Instructions for the Orgy, by Jeffrey Hecker

orgy

Instructions for the Orgy, by Jeffrey Hecker. Buffalo, New York: sunnyoutside. 20 pages. $12.00, paper.

Jeffrey Hecker’s Instructions for the Orgy begins with the preparation of “the loving space.” “Delouse” it, the speaker tells the “first to the orgy.” This is the first of many directives to the roughly ten people (one guy gets locked in a woodshed and there’s a “line of braided Wiccan women,” whose accompaniment of Reed and Pam seems to constitute one arrival) who come to the orgy. One’s duties depend on when one turns up. The ten poems in this frenetic chapbook make a pleasure of the promise of pleasure. Packed with consumer goods, pop culture references, and history, the poems mirror contemporary mainstream American culture: even COBRA Insurance is eroticized, yet beneath this eroticization there’s no actual sex, no fulfillment. Denied the release of a Dionysian orgy, we revel in the sterile, maddeningly arousing orgy of control.

The closest we get to sex in Instructions for the Orgy is in “Instructions for the Eighth to the Orgy,” where “Sam and Pam adjourn to the bathroom / for three hours,” instructing “all the men to self-stimulate.” The first six participants in the orgy are “erections,” so Pam and Sam, which is short for “Samantha” become the absent stars at the “Cabin Entrance.” After directing the men to self-stimulate, Pam and Sam prevent them from following these directions by chanting “Judge Judy Judge Judy Judge Judy.” “In the second hour,” the women “request / a louder Wu-Tang Clan album,” and we find that the witches have “flown to Taco Bell.” The poem ends with Sam complaining about her invitation, which read “Firemen Crawl Through Hole / In Aluminum Shed.” Confessing to sending some “experimental / envelopes,” the speaker hopes “those / forever stamps weren’t the last publications / [he’ll] ever moisten.” Hecker is a master of the double entendre, often using line breaks to create them.

While we may never make it to the orgy, the well-crafted poems in Hecker’s chapbook are sure to make our pilgrimage a lot more fun.

Instructions for the Orgy at Amazon
Instructions for the Orgy at sunnyoutside

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Jordan Sanderson grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and earned a PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His work has appeared in several journals, including Better: A Journal of Culture and LitGigantic SequinsRed Earth Review, burntdistrict and Caketrain, and he is the author of two chapbooks, The Formulas (ELJ Publications, 2014) and Abattoir (forthcoming from Slash Pine Press). Jordan’s critical work has appeared in The Hollins Critic, Heavy Feather Review, and Alehouse, among other journals. He currently lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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