j/j hastain

Living Hole

Reaching into the schist-covered hole in the cave, I felt liquid within it. I let my hand rest there, floating in the dark, and then I pulled my fist out of the hole. Before my fist even made its way out of the hole I could smell it: so intensely of decay, that even days later I would continue to smell it on me. Was this smell the smell of the reach itself? Was it a cave’s rheums? When reaching into this hole was I reaching into myself to pull out a sense of my own future chest? The chest of a female-he?

The night after reaching into the hole I dreamt of a supra-vagina that sucked in the hands of suitors, held them there for moments, then snapped them off, keeping their dexterities within it.

wolf_man (1)


When I heard that she and the other protesters were arrested in the city and that asshole of an officer could not put the cuff around her ankle (even though he violently tried) I knew there was kinship between us.

Whales thrive in engorging water systems: the swallow being shared. Whales have large enough veins that human women could swim around inside of them. Because, initially, I saw us both as whales I felt that collaboration might be possible. I intentionally tried to make a place in the body of my life for my friend to thrive.

When she began dreaming of violins in graveyards, I did not tell her that, for years prior to that announcement, I had been incessantly dreaming of myself playing sinking violins in already sunken cemeteries: bold bodies learning to bellow below. There is significance in sincere synonym and as I was composing beblubbered, lyrical eulogies for emotions that have no social space (doing this as a way to encourage errant and hysterical emotions and sensations to stay regardless of how normative society tries to crowd them out). I was watching my friend grow toward playing the violins in her own graveyard. I was proud of her: both in her wishy-washy and her swish.

I was forced to painfully realize much later, as our friendship was disintegrating (not sinking or floating) that perhaps I was the whale and she, a woman in the fatty carotid that I had offered.

As the pact separates the pod loosens. This causes the sea to grieve.


Dear English

Much more relevant than appropriate spelling or grammar is the image coming undone inside of us. A painted gold egg-like skull sulks as it hangs from multiple branches (so that it weighs them all down together) and in its hanging it is far more successful at never emulating rift than lie versus lay ever could be.

Words are personal, biased. So are images. That is why patriarchy can use words to fuck us over and it is also why we can use images and pictures to set ourselves free. I want to trace a coil back and back by way of my whole body (not just a hot finger). I want to trace a coil that could lead me from now, through image, until image is no longer a reflection or an illusion but an original: a luscious, starting portrait, a place into which to stare forever. Stare makes me feel like I am eating éclairs on a mid-point on some long-extant, invisible stairs.

j/j hastain is the author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press) and The Xyr Trilogy: a Metaphysical Romance of Experimental Realisms. j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in Caketrain, Trickhouse, The Collagist, Housefire, Bombay Gin, Aufgabe and Tarpaulin Sky. j/j has been a guest lecturer at Naropa University, University of Colorado and University of Denver.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.