cover image Jazzercise Is a Language

Jazzercise Is a Language

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague. The Operating System, $18 trade paper (122p) ISBN 978-1-946031-19-8

Spandex, identity, and Richard Simmons come together thigh-to-thigh in this second collection from Ojeda-Sague (Oil and Candle), a hypnotic testimony to the potential for physical and psychic liberation. Color, gender, sexuality, and body type bind the speaker’s desire to position self-image as a means to escape a mind that is an “inconsolable/ portrait hoping/ for protection/ from an empty room.” Throughout, Ojeda-Sague both reveres the refuge offered by 1980s Jazzercise videos and brings attention to the subtle forms of oppression underlying the ostensibly benign concept of group exercise. He describes the cognitive dissonance of wanting “power over men and to have their power over me,” acknowledging his physical obedience to “the man behind the counter who believes in sainthood.” Examining how convoluted standards of beauty are abided by in pursuit of temporary power, Ojeda-Sague pokes fun at the frivolity of such expressions: “she’s blonde but only on video: blonde even to the roots: blonde in the way only blonde is blonde: blonde in a way that can save the world.” Readers beware—this fluid, prophetic transcription of electric impulses has few borders and contains the capacity for stimulus overload. Ojeda-Sague’s kaleidoscopic work reveals a thoroughly atavistic, frenetic, and unfettered vision of what poetry can be. (Apr.)