j/j hastain lives in Colorado with xir beloved and is the author of our bodies as beauty inducers, we in my Trans, prurient anarchic omnibus, long past the presence of common, a womb-shaped wormhole, as well as many chapbooks and artist’s books.
"A work of rich, clear, sensual language, of “thermal tremble and juice,” these poems and photos pull the weaver’s threads together, bring focus to 'wherein we can be a root to the sea.'"
"Here the elemental ground opens as j/j hastain creates multiple sacred sites, the body as it enlarges and contracts, the meaning as it moves in and out of absence and presence, consciousnesses and its negation: these shrines."
There is a bruise pressed against my tongue, big enough to make a sound like a voiceover set against a silent film. j/j Hastain’s poetic and visual journey, prurient anarchic omnibus, is that moving image. Imagine body as a spool of film, projecting portraits that can be spoken or felt — sometimes both or just one or combined — with various senses like taste and aroma.
A bruise is defined as two types of injury: damage to feelings of self and areas of discolored skin from burst blood vessels.
I am bruised. I am gathering up each emotion like seeds scattered over torn up soil and massaging each shape of feeling I have from these words.
this is the body/learning what is beyond itself through itself
I enter this book as a poet, who not only writes along these lines of body and skin cell’s memories, but also as a human who is often in need of a refitting inside this body. j/j creates a narrative I can read in various orders and directions, allowing for a journey that is experiential, emotive, and never the same.
prurient anarchic omnibus is an x-ray, a diagram of longing and rooted energies.
A new year has just begun.
Resolutions are gathering, cracking, solidifying.
I hunch my fleshy skeleton over my desk and write. I begin this day negotiating time and coffee-scented gasps.
The air outside is too cold to declare any type of fashion sense; yet, right before exiting cluttered bedroom with blue bag full of dirty laundry, I catch my reflection; pressed down and wrinkled, unencumbered by gender distinction. Then I drop my bag, open up j/j’s book as though it is a magic 8-ball from childhood, where weighty questions are answered with a swift shake and reveal. I flip to page 62:
I need to be bruised by this
to have my gender fractured
into more musical
I decide my laundry can wait, because suddenly this book is less about bound words with ISBN and more of a declarative unpunctuated voyage that does not insist upon clean clothes or brushed hair. I am rooted. I am under siege, commanding my insides to get involved. To respond.
The space in which j/j writes from is like a window without the frame attached . . . it is magnified musculature and intuitions memorizing its unhinged construction. j/j’s images offer an illustrative shape to each word, sound, and peculiar image that not only bruises our own expectations of language, but redefines the discourse of lustful mayhem cocooned inside one’s gender-full, constantly shifting, retranslating mind.