luxuriant leprosy of the vegetable kingdom

Soon began the glorious days of autumn particularly unmistakable in the melancholy curve that the sun, already noticeable lower over the horizon, drew across the sky in whose calm expanses, as though constantly swept by a wonderfully pure wind, its golden trace seemed to linger like a magnificent ship’s wake, and hardly had it turned its course toward the horizon than the moon, as though suspended to the beam of a celestial balance, appeared against the blue light of day with the ghostly glow of an unexpected star, whose malignant influence would now, of itself alone, explain the sudden, strange, and half-metallic alterations of the leaves of the forest whose surprising red and yellow brilliance burst out everywhere with the irrepressible vigour, the fulminating contagion of a luxuriant leprosy of the vegetable kingdom.

Julien Gracq, The Castle of Argol (a most curious book, and one filled with what would become Gracq’s signature lush descriptions of Nature as a possibly supernatural force. In particular he seems to have a thing for forests…reading his forested prose turns hypnotic after a time. See also: A Balcony in the Forest.)

[Review here.]

september psithurism

psithurism n.  sound of wind whispering in the trees.

And thus waking to the first instance of psithurism born of a cool breeze do we now herald the arrival of autumn, though the equinox is yet seven days hence. Get thee behind us, summer, and yield the stage to your more attractive successor. Thank you.

field report 3

Today the clouds demand close observation. Why is everyone not looking at the clouds. Absurd. All colors today are vivid: the dark and choppy white-flecked waters of the harbor, the green sloping lawn of the former Civil War lookout, the red of the restaurant roof below it. Now is the time when the first psithuristic hints of the autumnal approach appear. Observance and acknowledgment of this occurrence is essential.

A passing child of about 7 says, apropos of nothing: ‘I hope I get a lawnmower soon…a real one…vrrrrrm [presumed lawnmower noises].’ His family chooses not to acknowledge this proclamation. Theory: this is not the first time it has been uttered.

A large black dog (LBD) enjoys the grassy, treed oasis behind the seafood restaurant, complacently chewing a tennis ball as its person paces in circles while jabbering on her mobile phone.

Shirtless males run on the promenade.

Tourists relentlessly take photos of a boat, the so-called ‘Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor,’ by far the most photographed object in the vicinity.

My doppelgänger walks by, as he is wont to do.

Midway through the reading period, sudden drama rushes in when cigar-smoking man (CSM) arrives on his bicycle, only to find LBD lying in the exact spot where he traditionally sets up his legless portable chair. For a few moments the air crackles with anticipation. However, this soon dissipates as, undaunted, CSM approaches the occupied territory and sets up his chair immediately adjacent to LBD. Soon, the fragrant scent of cigar smoke floats upon the strong breeze as CSM cracks open his book, occasionally casting a shrewd eye upon LBD, who pants in patient oblivion as its owner continues chattering.

On the return trip, while walking, a man pauses to execute a precise ballet move: a half-knee bend followed by a jump in place, arms outstretched. The grace of this move is surprising given the man’s overall GISS. He then taps a light pole with the thick book in his left hand. Further on, he thumps the book in his hand like a revival preacher, resulting in a few turned heads. A strong temptation rises to follow him for research purposes, but alas, recess is over.

a knoblike process

Creeping crepuscule, descrescent light, harbinger of dreaded return to EST, where darkness dampens day’s early end. Decumbent drone diminishes daily, drowsy in the drawing room. Sip long from murky melodies, muddy froth spilling forth in rivulets, dirgeful delights diverging in drone’s ear canals. Mellifluous miasma of musical melancholia!

Dismantling of outdoor seating commences! Desperate attempts to affect staring at nothing continues. Doctor Chumply the Mouth Breather appears, Mickey D’s in hand, heart-attack-in-waiting, following with tiny aggrieved steps the trail of nitroglycerin tablets strewn across the decking. Take the elevator, not the stairs, for they are locked, despite the sign in the kitchen encouraging good health through stairs-taking. O, Dr. Chumply, what will become of you, will you follow those tablets to the Haunted Wood™ where the witch stokes her stove as she awaits your fleshly delights.

[But Christine, what of loneliness, standing there behind the invisibility cloak, always working, always writing, what did engagement mean for you, O Invisible Author, did you drape yourself in a duvet woven with words…]

Glossary

lumpfish: Any of various fishes of the family Cyclopteridae, especially Cyclopterus lumpus of North Atlantic waters, having pelvic fins united to form a suction disk and a body bearing prominent tubercles.

tubercle: A small, rounded prominence or process, such as a wartlike excrescence on the roots of some leguminous plants or a knoblike process in the skin or on a bone.

Quick now! Homophone challenge question: would you rather your words resonate or resinate. Think about it while staring into the clouds.

pictures of you

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Attachment fantasy.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

What’s underneath.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Forest confection.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Broken bones.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Bear urinal.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Self-portrait.

the one and the other go for a walk

How long can we keep going on like this? the one moaned.

What do you mean? asked the other.

You know what I mean, said the one.

Well, we can’t just abolish Mondays. Besides, even if we did, we would just have the same problem with Tuesdays now, wouldn’t we, said the other.

Why are you always so rational? complained the one.

It’s just how I am, said the other.

What if we just scrambled all the days together. What if, what if…we just took away their names and mixed them all up in a bucket and dumped them back out…do you think that would do something? asked the one hopefully.

The other’s fingers formed a tent.

I have an idea, said the other. Why don’t we take a walk?

Well, okay, said the one.

They stepped outside. The one sniffed the air.

It seems quite unlike a Monday out here, said the one.

How so? asked the other.

It just smells different, replied the one.

The other breathed in deeply and exhaled.

I smell fall, said the other.

Ooh, yes, that’s it! cried the one.

Fall doesn’t mean Mondays are going away, you know, said the other cautiously.

I know, said the one. But it’s something, isn’t it?

Yes, it is definitely something, said the other.

More of The One and the Other.

angel giants stomp with long necks stretched

I dream about people I don’t even know, sometimes after I think about them so so much that I feel like I almostbutnotquite know them. I dream about people I know and my dream-mind puts them in places I know well, but then they are different…there’s a stream, for instance. The landlord is a squat petty thug and the place is a dump and I’m wondering why my friends want to rent it, other than that they are cheap and like old rotting buildings and, oh, there’s a girl using a sewing machine in the basement. We see her in the picture window as we walk by. Everyone waves. And I guess that is reason enough. I ask my friend if the landlord will clean up the place first and he says no. There is clothing lying on the floor and junk everywhere. That night we have an “art party” there. I don’t even know what an art party is, but apparently it is pretty crazy. People were walking on the walls. It may have been dark and people may have been glowing. Later I wake up (for real) with a staggering cramp in my left calf. Probably all that wall-walking with necrotic dream limbs. Waking life, hmph. There is a light that never goes out there is a light that never goes out there is a light that never goes out. Glad that’s off my sunken ship of a chest. Anyway, I’m climbing up this rocky incline to get to the stream above. When I get there I yell down to the others. There’s no bank up there. The water almost sloshes over the side. This is on a street I used to ride my bike on all the time. There is no stream. A map of my town imprinted on my brain at some point. My dream self makes good use of it. More interesting now than it used to be. Or maybe everything gets less interesting as we get older. Try to surprise me. It can’t be done. I dare you. Outside dreams, of course. The other night an industrial toaster suddenly fell out of a ceiling panel in the dream room next to me, followed by the man there to install it. That surprised me.

Three years before his death at age 41 Franz Kafka wrote in his diary, “I have seldom, very seldom, crossed this borderland between loneliness and fellowship.” He was speaking of his refusal throughout life to accept offers that would open the door to social, even public life. That is what I do. I refuse offers. I am a refuser. Of offers. I listen to dark wave and brood instead. I am a brooder. A refuserbrooder. I concentrate on shunning contact.

The summer is a slow time. But what happens when autumn comes. What happens then. Everything begins to die, that’s what. It’s delicious. The earth opens its pores and accepts all this decaying matter into itself. Nutrients are restored. Birds collect dried seeds from dead flowerheads. The trees remove their clothing with no trace of shame. Their spindly exposed limbs shake and shiver in the October winds. The days shorten and the light takes on a golden cast. All my dendrites tingle. Sleep comes on deeper and shrugs off slower.

As I spun the pedals closer to my building this morning I caught the scent of roasting coffee on the morning breeze. And I forgot about all the fool drivers I’d not so gladly suffered on my ride. Maybe there is an antidote for every poison shoved down our throats. Maybe it takes a lifetime to find them all.

new arrival

Just heard my first cicada of the year! Summer has officially started. Just in case the blistering heat around here hadn’t already tipped everyone off.

When does fall start again?

hello october my old friend

Overhead geese honk against gun metal gray sky. I yearn to fly with them, wherever they are headed. Rooted to one spot but still rootless I remain. Is this some flaw of mine, or of my chosen substrate. And so the geese tempt me once again. The primal urge to shift with the seasons, in body as in mind. I wonder will it haunt me to the end of my allotted days.

this just in: subtle schedule shift forces new cracks in worn shellac

The pendulum swings upward again. Remember a sky of polished stone. The tree of many birds. Cracked sidewalks underfoot while perched alone at the end of the earth. How hard it is clawing our way up to have a look around. How sweet the first taste of syrupy mania when we finally do. Tap your foot to the mighty dirge. Scream ’til you’re hoarse inside. Run until your soul leaves your body and then keep on running until it returns. Record your dreams and re-read them until you understand. Untether yourself from what you think matters and wait for a sign. Pay attention to the crows circling above at dusk. Their presence is no coincidence. And neither is yours.

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