The cephalophore bears their head. Held by the hair like a lantern. Wired from scalp to forearm. Where fibres puncture the bulbous meat.
Some kind of neural information is transferred from the optical plate to the vesseled body. It is difficult to say if the mind is conscious in the brain or the body.
Or if the brain has found itself removed and reimplanted somewhere near the heart. Protected in the ribcage. Fiber-optics running down through the neck stub into the abdomen.
Where everything is protected. With plenty of bone to brunt the trauma. And fat / muscle behind that to catch whatever the bone does not.
Tongue flaying from their lips.
Resting over the width of their underbite.
The cephalophore is the head bearer. The martyr post-execution. Carrying the artifact of their death.
With their legs straddling the face of a cosmic coffin, orbiting through the vacuum. Chanting hymnal white noise. Guided by some kind of psionic radiation.
The universe is out there waiting for you / it has nothing else to do
What is your trajectory? Are you set to land on the pockmarked surface of a moon or an asteroid? Or to be swallowed by the gaseous body of a celestial giant?
There are three tiers. Each polished. Off-white. They may be made of marble or quartz or white concrete. Something that can easily be sunken into the earth.
The self-burying machine. Your weight only accelerating the descent through
What festers from the mouth of the dancing corpse? Immaculately rotted.
Something yet to grow. The seed of another planet. Something to become bulbous in its own rights. Collecting mass in the vacuum. Until it can be stood upon. Occupied. Dressed in sparse structures. An altar and a bunker.
A statue that is cephalophoric. The head held like a lantern. Projecting light [radiation] into the sky. Screeching across the sky.
A mound of soft soil to accept the coffin-vessel [the ship that carries us through space].
You’ve lost your way.
Nature does not grow dead things
The mystical does not operate in opposition to the technological. Or vice versa. They embolden one another. Amplifying an intensity and focus.
The finicky mechanisms of the organic body are stabilized with linear frames & tighter connective membranes.
[the field of occult efficiencies]
In which the cephalophore emits a promethean ray through the stars.
Thighs laid over the cold tiers of the coffin.
Green light fills the eye. Reflecting back into the crepuscular vacuum. Documenting every object. Soft floating in the void.
There is nothing to latch onto. No point of origin. No directional arrow.
The cephalophore catalogues every jagged rock and ice-form and feeds it to their abdomen. Feeding the heart or the brain. Whatever is locked under the ribcage.
You’ve lost your way
Kissing the soft mouth of the necro cosmic landscape. Whatever is out there. Dead but still moving. Efficiently dead and continuing to evolve.
Whatever is rotted can be renewed. Whatever is flatlined can be electrified.
The machine that hums through the coffin. When it finally hits exoplanetary soil.
Embedded & integrated.
The cephalophore’s art is necromancy. Naturally [ex. their self-afflicted resurrection \ the reheading of the decapitated body].
Or the de-bodied skull. An occult efficiency.
Held together by whatever psionic bounds.
The medium of the coffin intensifies the elongated fingers / digits of the cephalophore as they dig through the soil. Planting themselves somewhere much deeper. Splitting sutures in the rock.
Pulling any fleshed material. The decomposed matter of something biological [at least carbon-based] and letting accumulate like barnacles on the underside of the vessel.
A bed of calcified proteins, lipids, an informatic sludge.
Necromancy is not so much an art of resurrecting dead bodies as it is a means of revitalizing flesh / cells– the basest components of the biological.
A plant stem can be resurrected. A cell wall can be regrown.
The cephalophore grafts their will onto the dead planet
& lets their barnacles sprout.
Biotic material pours from the floral mouth.
Tightening the soil into fertile clusters. The cephalophore feeds their head to the ground. Lets their stubbed neck lay flat against the surface.
The body laying belly-down with its arm outstretched. Feeding hair and wire into the scalp as the hairs wildly flair. Writhing like tendrils. Tasting the air.
I do invite you be of my Space World
Astro thought in mystic sound
Necro luminescent bacteria rising through the dead planet. Crawling into the neck stub and turning the body into a shining lantern. The eyes and mouth of the head into a shining lantern.
Deep tendrils coil around mineral beds in the crust and drag them to the surface.
The sound of grinding / shuffling
/ a transmission across space.
Held tight against the belly’s spread of barnacles. Our coffin rests on a buried altar. Our body rests on the idol of a buried altar.
Dead planet humming a beautiful song. Sonic Delights. A wavering microtonality.
The cephalophore sutures their body to this celestial body. Letting their hairs hook onto tightened soil. Feeding the wires of their head and neck through the coffin. Treating the barnacles as sockets.
Plugging directly into the mineral bed. And letting that energy proliferate across the landscape. Until they feel at one with the planet.
Until the cephalophore has become a celestial body in their own right.
Bending the dead planet to their whim.
Mike Corrao is the author of two novels, MAN, OH MAN (Orson’s Publishing) and GUT TEXT (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, TWO NOVELS (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, SMUT-MAKER (Inside the Castle) and ANDROMEDUSA (Forthcoming – Plays Inverse); and two chapbooks, AVIAN FUNERAL MARCH (Self-Fuck) and SPELUNKER (Schism – Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. His work often explores the haptic, architectural, and organismal qualities of the text-object. He lives in Minneapolis.
*Image credit: Detail of Léon Bonnat’s ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Denis’, 1880.