Verbal Clouds Through Various Magritte Skies has much in common with the works that it addresses; like a Magritte, these lyrics appear at first glance almost ordinary, but upon closer inspection reveal distortions and unexpected turns. They do not bring the paintings to anything so quotidian as Life, but rather they bring them to Dream, wherein the speaker of the poems dwells. Like a Magritte, these poems reach searching hands toward the dim flame of the enigma of human experience. Campiglio's surrealism rearranges the normally mute trappings of daily life into configurations that adumbrate something deeper and higher. They are paintings on the reverse side of Magritte's eye-mirror; peer into them as you would your own.
135 RUE ESSEGHEM
by Stephen Campiglio
When the blinds are open, it becomes apparent
that the house is a museum; when closed,
the museum, a house
where the living room doubles as a studio.
The paintings are animate lodgers, thinking windows
on the walls; Magritte’s medium, thought itself.
Today’s canvas bears a leaf the size
of a tree or a tree in the shape of a leaf.
A calculated conflict.
On the chessboard, a magic game called Alice
has effectively ended without a trace,
and the chairs are imprinted with the black sun of melancholy.
Squares of loss, escape, salvation, conquest, and no hope
stand ready for another game.
On the table, an old letter by Paul Nougé that René
has been rereading, dated between the great wars,
declares that an unending state of war must be maintained
within and around themselves.
In the hallway a storm of breath, blood and nerves
continually forms and dissipates.
Magritte, a nondescript visitor to the museum
that is also his house, a restless lodger
in his own house that is also a museum,
dwells upon an exquisite problem for his next painting:
he paints his hand in order to have a hand
to hold the brush and paint Georgette
whose presence transforms his disquiet into mystery—
these provocations that incite his vocation.