DeWitt Brinson: Is thought a part of a person's body or apart from it?

j/j hastain: Regardless of whether or not they are separate from a person’s body (based on thoughts’ inception? Where they come from? Or on some point of origin?) or if thoughts are someone’s body literally (by identity? Or like an appendage protruding palm open from the third eye) what matters is that thoughts are personal.

I guess that we can only talk personally about personal things so of course my first inclination here is to thank you for the question and wonder on if you feel your thoughts as your body or separate from it? And further are your thoughts yours? Beyond that, I will speak personally: I often think (haha!) that my thoughts are meta-compasses spinning within me alongside my cells. They mate there, the thoughts and the cells in a proprioceptive hand-made net. As they mate they spin and the spinning makes a light that fills up the net then begins to leak from what seem to be the borders or boundaries of the net. I guess I am saying that I don’t necessarily believe that my thoughts come from my brain only or from notions of socialized ‘reason’ (or whatever) only. They are mystical content coming to me from elsewheres and I want to dance with them and court them and count on them as I work with ______via form.

DB: Are people allowed to keep their limbs after amputation? Do you know?

JH: I am not sure if people who are forced to experience amputation are able to keep the amputated limb. If I had to have something amputated I certainly would want to keep it. I have fantasies of giving specific organs and appendages away when I die, as memorabilia and memory inducers. Maybe people will find ways to divine by way of them or use them like a mood ring?

I know that transabled people strongly identify with having (an) appendages removed and at times, when not met with the medical assistance they need, they have gone so far as to do the surgeries on themselves. Folks, let’s all get it in our heads (and hands) now. A person’s body is theirs! They should have the right to have whatever happen to it that they desire. If they are a transman who chose not to remove their womb and subsequently, now wants to have a baby, great! If they are a transabled person who identifies with having only one hand, cut off at the wrist, great! And if the person wants to keep their hand after the surgery they should be able to! I have a reoccurring dream wherein the yard of the home I lived when I was a teenager, opens up and in its separating creases it is possible to peer down into a vast pit filled with human hands of many sorts: hands with missing fingers, children’s hands, hairy hands, pristine manicured hands.

Believe it or not I have thought about appendages, limbs and organs in holarchic relationship (like with a fractal, an uppermost can be a bottom) with the body before. I have long mourned the lost menstrual clots in the toilet. I think it is completely appropriate to save your own clots in jars, to have a lover drink them. I think it is also appropriate to sing and need to touch them before sending them away into the great invisible abyss where dead goldfish float in a forevermore or a bardo (until they come back as a great white shark that gobbles you up!).

DB: Have you ever played any video games? Do you have any personal triumphs directly related to or derived somehow from a video game?

JH: I grew up obsessively playing Super Mario Bros. I remember a friend and me eating bean dip and caramels and playing at her house deep into the night. It is strange to frazzle your eyes at three in the morning trying to get past that damn level where the fireball strands move in the slow circles and it is not really a benefit to be a bigger version of yourself (the one you can earn by eating the hidden mushrooms, you know?) because if you are bigger the fireball strands instantly touch you. If you persist, you find that the version of you where you are just on the brink of death is the one that will get you through. It is good to straddle the lip, it’s good to surpass the periphery.

DB: What is the sign that winter has begun?

JH: When the dark berries that I know most by night and touch begin to gather frost and what was a dark berry proportionately disappearing into night before winter, becomes a dark hub covered in a frozen cloak. This is a motility based transition that turns a thing’s initial darkness into something that tempts me to consume it.

P.S. Even if you love them, have feelings for them, don’t eat the queer sleet queen (those berries): you could die and if you don’t die diarrhea is guaranteed.

DB: What do you think about?

JH: Gods/Godesses (origins, sources, impetuses) meeting genitalia (eros, embodiment activisms, identity) meeting collaborations of glottal and gland (perlocution, emoting, song).

DB: Would you rather have sex under a white rainbow, a double rainbow, or a UFO. Please Explain your answer in the form of a limerick.

JH: What an amazing question! Easiest answer: “Um, all of the above.”

Next answer: “Under a lunar rainbow, please. The surface of the moon is a hopeful surface to have the light that I eat during sex reflected back to me by way of.”

Limerick answer:

Afternoon is not necessarily cognitive

As it cogitates, quests through the amative

But removing your pants

Roots me on my back in the plants

    As we whammy the wonder into positive

DB: Invent a word for that feeling you get as you fall asleep after having woken up and realized you have plenty of time to keep sleeping.

JH: IvefallenandIstilldonthavetogetup

DB: To whom is this work written?

JH: Letters to the Divergents: a Cryptozoologic for Xems is written to anyone who will take it into the arms protruding from their own gritty third eyes as a form of love, because to do so turns that anyone into a part of the future lineage of Xems: a place where we no longer need to fear (or stick by) socially attributed binary identities (with not expansive enough or inherited pronouns), where the varying madnesses and hysterias that help us know and feel ourselves will be honored and revered, where to come to revelations by way of myopias or fixating on the image of pulling whole pieces of fruit from the body of road kill animals is not something in you that others detest, but emulate.

DB: What's the most reasonable argument you've ever heard against something you adamantly believe in?

JH: A man can’t be a feminist because as a man he has had privileges that will invariably keep him from ever being able to understand a woman’s pain—a unique pain forced onto all women by patriarchy.

DB: Name two poets and a photographer no one has ever heard of but should. Provide links to work if possible or an example of their work (whole poem if you know them and they're cool with it, piece of poem if you don't or they're not).

JH: I don’t know poets or a photographer that it would be guaranteed that no one has ever heard of. There are people I like though. I met Beth Ditto today and she is a fucking stud.

Not a poet or a photographer but certainly a site worth photographing:

I also really enjoy Del LaGrace Volcano’s gorgeous photography work:

It is also worth it to give a shout out to the amazing Doug Rice (poet, photographer) who is so damn lovable:



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

j/j hastain is the author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk(Scrambler Press), anti-memoir a vigorous (Black Coffee Press/ Eight Ball Press) and The Xyr Trilogy: a Metaphysical Romance. j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in Caketrain, Trickhouse, The Collagist,Housefire, Bombay Gin and Aufgabe. j/j has been a guest lecturer at Naropa University, University of Colorado and University of Denver.