3-Minute Book Review: Katharine Coldiron on T Fleischmann

Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through / T Fleischmann / June 4, 2019 / Coffee House Press / $16.95 / 168 pp / Paperback / 9781566895477

Reviewed by Katharine Coldiron


What book is this book’s frenemy?

Sissy by Jacob Tobia. Similarly tied up with nonbinary gender identity, but that book is light, youthful, and traditionally narrated. Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through has none of these qualities. The weight of time lies heavily on Fleischmann, the weight of years negotiating themself and watching friends and lovers leave. At a party, Sissy and Time Is the Thing would hug and air-kiss and then watch each other beadily for hours.


Time Is the Thing would temporarily unite with Sketchtasy by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to gossip about Sissy, but Sketchtasy wouldn’t hesitate to gossip about Time Is the Thing with Sissy in return. (Sketchtasy has loyalty to no one but herself.)


What is this book’s theme song?

Monkey & Bear” by Joanna Newsom. Deep artistry and profound metaphor, seemingly playful but actually tragic, full of irreconcilable conflict. Grandiloquence that pays off in the artist’s genuine capability to create. You can call these works pretentious if you want, but it’s not really correct, because they have the chops.


Is this book papyrus, typewriter, desktop computer, or iPad?

iPad, in its changeability, its shift from paragraph to verse and back again, its liquid crystal display of language.



“I was writing instead to see where my excess of desire would go, when a simple thing like falling asleep with my arm across a guy I loved meant I would buzz with anticipation of falling asleep all day. I tried to write in such a way that there would be room for that buzzing along my words, even if I did not always find room for it in my life.”


“The people I love and I alive—yes, we weaken the state. But also every time after I have felt pleasure and played pool with a bunch of transsexuals and smoked weed and then eaten a taco and gone home, when my body is at its best, then I need to set myself to contributing to the coalition, which is already underway, which has kept me alive, the work of liberation being one of the ceaseless things.”


“There are all these mysteries to a body. Why, or how. This sense that I’m an experiment, that I am coming together. That I need someone else to tell me about me. Within the parameters of myself, it has always been what is unknown, actually, that most bleeds into my other dimensions. That is present.”



Katharine Coldiron’s work has appeared in Ms., the Washington Post, Bitch, the Collagist, and many other places. Find her at kcoldiron.com or on Twitter @ferrifrigida.

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