Monday, March 13, 2017


jim mccrary Reviews

(Black Radish Books, 2015)

No doubt this is the best book I have come to in a long, long time.  I am so pleased that j/j hastain has created this text and that they will become, I hope, a very sought after author.  Everyone should read this book.  Really.  Just try and do that.  It will be worth your time.  Long story short:  Luci is the fictional (?) auto-biography of the fallen angel Lucifer who "now" wants to be known as Luci...the queering of Lucifer to the preferred Luci...the long, long struggle between Luci and their dad and, of course, the spirit brother who is still hanging around.  And hastain has written a deep, deep text here that brings us into and along with Luci's attempts to free themselves from the yoke of past and realize all human emotion including love, sex...lots of sex...wet feathers and all....pussy and peepee and poop and just all that too.  Not to mention heartbreak and loss and anger and guilt.

I had to read this book with my laptop nearby open to a religious dictionary.  So much is out of my depth and words I'd never seen before.  At first I thought it was going to be a drag looking everything up, like when one first tries to read Pound and then realizes...oh fuck it who cares what it says in Chinese.  But that is not the case with hastain...they, I can enjoy, finding out the meaning of a sentence like:  "...By way of the ongoing corpuscles of concupiscent saints during crepuscular eras?"  

The humor is always present especially when trying to explain to their Dad how the appropriation of human feelings and emotion feels to them.  Always there is Dad who is his usually rather narrow minded selfish egotistical self.  And the spirit brother who embarrasses and shames Luci.  Always.

"It has always bothered me how my spirit brother scolded me in front of my father."

It is hastain's thoughtful and thought out text that brings Luci into our life and hearts with text like this:

"As a light-bearer in the darkness of my own body, I implore you to ponder me as something other than male or female in the human sense of these terms..."

The struggle, as mentioned, continues as Luci sees themselves as more becoming both queer and equipped as human.  Perhaps.  halstain brings so much into their text and it seems that so much has gone into the preparation of the writing.

Well, it is difficult to describe and to lift from the page to this brief notice of a book so powerful and beautiful.

Here is a final quote.  If this don't getcha goin I don't know what will:

"Is it possible for a memoir and a hagiography to be one and the same?  If not, consider this moment, this work, to be a fictional hagiography: a life story of tenebrous broth.  I am drawing shapes in handmade ink.  Doing so, over a shaved patch that remains startling, no matter how much it is experienced. A saint's erection is often inadvertently, accidentally orb-shaped."


"mccrary lives in lawrence, ks.  latest books include This Here from Theenk Books and Year Book from Shirt Pocket Press.  he is the honored mascot at the 8th st taproom poetry series in a downtown lawrence dive bar that is curated by one megan kaminski."

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