Category Archives: Lyric Essay

“Horns” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

The Bacchante - Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1853
The Bacchante – Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1853

“Horns” is just one of four short yet provocative lyric essays by j/j hastain included in our Winter 2015 issue.

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For Samuel Ace

TURNING THE AWARENESS OF ANOMALIES into a community of anomalies proves that anomalies are not something far off. They are each one of us and if it is one it is always more than one.

She has been wrestling with them her whole life. There is only conjecture as to their cause.  She has two while others have one protruding from the middle of their forehead. She is called devil as a child. In high school she tries to cut them off with her own razor. She fixates. She saws and saws with her eyes wide open until there is blood in her hair. She worries about them showing. When she is cutting them off she does not even remember to shave her legs.

She learns much later on in life that her horns could have come up through skin vulnerabilities, scarring from the burns of fires. She has never experienced being physically burned by a fire, though she often dreams of girls screaming and nodding their heads wildly, emitting flames in a voluptuous yes, as they run toward and project themselves into damp vats of salt and hair: hot englut, temperature as a way to clot wetness.

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“Amiss and Amok” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

By User:MatthiasKabel (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Venus of Willendorf – Photo by Matthias Kabel (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

The Venus of Willendorf’s body is not something to be used to make a point in “Amiss and Amok,” one of four lyric essays by j/j hastain in our Winter 2015 issue.

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THE VENUS OF WILLENDORF IS PLAGUED with a peculiar but befitting dysphoria. Afraid of her aesthetic shifts ever being misread by others, ever being used as cultural stigma in support of any form of reductiveness, she is impassioned to emphasize: “Nothing in these shifts, nothing in this weight change, this weight loss, is indicative of anything lost.”

She is not trying to lose weight. She has just been more into root vegetables lately. Her weight loss is not meant to be a message or a future measure regarding the female form for generations to come. Her body is not something to be used to make a point. Her hands grab her own belly fat with a ferociousness that is familiar with itself. She is a living state; she is the summation of her skills at work to elaborate bulk.

She pulls her belly fat toward you and states: “I am still here for you in the ways I have always been. The path clots, congeals in certain areas before shrinking and settling back into itself again.” Fluctuations of the body are its valor. The drama in which to attend and attune is the enlivening and making-more-subtle of the body before it becomes entirely stone.

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“Copulatory Lock” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

Hyenas - Martiros Saryan, 1909
Hyenas – Martiros Saryan, 1909

Until very recently, we at FLAPPERHOUSE had no idea that the mating practices of hyenas were so subversive and transcendent. If you’d like to learn more, allow j/j hastain to explain it all to you in “Copulatory Lock”, one of the four lyric mini-essays by j/j that you can read in our Winter 2015 issue.

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SEXUAL INTIMIDATION DOESN’T HAPPEN IN HYENA CULTURE. If it’s not consensual then it simply is not– end of discussion.

Based on the location of her masculinized genitalia (shaped like a penis, but hanging flaccid between her legs) he literally has to squat and dance behind her, moving into her squat, in order to even penetrate her penis with his. Her sexual center is pointing ahead; his follows from behind, into her and through her to the degree that she wants it. She is the stipulation here. She is his direction.

Aware that some gymnastics are required in order for mating to occur, if the female is keen on him, she will lead him up the hill or out to the brink where there is the most likelihood for safe copulation. He follows her to their spot. At the moment of intromission the hyenas’ bodies literally lock in order for exchange to occur. This locking makes fruition and impregnation possible at the same moment that it dramatically increases the risk of the two being seen as a lager body of flesh and then eaten with excitement: a predator’s conglomerate meat.

As the lion nears he does not have a choice. His hormones are raging in response to their hormones raging. With doubled flesh before him, he rushes the magic to engorge on something more integrated than yin and yang. Yin and yang have that curved line between them, indicating their difference. The hyenas’ copulatory lock means, in her choosing to let him, they have found their way beyond the line.

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Bio Next2j/j hastain is a collaborator, 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.

j/j hastain is the inventor of The Mystical Sentence Projects and is author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press), The Non-Novels (forthcoming, Spuyten Duyvil) 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.