GREEN DETECTIVES (Excerpt) by Mike Corrao
I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK
at dinner parties as well
as Nicanor Parra,
with his hoarse voice,
and dry tongue.
I could bathe in the words,
which would smell like
lavender and honey,
that sticks to the skin
as the body
is tarred and feathered
and its contents are removed.
I will attempt to give my own speech,
after dinner of course,
and to match the kind of meaningful,
or completely unmeaningful,
power that Nicanor Parra himself,
can grasp at a whim.
THE TITLE OF THIS SPEECH
may come as a mystery to some of you
and admittedly, this is my intention.
I’ve created a new word, AMACANAL
which right now means nothing at all.
It is a feat of architecture,
the most robust and sturdy word
of which I could conceive.
Held in place by equidistant columns.
Where each A is given enough space to breathe,
but not to disappear.
I hope for this to be a robust and sturdy
speech, capable of holding itself together,
as I usually am not.
I OFTEN IMAGINE
this word, and this speech by proxy,
as my only contribution to literature,
as I do not have the capacity to think
or speak for very long.
I CAN ONLY SPEAK AS MYSELF
I don’t have the same talent
that other artists do,
when it comes to the consuming
of foreign bodies
and filling myself with what
I want this speech to be about many things
I want you to experience the mystical,
to speak out of the stump of your neck
and to look at your head which has rolled away
to see an alley of larches in Antwerp,
kids cowering under moonlight,
the guts of the vacated cavity,
empty throats lined with teeth,
the godhead, his disciples, my intentions,
I OFTEN IMAGINE
Mr. Parra, who I know would not like me,
as a grotesque and massive body, as Saturn
devouring his children,
and in this image, I am the unidentified body
whose head he has already torn off
and whose arm he is in the midst of consuming.
I would like for this image to be true,
and for my heroes, who would not like me,
to discard my being and use it for sustenance.
let me direct your attention somewhere else,
to a different painting,
now of a young Somali woman who lives
ten minutes away from me by the Riverside Plaza.
She said to me,
“They tried to rip me apart.
They tore open my stomach to remove the guts,
and found a baby inside.
They took her out and sewed the guts
back into my abdomen.”
“I think that they only put me back
together after they realized that there
was someone inside of me,
to witness what they had done.”
WE FOUND A CHEAP FLIGHT
to Chile so that she could lie low
for the next couple of weeks.
I DO NOT WANT TO
change my appearance here,
but I would like to propose a new
kind of body, likely one that already
(one that does not contain phallus
which does not live in spectacle
or under restriction of sign
and signifier, that instead lingers
with a haptic aura
cyborgean in its multitudes,
grooves that form along the skin.)
AMACANAL IS DAMN STURDY
and it may have its flaws, like the C and L
which cannot be asked to hold anything
heavier than a cellphone,
but it is the kind of physique that I would like
to see more of.
There’s no flesh along the sides,
no kind of nonsense to pull it apart.
I’m yet to know what it means, or if it should
even mean anything at all, but regardless
of whichever conclusions arise,
I will always find pleasure in its image.
THEN THEY CAME TO CHILE
and began asking around La Reina,
holding up pictures of the young Somali woman
with her guts spilled out, and then her baby,
and the stomach stapled shut.
Luckily, no one had seen us and we were
able to fly off and hide away.
in Argentina instead,
where Dadaists wait to die.
AND THEN THEY SHOT YOUR COUSIN
which opened up space in the universe
for spectres and deities to begin speaking
speaking and then shouting
about anything that came to mind
everything meaningless, or unmeaningful,
the way the dead poet might’ve preferred
THERE WAS TALK OF
Mexicans lost in Mexico
Disappearing yoni and phallus
Chimeras climbing on tenants
Bad declarations after dinner
Morgan Parker and Claudia Rankine
The Riverside Plaza
Ticket stubs in trash cans
Americans lost in America
Shivering light bulbs
Shallow opinions (my own)
Deer running in the alley of larches
Chilean poets who didn’t write
People who don’t look like themselves
Jean Cocteau eating his paintings
Periods of color
approach the dinner table and possess the body,
they absorb what is between his legs (my own)
and dance around like the children outside.
I feel absurd and gleeful,
seemingly out of nowhere,
maybe with the good word that she might
be put back together
or made out of new parts.
THEY TOLD ME ABOUT
Impossible plays performed by
Rappers who look like deities
People who worship their good books
My own physique
Where it came from
The dust between my skin and my bones
Strangers who disguise themselves
Photographers who follow me
Black paintings of flowers
People who make art with their hands
Men who fuck as if it feels good
Postcards received from the kind woman
Her unknown whereabouts
Something hopeful and something not
THE MOON SAYS,
“Every body is holy. With long strides
and skin that softens the grooves of the flesh
and hides the fibrous strands of muscle.”
Then a stranger (from La Reina) replies,
“There will be a postcard in the mail,
to tell you where we have scattered your innards,
and how you can get them back.”
I realize that this has all gotten
too off-track, maybe even irredeemably so,
but I feel obligated to continue nonetheless.
A POSTCARD HAS ARRIVED
You will find your intestines under the first A
Your stomach under the second
Your liver under the third
Your lungs under the fourth
That should be enough to put you back
I MUST CONFESS
that I do not know where to go from here.
I thought that someone would interrupt our dinner
or that a note would suddenly arrive,
but neither of these events have happened.
Instead, I think this is our end.
If I cannot be stopped now, then I worry
that I will not stop until I have
consumed the entire planet
and Icarus has consumed the sun.
A NOTE HAS ARRIVED
“It would have been better if he’d said nothing at all
or wandered away from the table
or muttered nonsense under his breath.”
And just then,
the Nicanor Parra Saturn appears
out of his fantasy
and gnaws the poet’s head off
of his body.
And the poet cries with glee.
Mike Corrao is the author of Man, Oh Man (Orson's Publishing, 2018) and Gut Text (11:11 Press, 2019). His work has been featured in publications such as Entropy, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. He lives in Minneapolis where he earned his B.A. in film and English literature at the University of Minnesota. Learn more at www.mikecorrao.com.
Author photo credit: Rob Prochnow