j/j hastain

Underweight, Androgynous and Magical

I gamble that Andy did not know that after being bitten by a “hard tick” the result would be a body plagued with Borrelia (Lyme disease). Having been vegan for quite some time and someone for whom eating an egg was a stretch (when the acupuncturist suggested that it be done) I am sure there would have been no thought to spray permethrin on clothes before going out into the woods. As someone whose poems were about queerness and gender, I am sure that it was Andy who wanted to push hardness in the direction of biting a lover (not a “hard tick” pushing its hardness into Andy). Perhaps this person was not psychically predisposed to avoiding an upcoming condition that would cause so much physical angst.

Andy is a spoken word champion and though we have not seen each other in months, though there’s no return of my phone calls, I still want to call Andy my friend. Knowing that fatigue and depression are probably intensified by the disease I have tried to give Andy a break, I have kept calling, I continue to attempt to imagine applicable relief.

On the day that Andy threw all of the knives in the house onto the roof (in hopes of avoiding suicide) I wonder if “strong” was a self-chosen adjective? I certainly saw Andy that way. I knew that one of the best stone butches of all time (Leslie Feinberg) was also dying of Lyme. Did Andy know this? I am not afraid of finding Andy dead. I am afraid of never being able to find Andy again. Andy, my friend, are the bands around your wrists tight enough now that they have finally been tattooed there? Do they lastingly hold you in?

While in my childhood experience of him, my young friend Michael was the most gigantic boy I had ever seen: a boy who was a largeness in which I wished to save (in which I was able to save). Though Andy certainly packs a punch, I have never seen a smaller or more androgynous boy.

Dear Andy,

Did you change your pronoun to and?

Dear Andy,

Please don’t be the one to prove that I was unable to save you. If you die before I ever get to see you again, who will give you these three Koi fish balloon-skins: skins long deflated after being caught and pierced in the winter trees at the local park?


Monk’s Moan

Monks Moan


Great White Flood (as Opposed to Great White Shark)

What situations or circumstances would constitute a self-made monk presenting as sudden aggressor? A great white flood in which monk was required to bob above the water then back below, judging the fates of their own past tense embodiments as those embodiments are attempting to cross the flood (to get from there to a new here) as method of progressing? Or it could be by way of background wounds unavoidably filling a foreground (but with no inherent way to touch the wounds or alert them as they weave from back to impossible to effect front)? Sureties can be made out of whitewater shocks; whitewater shocks are felt, then moved on from.

The crossers are sinking into previous ink. Panic pulses as the oasis crumbles. Parts are spilling from the pyre. Piles of used razors are being strategically arranged atop of our only pillow. Cyclical declension might be the only tenacity capable of enabling, capable of acting as omni-appendage (in a space such as this is). Fur is growing on my notes. Pyrite seems to be spilling from a cunt that (though no one sees it or has access to it) keeps opening and opening.

Sate the aggressor by serving them a colossal human storyline made entirely out of frothing-but-somehow-stitched clinchers.


On the Day that Brandon Teena Died 

It was not until I changed my name (so that it incessantly reflected my gender) that I abruptly remembered: on the day that Brandon Teena died by corrective rape, I had a hasty vision, a daytime nightmare. In it, innumerable butch and transmen martyrs were being hung from crosses: their beards sprouting out of their beautiful chins like fine china being catapulted up and into the wind as release. As the dusk sun intensified, its presence gave them the five o’clock shadows with which they had long identified (regardless of where they were in transition).

Was this wide-eyed nightmare a Golgotha on which I could finally weep? I admit it: with such a dramatic image of the loss of my dears it was possible that I would not be able to avoid it. Maybe as I wept and tore at my eyes, a phantom of a hysterical Magdalene would arise and join me.

Germane Golgotha: a community of the living and the dead, slack yet growing in the sultry sun.


Using the Men’s Restroom at the Opera

I knew how to pee standing up, but without a pump (“The Pisser”) I would have had to straddle the dried piss on that rounded and protruding part of the men’s urinal and that overt straddle would certainly have resulted in my not passing. Instead, when entering the men’s restroom (in which sometimes I got curious looks from the men and sometimes they failed to notice me (I was obviously passing, then)) I would go into the stall, lock the door and pee sitting down through the straps holding my dick firmly over my pubis (it there, rubbing my thighs (where the straps pinched) raw). A dick that had to be strapped on, mine was in some ways a private dick, a dick that, even if my relationship to it changed dramatically, I was never going to discard (regardless of how it was attached to me it would always be there with me). How to best pass while also wielding a private dick? A social anomaly for a physical anomaly?

If we do with them what enables and enlivens us, trials can be enabling and enlivening, can be what takes us from self-exploration to self-expansions. We have the power to turn trial into compliant undertows.

In American society we are pressured by predetermined notions of binary gender or we live to generate our own genders as epigrammatic paths beyond historical strictures. It is possible to feel that in one gender, there is no possibility of experiencing certain kinds of slake, while in another gender slake is the inborn shale, an indelible grounding of that place.

Will the granite-colored undertow that I am wielding continue to gather force, preparing to launch up from below the stained piss cages within the lowest parts of the urinal bowls? How much of me is a man? Will this undertow take me and all of these men along with it?


j/j hastain is a writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j, simply, hopes to make the God/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.

Gesturej/j hastain