"To bring the poem into the world / is to bring the world into the poem."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

j/j hastain


When Eileen contacted me about this project I was very excited to participate. However I instantly experienced a struggle within myself regarding what writing is for to me and how that gesture (ephemeral activism in the shape of bridge) does not easily correlate with the quotidian or the day to day difficulties of physical reality. A long time ago I told a colleague who asked me why and what I write, that I do not write from my experiences--that that is not the purpose for me. That instead, I compose future spaces in the present, so that the intensities and variegations of future selves (mine and others’ nomadic vagaries) can be guaranteed to have embodiment space. For this reason it was difficult for me to engage by writing (which is ephemeral for me) questions that are so physical and realist. Regardless of that difficulty I have attempted a response to Eileen’s beautiful and opening inquiries, because the spaces of these questions are important and matter in the context of current socio-economic conversation.

All longings and hungers affect (intensify) my composition praxis (from when I was recently in Mexico working with La Casa De Immigrantes helping locals prepare to cross the border and the child asked me for some money and I gave the child everything I had--then had to busk in order to get some money to return back to my home, to my own experiences of homelessness). What is true across the board for me is that I believe that moments exist as physical realities so that we can find ways to nourish them. Yes—nourishment of physical moments by way of ephemeral inventions and intuitive sextants. I believe that this correlation is what form is for.

Regardless of exterior impacts it has always been the case that I feel enabled to engage________. The fact that matter is here, means I can gesticulate and extend. When I was homeless I scrolled my moans (cellular roots) into the dirt with my hands. I hid and slept in citrus groves where I embedded small, inked parchments into the fallen oranges. Although there was pain and difficulty (‘how will I eat tonight?’ or ‘where will I sleep since it is the 15th consecutive day of rain?’) there was never (for me) the feeling of impossibility. It is due to this I think, that I do not now (in the current privilege of my livelihood e.g.: I have a home, I can afford to pay my mortgage, I am married to my beloved and we both have ‘stable’ jobs, etc.) feel much different or set apart from how I felt during different eras (with different economic standings) of my embodiments.

I am saying that if it is important to me to water my plants with a wine glass, regardless of if I can afford to buy a wine glass or if I fashion something that is ‘wine glass’ to me out of detritus, I will have wine glass to water my plants. There is vigorousness to this. There is the assumption that the necessary extensions will be made. I am saying that regardless of the strictly physical qualities of my form (emaciation or emancipation) I vow to myself to exhibit and express in ways that allow me to evolve. I am aware that there is a certain stalwart alterity to this, but for me it feels essential in order for me to continue as planetary inhabitant in ways that feel fruitful enough for me to stay here. It is physically so easy to leave this place--to lubricate a sweet exit out of this plane…a few too many pills, a gun, a cliff. I am aware that for me to stay, I must be completely committed to staying. It is my own commitment to planarity that keeps me here.

Oh contemporaneous Rumi. This is an advocacy for bindery. For finding what it is that makes a me holy (vivified, unstoppable) and engaging that without distraction. This is a pledge to ever couple with and to never cripple. To keep my gestural allegiances poised toward selvage and ally-posterities and prospering (regardless of external influences), and to refuse to limit or squelch anything that could potentially illuminate or sustain.

I chant the following to myself to continually remind me:

If we bind by red we are holy. If we bind red we will suffer.



Two "Cell Poems":

"countour heliums"

"if we bind by red"



j/j hastain lives in Colorado, USA with xir beloved. j/j is the author of numerous full length, cross genre works as well as many chapbooks and artist’s books. j/j is an Elective Affinities participant, a member of Dusie kollektiv and a regular contributor to Sous Les Paves. j/j’s books have been finalists in the Kelsey Street, Grey Book Press, Sawtooth and Ahsahta book competitions. j/j’s manuscript extant shamanisms won the Pavement Saw poetry award. In 2011 j/j’s book we in my Trans was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award.

As a genderqueer writer maker of things, j/j’s books deal directly with the transgressive body, deviant gender, eros and identity construction as necessary compositional methods to living with empowerment in what can be a diminutive and polarizing world.

j/j is interested in expanding traditional notions of what activism is/ has been/ can be, and doing so via the reimagining of spaces. j/j believes in creating texts/ spaces that are inherently non-linear and a historical. Texts as spaces that have never been patriarchally controlled and cannot be patriarchally controlled. It is j/j’s hope that in these spaces there will be room to experience contemporary moments of truth, eros, convergence, conjunction and profoundly new types and sensations of equity.


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