j/j hastain Reviews
A GOOD CUNTBOY IS HARD TO FIND by Doug Rice
(Jasmine Sailing / CPAOD Books, Denver, Colorado, 1998)
Doug Rice’s A GOOD CUNTBOY IS HARD TO FIND is an invigorating, muddy descant turning itself into a stunning melody by way of bodies! These phrases and pictures that are “thrusting the future into the present” are truly requiring of us as readers—and of earth as holder of. I think that as readers we add weight to the gesture of Doug’s beautiful and raucous book, but I also cannot help but feel that this book is at least somewhat autonomous to us—that even in a post-apocalyptic zone where all mothers, fathers, sisters, cock-bearers, lovers and physical mugwumps have been obliterated—this book would continue doing what it was designed for. Taking up space anarchically—brutally.
This space that it takes up is one of subversions and transgressions—new sexualities and genders—but these expressed with such fierce clarity that it is as if they are being enacted for us. Sweet, true theater. The shame and aching juxtaposed against the pleasures of these sexualities and genders is apparent in the book, but they are shared (the complexities) with no shame. This is a strength of this book! We experience feelings with the writer—without dogmatic lenses or translations. This anarchic space of differentiations is one where social stigma and norms are far from us. This book does not prop itself against the status quo. It completely bypasses it. “Me getting hard and thinking maybe this is me getting wet”—or “we love cunt that is dangerously close to the impossible.”
What if this book were a next specie’s bible? What would the dos and don’ts of a culture that came from A GOOD CUNTBOY look like? “Words almost not words at all but my body acting, moving in unknown ways to God.” This God both a thing being traveled toward, as well as is the book itself. And in order to get there Doug is making xir cunt part of xir speech. Part of our speech. “Knowing this uncomfortable flesh of my impossible body.” This extraordinary, disturbing book is the impossible body becoming more and more possible because it is unfolding here as bounty for us. And we are altered as we intake—as we become the “small bands of nomads [who] read the book, eat the book, fuck the book” and in doing so are stricken, emancipated, gifted with the momentary loss of our own identities. “She took words carefully from my mouth. Replaced them with words from her own body.” “Never certain if there were no beginnings or endings or if there were just too many beginnings and endings generating corrupt middles.”—Doug is here regardless of us—and for us—and as we join with Doug in this striking and strange book, we co-enact an alert transmutation.
j/j hastain lives in Colorado, USA with hir beloved. j/j is the author of numerous full-length, cross-genre works such as: asymptotic lover // thermodynamic vents (BlazeVox Books), our bodies as beauty inducers (Rebel Satori Press), we in my Trans (JMS Books LLC), autobiography of my gender (Moria), ulterior eden (Otoliths), prurient anarchic omnibus (Spuyten Duyvil) as well as many chapbooks and artist’s books. A new chapbook collaboration with poet-artist Marthe Reed, is forthcoming from Dusie 6. j/j’s writing has appeared in numerous journals including MiPoesias, Fact-Simile, Sextures, Trickhouse, Vlak, Unlikely Stories, The Offending Adam, Eccolinguistics, Poems-For-All and Kelsey. j/j is an elective affinities participant, a member of Dusie kollektiv and a regular contributor to Sous Les Paves. j/j’s manuscript Let was a finalist in the 2010 Kelsey Street and Ahsahta book competitions. In 2011 j/j’s book we in my Trans was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award. In the near future j/j has full-length, cross-genre collections coming out with various exciting presses.