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Creative Engagement with Jared Hayes’ The Dead Love: Hands and More Hands Together (Black Radish Books, 2012)

Jared Hayes’ new full length book The Dead Love: Hands and More Hands Together states itself as “an experiment in collage.” This “experiment” states that it is dedicated to and also somehow made of Paul Celan and Helene Cixous, Jack Spicer and Gertrude Stein and Ted Berrigan. In one of the blurbs describing the book Kent Johnson speaks of this work as “citational.” I am assuming that the of piece of Hayes’ dedication means that within it there are extracted or implanted pieces of Celan’s, Cixous’, Spicer’s, Stein’s and Berrigan’s own writings. That itself makes this book (from its inception) motley.

In the first of four sections that appear in TDL, narrative is embedded in enjoined fragments. This section is called: Into the Furrows and in it there is an oscillation between plain text and text in parenthesis. There are many ways that this type of delineation can be viewed: are one or the other of these any of the above stated (Celan’s, Cixous’, etc.) writings? Are these two different (dual/ dueling?) voices speaking toward each other as a way of proceeding? What I found was that the first section of TDL felt very psychically lubricating to me. Almost like a lullaby but one somehow applied from the inside out. So not sung onto or in relation to, but coming up from something that has already somehow been digested (Celan’s, Cixous’ texts?)

The following are some of what struck me as lubricating in Into the Furrows: “(imagine whatever you wish)” / “still songs to sing beyond” / “(there is more than one world)” / “(the hand leads to flowers)” / “cleft to the crest” / “portrait and replica”—all of these phrases imply vastness, expansion, curvature , doubling over or into and conjoining. Are statements (enactments of?) such as these, roots of invitation in the text? I can report that I surely felt invited by them!

In Act Two of the Gertrude Spicer Story the shapes of the pages, phrases on the pages and even the writing style itself differs from Into the Furrows. This is an interesting and stimulating thing to encounter as a reader. In this section of TDL we get access to some of Hayes’ brilliant work with sound/ ear-sculpt (“there is no commission. there is no ear chosen” / “sweating and lips locked on solace” / “spirit which was so kindly a sign was death” / “rimbaud’s cliff”)—this quality in Hayes’ writing is one of the qualities that I have enjoyed and benefited from (re proximity) for quite a long time. By benefit I mean I am uplifted by music–by Hayes’ work with what I heard him term his work (“the new pastoral”) quite a few years ago.

In Act Two of the Gertrude Spicer Story we are also introduced to phrase oriented lyric in a way that performs differently than Into the Furrows (“the change has come. there is no search. but there is that scar-tissue” /  “it is so important to have a season not to touch but to touch again”) In these phrase oriented lyrics we are introduced to figures in ways that we were not introduced to in the earlier section of the book (“new universe and the same eurydice with orpheus makes a change” / “a false image and no hero”/ “all that is a bed-partner and more sweating much more sweating together”) and this introduction makes richer, narrative impetus in the book. I am saying that being introduced to figures here makes me hope that they will remain as figures as we move beyond this section into the next.

In RecollecTed there are little scissor marks printed on the pages. Upon entering here I cut the pages where the scissor marks indicated, so that the book became a sort of flip, self-enabled replacement of singularity thing. That there are no suggestions or instructions for what to do when coming upon the scissor marks (are they implications? Instructions?) is an interesting point of agency in the book. I feel like this is a wise place to introduce this quality of agency in the book. I recorded some of the cut lines that struck me while I was reading them—to be clear, these were lines that were particular to me, were instigations of my pleasure, lines that I kept folding over as long as I could, while I changed the rest of the lines that surrounded them: “old prophets help me believe” / “the slick easy poet didn’t get to fuck” / “like an ordinary man in red weather”/ “remember the night we did glorious blow-job behind a curtain” / “feel your tongue begin to shred” / “and you tremble at the books upon the earth.” I am aware that what I am listing here, relates to my own feelings and sensations, but it is true that juxtapositions of “red weather” and “blow-job[s] behind a curtain” touch the place that is my reader identified body (“a mirror loves rapture”).

In the last section of TDL “there is no such thing as silence.” We are placed in here in the middle of a new tone (“imaginary zenith”) of a thing to “emerge against.” By moving through it we sense that TDL is not saying that love is dead, but that the dead (as figures) can be loving! I certainly sense this love while moving through Hayes’ engaging text. I feel embraced, encased. Somehow held on or into the “threshold of the individual [being] threaded.”



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