Lines From Magritte: (Excerpt)

Stephen Morrissey

From The Mystic Beast, Empyreal Press, Montreal, 1997:



The Forbidden Universe (or Olympia)

A man refused
transformation—"not
yet" he argued "too busy
with family, job, mother,
no time"—always he held
back, remained in
a chrysalis state,
like putrefied matter, undigested
food, or a giant tumour
in his body
clogging all arteries
that lead cosmic
energy into the central
nervous system.
For forty years
a giant organic blockage
grew in the middle
of his body
until he bulged
at the waist;
it was a tumour
on his soul
or the soul
itself expanding
disproportionate
and constricted
by its cage of ribs
and internal organs.
He was sick
with undiagnosable
illnesses, his face anguished,
even walking across
a room became difficult.
The Forbidden Universe
is like a forest bordering
on the ocean
in the imagination's
geography; there
on the sand,
a naked woman
is half sitting up,
half lying down,
a giant conch shell
balanced on her stomach.
The man who refused
transformation could not
have met this woman
before this exact moment,
the juxtaposition
of stars, moon,
a meteor with a green
tail streaking across
the sky, a glow worm
illuminating
a half inch of grass,
a child drinking
milk and then
glancing out a window,
a fly at the window,
a cat jumping onto
the couch to wash
its fur.
The man needed the woman
on the beach
if he were to live;
he thought "Every woman
is a Goddess
when desired by a man."
Every woman
is a Goddess:
milk-white breasts,
legs and hips,
fingers and toes,
the secret wonders
of a woman's body—
there is no greater
object of love
than Olympia
lying on the beach,
the shell
on her stomach,
the sea behind her.