Rewriting the dead in Pedro Lemebel's "Las amapolas también tienen espinas" (1995)
"La pena por el pene,” says the speaker of Pedro Lemebel’s violently erotic chronicle “Las amapolas también tienen espinas” (157). If this pen were not immediately evocative of the male member, the speaker’s alliterative verbal strokes make the comparison explicit: in Lemebel’s sentence “physical affliction” and the pen run in exchange for (“por”) the phallus. In a chronicle detailing the assignation and murder of a young Santiago loca, metaphor and verbal exchanges like this one “dress up” the text’s multiple, reticular meanings as much as they lay bare the tensions between desire and excess; attraction and seduction; deadly violence and the process of writing as re- presentation. Pleasure and pain, for the speaker, are as tactile as they are gustatory, auditory, linguistic. Exploring how Lemebel brings representation and reinterpretation to an unnamed loca’s stabbing in his chronicle is also as much ethically important as it is fraught with pain when recognizing the material reality of homophobia in Santiago following the end of Chile’s military dictatorship (1973-90).