Poetry News

Poems as Touching as They Are Graphic: Dan Hoy's Revelations & Confessions: Blood Work Volume II

By Harriet Staff


David Applegate takes on Dan Hoy's chapbook Revelations & Confessions: Blood Work Volume II (Slim Princess Holdings 2012) for Montevidayo, writing that "[t]houghts on sexuality, technology, pornography, and free will explode from its thirty-three pages." To be specific: "When we arrive at: 'The morning / dew / is alien cum / on my face' it becomes clear the aliens are functioning in these poems as a metaphor for nature at large; the nature which invents human beings out of itself and lays them low by imbuing them with a sexuality which appears, at first, as a degraded drive which can only lead to misery." More of the printable:

...The possibility explored here is that sexual autonomy might be reclaimed through the production and sale of pornography, the participation in an economy both abstracted and separate from the economy of copulating bodies. But the desired escape through technology seems impossible. ”Everything I remember / is an image / on a screen.” The entirety of human experience is mediated through technology, and all technology which is not the “free blood” of humanity further enslaves the human element to the alien: “A basic primer / on memory / protocols / is what my brain / looks like / to the aliens using it.” When all memory is an image on a screen, the alien has access to it as a tool to exploit. Not only does the alien function as an allegory for nature, but for all non-human systems outside the body. Hoy’s point is that we understand non-human nature as well as we understand the systems we ourselves have created, hardly at all.

The chapbook’s final section finds the human gaining the upper hand. ”I volunteer / to legislate this / whatever this is / to bring a Law / into being.” The creative or productive impulse, the “best technology,” takes control of the situation. In a poem as touching as it is graphic, we find: “The sound of insects / at night / makes me / cum for you.” And its conclusion: “Cum with me.” As opposed to “morning dew” which is “alien cum,” we now see nature as a force capable of inspiring a desire for mutual sexual pleasure which is “The whole / of the Law.” The situation remains unknowable (“whatever this is”) but the conditions have improved such that the alien, which truly functions as that which alienates, collapses into a mutual failure to understand rather than an endless play of dominance and submission. In the concluding poem, the alien is conflated with the human as if to imply all humans are as aliens on this planet, unknown, unknowing, and set apart. When, in the last lines we read: “Wait / for the signal,” we’re never meant to understand what the signal is or what it might mean.

Yow. Read it all here. Trailer for the work below.


Originally Published: December 18th, 2012