The Book of Decomposition

Daniel Borzutzky

“It is in the tranquillity of decomposition that I remember the long confused emotion which was my life.”

– Samuel Beckett, Molloy

Here the reader rots alongside of the book and its characters. A man in the opening chapter pulls strands of hair off his head; the reader does the same. A man feels maggots crawling all over his skin; the reader feels the same. The book begins in a butcher shop that has been looted by poor bodies that tear out cow intestines and unravel them in the dead grass behind the butcher’s shed. The bodies see books in the intestines whose characters are their mirror images, and the bodies grow terrified of themselves. They run into the woods but they hate nature so they take shelter in the stables where rotten bodies hide in the hay. The dead bodies in this stable are countries and the protagonist says USA USA your assets are rotten you are dying and Haiti your huts have flooded and your citizens kill for bread and beans and New Orleans your bodies float in puddles of shit hey China your babies are drinking poisoned milk and Mexico your peasants cannot hear or see and in the USA the assets are rotten the Bolivians sell less coke on Wall Street the Iranians don’t have enough money to blow Israel off the map the Russians can’t build new weapons to sell to the Syrians and Venezuelans the Cuban doctors and prostitutes service bodies that live far away the nations conduct business in body parts here are the legs of our citizens we will trade you for arms and kidneys and here take these eyes and livers and give us hearts and tongues and intestines. Full stop. Period. In the end it’s unclear if it’s the reader or the characters who request some form of movement to free the bodies from the sorcery of global capital. Nevertheless, the request is granted and the book ends happily with the entrance of a saint who has so much love that he heals the sores of the bodies with his tongue and prepares them once more to succeed as cosmopolitan bodies in a ring of fantastically interconnected commerce. The book ends with a giant ejaculation behind the butcher shop where the bodies rub against each other as if there were no barriers to keep them from consummating their fiscal intimacies. And in the final scene water streams off the pages, cleansing the skin of the readers in a climax of diluvial bubbling.

Daniel Borzutzky’s books include The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat Books, forthcoming), The Ecstasy of Capitulation(BlazeVox, 2007), Arbitrary Tales (Triple Press, 2005), and the chapbooks One Size Fits All (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and Failure in the Imagination (Bronze Skull Press, 2007). He is the translator of Song for his Disappeared Love by Raul Zurita (Action Books, forthcoming); Port Trakl by Jaime Luis Huenún (Action Books, 2008); and One Year and other stories by Juan Emar, which was published as a special issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Journal publications include Fence; Chicago Review; TriQuarterly; Action, Yes; Conjunctions; Words Without Borders; Circumference; American Letters and Commentary; Mandorla; Denver Quarterly and many others. He lives in Chicago, and is a faculty member in the English Department at Wright College.  His website iswww.danielborzutzky.com .

See more of Daniel Borzutzky’s work online:

http://www.milkmag.org/BORZUTZKY9.html

http://www.diodepoetry.com/v1n3/content/borzutzky_d.html

http://www.wheelhousemagazine.com/press/BORZUTZKY.pdf

http://intranslation.brooklynrail.org/spanish/chile-is-the-name-of-my-father

Kate Zambreno will read at The Parlor Tuesday, March 2nd at 7pm!

Kate Zambreno is an editor at Nightboat Books and a former senior editor of the Chicago alt-weekly, Newcity. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The Believer, Bookforum, Rain Taxi, and elsewhere. She keeps the literary blog Frances Farmer Is My Sister at http://francesfarmerismysister.blogspot.com.

Kate will read from her debut novella O Fallen Angel (Chiasmus Press), a triptych of modern-day America set in a banal Midwestern landscape, inspired by Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion” as well as Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

Of the book the performance artist Karen Finley wrote that “Kathy Acker would be proud” and Chris Kraus compared it to Angela Carter’s fairytales.  Books will be available for sale.

Following her 30 minute reading, Kate will take questions from the audience.

As always, the event will be recorded and published on-line for your repeated listening pleasure on iTunes and at www.theparlorreads.com

All readings take place at 1511 N. Milwaukee Ave, 2nd Floor

For more information, please visit www.theparlorreads.com or contact theparlorreads@gmail.com

The Parlor is a monthly reading series sponsored by Bad At Sports Podcast (www.badatsports.com).