macerated strawberries with milk and sugar perched atop a stool at my grandmother’s assisted-living apartment.

There are days I walk around listening to Joan Armatrading on my MP3 player, wishing I could get plastic surgery.

Pandrogeny.

Do you have any children? I ask. No. Yes, she corrects herself. I sponsor a Burmese orphan.

A dream last night about trying to nurse a baby, but my mammary duct was blocked. I pulled out a flat bouquet of algae, the culprit.

To know what she is, is to know what I will be.

Salonpas. That childhood smell.

There’s more than one woman in me, she remarked.

It’s not that I feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body, it’s that I feel like I’m impersonating a woman as something that’s not gendered, maybe a nonhuman or an inanimate object.

Someone writes machinima, misanthropy, and macrobiotic down as words to play in Pictionary.

That asshole is me.

The red, fleshy face of a wound.

The time in Copenhagen walking on the street at night, seeing a party on the fifth floor of a building, wandering in, being passed a joint, trying to integrate, bouncing softly to the music, not speaking in hopes they wouldn’t discover the truth of me.

I fantasize about dangling my legs off the subway platform and have the train cut them off at the knee.

I wish I could wear lipstick. It always looks so garish on me.

Last night we talked about which characters we identify with on TV shows. I said Rayanne from My So-Called Life and also Nadine from Twin Peaks. You’re so predictable, M said. Maybe I should have said those two guys from Bosom Buddies.

Will people accept me when they find out I’ve been wearing a wig all these years?

She tricked me into going to lunch with her on her birthday so I would pay for it.

Morning eyelids like beef carpaccio.

You know what the inside of your mouth feels like when you’ve eaten too much candy? That’s how my crotch feels from using J’s green-tea toilet paper.

Real life is better than fiction.

Making noise to cover the silence.

C caught me smelling my used tampon in her bathroom.

The bar in Alaska where you can drink a shot with a frozen human toe in it. The point is to touch the toe to your lip when tipping the glass.

They prescribe her antidepressants, but she doesn’t want to be liberated from her emotions. She only wants to have their importance confirmed.

I remember finding my mother’s dildo beneath her bed when I was a child. It was cream-colored, medical-looking. She yelled, Don’t touch that, it’s dirty!

A man peeing and using the ATM at the same time with precision and skill, one hand guiding a stream of pee in a perfect arc, the other deftly punching numbers on the screen in the middle of a snowstorm.

Last night a beautiful woman laughed at me when I stuck out my hand to shake hers.

Listening to the magician’s boyfriend’s iTunes on a shared network. It’s mostly Roxy Music.

When I tell J I haven’t washed my hair in a week, he leans over in the driver’s seat and smells my head. Oeuf, he winces, swerving into a parked car.

Biting down on foil with mercury fillings.

People who have mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi.

M threw a party last night. I made chili. We had to go to four markets to find the right kind of cheese. Apparently chili is an exotic dish for Parisians. Watching everyone devour it, wide-eyed and rapturous, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Today I sold the ring at a pawnshop and bought tickets to Istanbul, Tangier, Delhi.

What changing your name allows you to do.

Asthmatic women, calling me in the middle of the night.

The most exciting thing that happened to me today, M sighed, was popping a zit inside my vagina. I want to do that, I said jealously.

Today is six months. He doesn’t even care.

When my mother came to America from Taiwan, she chose the name Connie for herself, after the singer Connie Francis.

“Freddy” was released as Francis’ first single, which turned out to be a commercial failure, just as her following eight solo singles were.

Who’s sorry now?

Leonine, resembling a lion.

The sky and the lake were anagrams for one another.

I mean to be this way.

Once when I was squeezing solution into my contact case at night, there was some resistance. I squeezed harder. An ant popped out, its dead body floating around where my contact would be. It reminded me of that scene in Un Chien Andalou, an eyeball in the palm of a hand, ants marching out.

I’m always running away but I never go anywhere.

Tonight I’m going to kiss him.






Sarah Wang’s writing has appeared in The Last Newspaper at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, semiotext(e)’s Animal Shelter, Black Clock, Opium Magazine, Night Gallery’s Night Papers, and The Jackson Hole Review, among other publications. She is currently finishing a novel about immigration and exile in Los Angeles.