My New Neighbors by Christoph Keller

My New Neighbors

Jack doesn’t live in his house anymore. John, who now lives there, told me that. It’s a corporate decision, he said. John barely knows me but insists on being friends. He brings an expensive bottle of wine and hugs me. This is too fast for me. More of my neighbors are replaced with new neighbors. They also want to be friends with me, bring expensive wine and hug me. I don’t know my way around my neighborhood anymore. My new neighbors tell me not to worry. Then I’m replaced. I’m mad at myself that I didn’t see this coming. I don’t like my new neighborhood. I didn’t even know it existed. I feel the need to make new friends. I take a bottle of my expensive wine, knock on my neighbor’s door and hug him. I go from door to door, with my expensive bottles of wine. It’s a corporate decision.

Christoph Keller (1963) born in Switzerland, dividing his time between New York and St. Gallen, Switzerland, and writing in German and English, is the author of numerous prize-winning novels, plays and essays in German, including Gulp (1988); I’d Like My Country Flat (Ich hätte das Land gern flach, 1996); and the best-selling memoir The Best Dancer (Der Beste Tänzer, 2003) about his life with the progressive neuromuscular disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (type III). His work as a playwright has also been acclaimed, with productions staged in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Keller’s photography has been shown in New York (at art101 Gallery), and elsewhere. In addition, he collaborated with Swiss writer Heinrich Kuhn. As Keller+Kuhn, they published three novels as well as the collection of very short stories, Everything Else Will Take Care of Itself (Alles Übrige ergibt sich von selbst, 2015). Both Das Steinauge (The Stone Eye), a novel written in German, and A Worrisome State of Bliss, a collection of short stories, written in English, were published in 2016. This year, Alice James Books will publish We’re On: A June Jordan Reader, co-edited with Jan Heller Levi, and in 2018, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series will publish Hip Hops: Poems about Beer.