Rachel Ellison




We’ll begin now. We can figure out how to make it all awkward. We’ve got everything we need right here so don’t try to put it off by making this into a lunch date in the coming week, a note on your smartphone. The goal of our game is to move in directions that feel uncertain. Our game isn’t a game. I’ll make the first move, you’ll see that it’s okay. I’ve never tasted mangosteen. We will say the inarticulable with the utmost clarity.





Serve a Meal on Your Chest


This guy with a white beard and a funny accent says,

“Hey dummy! You have no determinant identity

so stop trying to come to a conclusion.

You’re a table if you let yourself be that”.


If you’re lonely, remember

you are the loveable

crash burn luminescent light taking flight.

Similar to how disease spreads:

Some cells have minimal distinction of what’s inside or outside.


It’s confusing because

I swear I like when I’m in pain

as long as I’m in a place to be intense with you.

Fear is in part

when nonverbal moment is text,

or when text is song.


If I can’t take it, if that’s what I say, just force me.

No, I’m joking; I thought that would be a turn on for you—

You know, something like:

“No means no means okay maybe, yes please!”

Shame be told: that’s a lie.


I cherish your humanness enough

to feign complicity to a certain degree.

In sound and silence I can see,

see the theatricality of your quotidian body;


And some truth that tells me

performing your insides is language.





For the love of Venn-diagrams


Funny how when you look up “primal” in the thesaurus its synonyms include “primitive”, “pristine” and “radical”. Primitive like no Internet. Pristine like the New World. Radical like Evangelical Christians.


I make a list of things that fall under each category so that I might find the ways that they cross-pollinate, collapsing into dance. It gets me to thinking of a graffiti wall I saw outside of Indianapolis. It says “WE HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN OUR DIFFERENCES”:


Primitive— outhouses, hairy chests, amoeba and indigenous peoples

Pristine—a baby’s bottom, a blank canvas, The National Parks, the Gulf before BP, a newly ironed shirt, the family dining room table.

Radical—tattoos, Charlie Sheen, raw Vegans, conservatives, liberals, capitalism, communism, fascism, Anthony Bordain, Love.


Primitive like a baby’s bottom. Pristine like capitalism. Radical like hairy chests. Yes.





Expiration Date


I find myself saying,

“Why is it that you are the one singing excess


I am the one waking up so wet?”


It’s the same story on a different day.

Usually you’ll watch me bare-ass and digging

into my underwear drawer,

hands first;

blind in dim light


til the moment never came.

came. came.

and the next thing you know,


condoms, too, expire

one of these days.

Everyone is so disappointing.


I’m always coming. I’m coming. Yes, coming!

Don’t worry, don’t wait for me.

(I’m not sorry I didn’t call)
Start your dinner. i’ll be there. I’ll come soon.





Excerpted from JIMMYBROOKS’ performance, DADDY’S CAVE:


Toothaches, solitude and repetition.

You might be thinking, “it’s so tough to be a mid-western white chick”


You’ll wonder who decides what is deserved and what is not. Not in a theoretical sense.

Like, “really and truly, literally, who does the decision making around here?”

Goddess, nail biter, impatient sous chef: pencil roll yourself to freedom.

My care makes me do funny things.

I don’t have a penis, which makes me do funny things.

Bros always make me feel not myself, like they know something I don’t

which is how to identify the bros.

If our lives never met time would bros even exist?


Nelson Mandela died last night. It was 1 am somewhere.

Nelson Mandela no longer has even the capability to call me on the phone.

Colin Powell says that all people need to hold hands and move forward; he says it makes no matter what the color of one’s skin but the content of their character. Not whether they have a red bulb for a nose, nor a button, meaty thighs or girl-tits. If you don’t read the fine print, though, you’re fucked. There may come a day when your arms are falling off and no one gave you the code to get back in. They changed the locks. One day you’re here and the next, you’re a pile on the floor while everything else seems to be vertical. Architects are cotton candy eating cloud dwelling nostalgic masterbaters.

You are a dismantled coordinate.


Questions to ask Ouija:

Am I going to fuck this month?

Am I going to fuck someone I want to fuck this month?

What do you think of my heart chakra?

Our most important function in society is still our relationship to men.

what kind of hater are you?



Rachel Ellison is an artist and writer based in Chicago. Her projects explore normative notions of desire, consumption and rituals of everyday life and highlight the awkwardness and tension that ensue in the struggle to exist within social norms while still offering an authentic emotional response.

Current independent projects include Tru Touch: Spa of guided conversation and hosting the radio program We’re All Dying Radio Hour: A Show About Care on Chicago’s WHPK 88.5FM (the pride of the South Side). She works independently and also collaborates with Cassandra Troyan and others as JIMMYBROOKS, and they are currently in residency at Flying Object in Hadley, MA. You can find her at @YesJewess.