Divorce Procedures for the Hairdressers of a Metallic and Inconstant Goddess by Justin Isis, if you can’t tell from the title, is a self-consciously strange little book, and a reasonable reflection of its maker. Isis’s biography inside the cover begins, “Justin Isis has worked as a model, consultant, rapper and visual artist and currently heads the Tokyo Black Lodge occult group.” These diverse and eccentric identities all leave their fingerprints on this collection, a feverish, technicolor tumble of sensory provocations and intricate confusions.
The theme of the book seems to be its imagery itself, imagery in service of itself and its own constructed confection. The book is a blinking high altar to the mad scientist creative impulses of its creator’s vision of the modern world. While reading this I had images of the guitarist suspended on the front of the war machine in Mad Max:Fury Road, the Parisian hairdresser in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, Chris Tucker’s frenetic MC in The Fifth Element, and several other characters from popular films, which is fitting, because this book is nothing if not visual. Baubles abound, roiling and glittering and shimmering in the light of the goddess whose heart throbs beneath the skin of this thin ode to her unconscionable and unrepentant beauty. It’s a weird book, and it bows before its own weirdness. It is Egyptian myth as told by Japanese game shows, the internet’s cacophony as explained by a book of runes.
“Immerse these priests once more in your celestial video
game vistas of ambulant angles and stuttering stars.”
At times the book surfaces for air and its images align to coherently address aspects of modern life, as here where it looks at the vacant realities of the modern western dream:
“I guess we got distracted by that mission they gave us
about finding the meaning of life. Our research team
scored the answer
which had something to do with Love, Family and
showing up at appointed places at appointed times
so capitalism could run smoothly”
Or here, when discussing the difficulty of pursuing spiritual meaning
“on a scheduled payment plan
in inclement weather
surrounded by content specialists
gross minor kindnesses
and small independent presses.”
But for the most part, the book is a morass of melted gummy bear incantations and alliterating, glorious, sentient nonsense. The senses are teased, and many verses are sexual, but the sensually is spiced a little too sweetly; sickly, overripe, possibly turned, but still beckoning.
What is this book about? I have no fucking idea. I suspect Justin Isis isn’t entirely sure either. He’s followed a capricious muse here, a multi-racial goddess with hair product bottles for canopic jars and internet arcades for temples. He isn’t much more sure than we are where she’s led him, but there are dream sequences, cotton candy, nightmare monsters, and iPhone games, and isn’t that enough anymore?