Like Visitors with Two Cups



Hannah Ross

Oli Surel


I said:

When you’ll all be cyborgs

I’ll be there


Eating chicken liver

Watching you.


It’s a good thing September and

Remember rhyme, lucky for them.

Me and my altered states took a walk

Through the water to see the shimmer trees

And they glistened like always, like history.


     Black-eyed homesteads turn into illuminated sunken cruise boats.

     I hear a thumping noise on a huge barn door which at that moment can be none other than the frantic pounding of a ponyboy, kept there in its pre-linguistic entanglements, its pacts with obscurity, its mongrel morse.

     My genealogy is made of dreams, and he’s a distant relative.

     So farewell, ponyboy. Farewell, black burning dog. Cattle grinnin’ and a hummin’ in the mud: farewell.

It must be spring because our chairs are in the street and our pinkened flesh clinks against each other like ice cubes in the glass. We stopped talking about the taste of fruits from each other’s fridge and found there was nothing left to say, just this sense of becoming from the trees that never change and the buds that had pressed too early. And all the texts that make you wonder if it’s worth it. 

Skin peeling on the asphalt. It’s her ass’ fault. Shedding her eighth pair of sweat pants to lay on my driveway, pour the oat milk, pick the fit.

Don’t be sorry she repeats.

Don’t be,


Eyes rolling back behind the curtain of smoke. High as it ever was. 

“I’ve never lived like this before.” 

“How so?” 

“Well, I’ve never been a participant.”


People launch themselves into parties on the Meyerholdian 3rd axis (playful and disciplined).

I am high when the sky cracks and the fires stop. Asleep to the Seinfeld pulsing on TV and the almond milk crusting under the Lucky Charms. The mountains burst from their insides. Strikes of lighting you can see reflecting in earth-slick Flicker Ave. pavement from the kitchen window. I am alone and it could all catch fire but you can’t hide from sound or sky. I clutch my knees and count explosions, flaming mountain tops, tree snaps. Hannah’s last will and testament: please send my ash(es) to PG&E, Amy can have my weed. It starts to pour at four. At some point in my draught-struck adolescence, I lost my umbrella. On the deck, the drops leave ashy grey prints on my t-shirt. I ask the trees if it’s over and they shake with another rumble. At six my manager sends out the schedule.



Train back to Paris.

Rue des Vertus, the well-named: I jump up the steep stairs but my friend is not there and I, broken-hearted, utter a disappointed: “Hey there”.

The one I find is Korean and discreet and serves me rolled-up ham and neatly peppered cucumbers without a word.

I put on her ski glasses while I watch her fumble through the shelves.

As a trophy, I take home pages written by the well-named Dyonis, whom I for long reviled, tottering through the umpteenth reports of one’s experiences of love — galvanized.

     There’s a tipping point before the bust and after the boom where I was born and where they bury the plastic spoons that didn’t get used on peach cobbler during the lunch rush. 

     The chipmunk tries to warn me about the homeowner’s association. Says first they came for the hamburgers and he said nothing, now they come for the poets. Can a gated community be considered nature? A tote bag in the sand? I am caked in orange, that is, unqualified to answer any question beyond “what kind of cheese is on that?”.

     A reporter comes to ask us about the fires. She wants to know about work like it’s a choice. Like if we said no to serving the patio in 500 AQI we would still be given our four shifts, or the good section, or even considered for the weekend. There are four sat tables, all 70-year-olds, basking in the ashy present of their history. We wear N95s.


What is hitting me today if not a conscience of the theatrum mundi, a sense of our place in it and of the waves of the world we struggle to define if not through the shortcut of “generations”? F. says “last night I bumped into you and it looked like you were done being helpful”. I said tell me about it, I felt demonic, I needed palliatives to make headway… Into what? The thick fog with majestic defunct radio antenna through which I heard my dumb animal voice echo, like the crows, like the machine guns in the training camp down there in the valley near Sissonne.

(S.’s own voice in the gassy depths of Pune was choppy, he says he misses chèvre on baguette.)

Dear intentional community, I

In May I am a vortex of self-loathing.

Mango sticky icky

Fingers in the sand and crevices

I put myself on the rock and grid 

Beg for perception.

God, can you see me now?

I came out to the shade for you.

I shed everything.


I took off my clothes for Instagram,

Does that count?


In the late afternoon I watch Hardcore. At night I eat semifreddo.

Proust in Swann’s Way mentions “the raised finger of the dawn” and you can imagine what finger it actually is for me these days.

Days that feel like the backseat after a talent show and a song by Grouplove from 2013. Taunting booms, unilluminated crosswalks, my brights on in the driveway. I spend all day making squares out of bread crumbs and paprika, flour in the nose hairs and caking the Jewish day school uniform: Larry David tee Molly gifted me as a loving little “microaggression” and a baseball hat from my best friend’s temple. The hat has a rusty button that reads “Show Mom” from something I don’t remember attending—pinned forever with the onion sting and freshman egginess. In that, once I was a chicken and somehow became egg again. It really was the chicken first, then hatch. 

Another bird of prey ate a wood pigeon in the yard today. I remember the piece of Mississippian lore I consulted in May 2020, the first time I saw the exact same scene unfolding, a few meters from these two. It was all about taking distance, seeing things from above with a sharp eye or whatever.

Other than that:

If I showed up at the party munching on butterflies you

If, If

If only

(something something boyish insistence)

The old-man-at-the-hellsite said he paid a lot for his interiority

Funny old man (funny goatie)

Funny how?

This is how:

Jitterbugs all the way to Singapore

Has a meltdown (crashes)

This is Howard delivering

This is no one in particular

Forget about it

I meant


I mean it tastes like bugs she said

Caught me by the collar

Don’t neck-shame yourself she said

(long time ago)


Tasty little things that peasant

It’s cinammon rolls all the way down (today)

You spit in my eye and it felt like summer,

Smelled the dearth and earthiness

A perfectly slurry of dirtiness

The sun on my shoulders, your spit in my eye.

You said, “you can go ahead and split the bill in half with the two cards I’ve just handed you,” 

And I felt the ache of trees in heat,

The snap of sunshine, 

A dog watching me from the deck as my bike slaps the garbled pavement. 

I say, “It’s a good thing you said something 

because my brain is so small,” this time of year.


Votre acolyte des jours derniers

Au secret d’un âge silencieux

Qui vous en dit d’autres

Quatre à quatre

Ne sauriez-vous l’assigner là

Justice soit faite, vous ne sauriez

L’asiler au corps qui vous sied

Et dans l’adoubement, la fuite

Dans les heurts et l’humeur écrite

Il vous fantasme là, dissous

Votre acolyte des jours derniers

Dans l’attroupement délié des heures

Qui vous en dit d’autres

Quatre à quatre

Ne saurait-il, lisse de grades

S’amender de trop d’insistance

De sylphes blanches et d’écorchages

Et dans l’adoubement, la fuite

Dans les heurts et l’humeur écrite

Ne voir en vous qu’un seul visage



Your henchman of the last days

In the secrecy of a silent age

Tells you more

Four to four

Wouldn’t you anchor him there

Justice be done, you wouldn’t know

How to dress him in the body that suits you

And in idolization, escape routes

In the clashes and written mood

He fantasizes you there, dissolved

Your henchman of the last days

In the unbound gathering of hours

Tells you more

Four to four

Wouldn’t he know, smoothed from the ranks 

To make amends for too much insistence

Of white sylphs and skinnings

And in idolization, escape routes

In the clashes and written mood

See only one face in you

That button-down makes me have a gender crisis,

At least it’s light out.

Someone at Pete’s just told me to have “the best night of my life”,

So I killed myself

On the pool table, we were playing boys’ rules so that’s actually how you’re supposed to do it.

This is human suffering vibes.

I don’t want to be high I want to be raw

Like oysters Rockefeller 

Like vodka sauce on the crisis shirt

Like extra dirty like filthy like cum cloudy like I don’t want to see the pit at the bottom like don’t let me see the bottom, got it?

“I live on my parent’s property. 

In their house specifically.”

Whatever goats your float my guy.

This is the one that looks like the other one. 

That’s a good sentence: the one that is the other that looks like this. 

That resembles the other. Shut up anyway.

Cette chemise à col américain me donne une crise de genre,

il fait beau dehors et c’est déjà ça.

Quelqu’un chez Pete’s vient de me dire de passer “la meilleure soirée de ma vie”

Donc je me suis flinguée

Sur la table de billard, on jouait d’après les règles des mecs donc c’est la bonne façon de jouer.

C’est la vibe de la souffrance humaine

Je veux pas être défoncée je veux être crue

Comme des huîtres Rockefeller

Comme de la sauce vodka sur cette foutue chemise

Comme super sale comme dégueulasse comme un nébuleux de foutre comme je veux pas voir le fond du trou comme ne me laissez pas voir le fond du trou, ça y est, vous l’avez ?

“Je vis sur la propriété de mes parents,

dans leur maison en particulier.”

Whatever goats your float mon frère.

C’est celui qui ressemble à l’autre.

Voilà une bonne phrase : celui qui est comme l’autre qui ressemble à ça.

Qui ressemble à l’autre. Allez c’est bon ferme-la.

Same as it ever was

All the same (I say)

Fluke no fake it till

Again I say



Here’s more:

Cold hands against a wing against a

Patchy wing

For thrills (I said cheap)


“Oh don’t fly”

That’s it, you did it

Gazing at the


A mutilation 

Of my becoming etc., etc.

My purple gaze

My Fairhaven (a place)

We part



Happy to leave you here

Never till I

Forever never doer

Say no more

(Faith) in you in me

In all in all in all

That ever was

I am trying to be a rock even though 

I am 7-up can. 

I’m trying to 

tell you it’s windy. 

And I can’t resist it, may lift off with it. 

Let it hurl me out of the basin

Tin skin denting in the sun.


“I was a dog once.

It was such a beautiful afternoon.”


Like Visitors With Two Cups began as a poetic and journal exchange between Hannah Ross and Oli Surel. Disregarding chronology, they read and edited each other’s texts, revealing unattended voices in the process. As PROFORMA Press, they published the resulting artists’ book as a risograph run of 100 copies during the Summer University at the Performing Arts Forum (France) in August 2023.