Nail Chiodo

What the Whale Said


“Only poetry can save us.” — Martin Heidegger

* “the Whale”: originally a fish that evolved into a land-treading mammal only to then return to the sea, it is the nickname given to the author–who left Europe to go to the United States only to finally return to the Old Continent–by the American poet Gregory Corso.

Ah Manhattan, with your condominiums
Taller than Tuscan hills and hilltop towns,
With your mighty columns, none in ruin!
I stood inside you with just boxers1 on
Battling words and silence; from the radiators,
Siphons2 let out steam superbly
Into the one’s3 and my one room.
She insisted on sincerity; I, on truth:
In the blast, blades were ultimately produced.
I left like a missile from Baikonur4.
Judging from my feelings now and what I see,
Contemporary history begs more humour!
I shall retire to the Black Forest5,
Do time amid the pine and books.

  1. “underpants”.

  2. many older buildings in New York City have antiquated heating systems, with siphons to let out excess steam from the radiators.

  3. colloquialism, “the wife’s”.

  4. Soviet space-launching center in Kazakhstan.

  5. the mountainous Schwarzwald in southwestern Germany.