The Yoni Rocks, 1993

by Stephen Morrissey,
68 pages,
ISBN: 092185207X

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Brief Reviews
by Judith Fitzgerald

Reading Stephen Morrissey's second instalment of The Shadow Trilogy, The Yoni Rocks (Empyreal Press, 68 pages, $12 paper) painfully recalls Robert Graves's indictment of mechanically tooled lyric practitioners geared to mumbly-jumbly deathless dynamics. The myth-grammarian lamented the paucity of poetic vision and passion among those wishing to magically render lip-service glory to one exacting muse in their bare spare time.

The Yoni Rocks commences with its title sequence, concludes with "The Heart of the Goddess", and comprises twenty deviations on exalted confessional (and perfectly professional) themes cribbed, one assumes, from a proof-writer's style sheet containing buzz-words relevant to the indistinguishable author-narrator's repetitive grievances and regrets, pivoting upon "the yawning mouth of death" and "earth/ opening its yawning maw/ so we all slip through/ the cracks" and spun with "a single thread of feeling/ woven in time, woven in a fabric/ of living and dying, grief and remorse,/ love that is better than life and death..."

Mr. Morrissey assembles careless syncretic amalgamations-from Woden to Wordsworth-to underpin his theses, espoused in pedantic and pedestrian paeans to the "womb, vulva, place of birth, source, origin, abode, home, nest," and muse, all in the name of his inadvertently blasphemed Goddess.

These didactic diatribes may sell well among the women-loving groupified men's set; however, it's difficult to imagine such sloppy mush and gush-golly-geeism passing itself off as explorations in "deeply felt areas of experience" commanding the attention of even the most enlightened worshipper of same.

From the silly similes ("like fallen tin soldiers") littering its pages, to its capricious error of grammar and syntax, to its sloppy choppy line-breaks and recklessly mixed metaphors, the collection's proclivity for falling between the obscene cracks and tedious "silver tracks" of the pain train simply reinforces Mr. Morrissey's disregard for poetry's art and craft in favour of formlessness and myth-conceptions cloaked in the kind of pop-psych pseudo-guruism that reminds readers life's a bitch unless you cruise and use the muse, a given taken for granted in the preciously self-absorbed whine line, "Heartsore for You":

"I drew a line across my life/ and feared old age, loneliness,/ homelessness: Life a mad design. Life a confusion of lines./ Life broken on the rocks of/ feeling too much... Heartsore from missing you: tonight play those/ old country and western songs, Hank Williams and/ Patsy Cline. I am heartsore for you..."

Oh Goddess! Is nothing sacred in this ubiquitously banal me-too view?

J. F.


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