Deceiver's World

Mihail Gălăţanu

A Church of Chalk
(My Mother)

I forgot how the starry womb looked inside. All I remember is that it seemed like a church, a church of chalk, like the chalk churches in Dobrogea. It looked sweet, like a small chapel with a fluted dome. When I say sweet, I mean burnt sugar.

It was a chapel that blossomed overnight, iridescent across our earthly world.
Arch by arch the vault was woven – that was my only sky, the only sky I can remember.
So many years have passed, thirty-nine of them, now all the paint has dried out.
Second by second, it crumbled inside.
And I'm altogether crumbled within it.
In this way, my mother remains forever in me.
In this way, I remain forever in my mother.


Come into the world,
The Tempter cries to me.
Come into the world, he whispers in my ear.
Come – and, my son, I'll grant you youth without old age.
And life without death.
You forget one thing, I reply to him: Father, I'm not the son
Of this world.


Come, come into the world,
The Whisperer whispers.
Come into the world,
How beautiful the world is,
How perverse,
See the irises sway
In the April breezes.

Look at the world's thighs
And juicy breasts,
Big and juicy like pomegranates,
Ready to cure old men's oozing gums,
Ready to cure all men's oozing gums
And their red rheumy eyes,
Their eyes infected with every eye disease,
And their rheumy lives,
Their lives infected with every life disease.

Come into the world, come!
Join life and see the wonderful ass this whore of a world has,
What a well-rounded fundament,
What a wonderful mausoleum –
Where you'll be consigned,
Where I'll be enshrined.

Deceiver, all these
Are instruments of torture, I reply.
The breasts are iron tongs
That squeeze pleasure out of us
And snatch us from the breasts of peace, the true and the divine.

Oh, the belly, too, even the pubis,
That suck you from within, take you captive,
Thus you must enter the first woman you meet.
Sin sucks you in,
Exhausts you.
And you can never get away.

3.    Deceiver, Take Back Your World

Deceiver, take back your temptations,
Take back your temptations.
Deceiver, I don't need them.
I don't need you.

Take back your blue skies
And the flowers that smell so sweet.
Take back your calyxes & women in which the perfume
Of folliculin casts its shadow.
Take back the earth altogether, on which I cast my shadow in vain.

4.    "The World Will Be No More, for My Thought Keeps It Going"

Deceiver, here amidst your trees,
I will no longer stay.
For, Deceiver, I go forth to join God.

I still can do one thing for you, Deceiver: take you with me.
God is All-Forgiving, He will have pity
even on you.
Deceiver, leave your world – come along with me.
Leave your world, for your mere thought can hardly keep it going.

5.    My Birth Is Endless

I never suffered claustrophobia. I never felt the least claustrophobic in my mother's womb. Neither lonely nor downcast. How can you feel lonely when you're inside another, a woman?
When another being takes you in, contains you?
At most, you can be
I never was a claustrophobe.
My life had a happy ending.
And my birth is endless.


I'm born from everything, repeatedly, obstinately, suddenly,
Completely, I'm born from every valid mother.
Every woman hastens to give birth to me.
Every woman offers to rend open her belly to encompass me,
to take me in.
To lay siege to me.
I'm under attack.
I'm surrounded. Completely surrounded. By women.

Every woman hastens to press her breasts to my mouth,
So I won't be without sustenance,
Won't starve, won't suffer,
So I'll have something to suck.
Every woman hastens to press her vagina upon me,
So I've got something to part, something to thrust into,
Something to make pregnant,
Something to conceive.

(When I was younger, I'd have said: something to fuck.)

But now, I'm less a man,
More an angel.

6.    (Every Woman Comes to Me)

Every woman comes to me, takes me by the hand and says:
Be my lawful man
and at the same time, be my son, the one not yet given,
be my father
and the father of my father
and the father of my mother
be, in turn,
all the men who embrace me. Gather round me,
pay court to me,
besiege me.

Be the man,
the only man


I'm born of every woman, and even more,
of all women at once. I'm born every moment
everywhere on earth. No one is born apart from me, ever.

7.    I'm Born Before the Moon Sets

I'm the perpetual newborn. Newborn forever. The newborn
by profession. I'm born before the moon sets.

I'm born and I die before the moon sets.

8.    From My Mother's Womb I Looked at the World
(I Never Dreamt I'd Be Male)

From my mother's womb I looked at the world
as through a window.
The world seemed small and chaste.
The world seemed ugly sometimes, beautiful other times.
Oh, there were so many occasions for wonder!

From my mother's womb I watched the snow fall.
I watched wars snow upon the world. I kept under observation
and integrated in the system the foamy sea.

From my mother's womb the world seemed a dream. Intended deliberately to tempt me.
As if from time to time it declared:
Come, joke-joke! Come out, little joker!
But I couldn't be deceived at all.
I couldn't be lured.
I just stayed there, giggling, knees to my chin.
I never dreamt I'd be male.

9.    A Crust of Rays

My womb has its sun. The womb in which I stay is lighted. Mother
is my womb's sun. A second sun, an interior sun,
the God inside my mother. The sun in my mother light's womb.
Mother is made of rays. Mother is sewn from rays.
Mother is a crust. Of rays. Everyone is lighted, in their turn,
by their God. From my mother light and heat radiate.
At the same time, Mother's my beach. I'm lying
on one of her folds
on an edge
on her sweet-fragile-crisp sand
and get a tan from her.
From her light.
And from her God, who lights up inside her.

translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and Petru Iamandi