main menu  |  <previous next>



Steven J. Stewart



Working Backwards


To begin with the dog and work backward:
"Dog" refers to the problematics of unmasking
realism. This unmasking has been called
"walking the dog," an activity that has evolved

to the point that its broadest solution is death.
The dog's triumph is an emotional montage,
the triumph of the outburst. Modern innovations
in metaphysics are referred to as the "appropriate

care and feeding of the dog." Pure continuity
only exists in the absence of the dog, the absence
of all human terms. This goes beyond the mechanical
background hypotheses. The fluctuating strangeness

of intention establishes the dog's radical meaning,
which causes an explosion of bona fide
revolution, working against a vital, maturing
objectivity. The dog is more a connection

than an adornment--it shifts ramification away from
ambiguity. Art is the appropriate form of ideology
to adopt in this circumstance,
as long as the dog is not depicted.





Think of packing an elephant up
the mountain I don't know elephants
only tiny ones I hold in my hand
Think of erasing yourself
like a chalkboard I read
about a mystic once who did that
but I'm afraid it would hurt
Think of a bell big as existence
I believe existence is the ringing of God's bell
so that makes no sense
Think of October rain melting the ice
you put up I don't want October rain
I need this ice
Think of sentient oil being pumped out
of deserts to be burned I can't
take so much burning don't ask me to think
of oil or deserts
Think of that elephant I won't




A Gypsy Girl Has Inexplicably Fallen

She fell, clattered an artless dance, the body
struggling against invisible, ordinary-sized
floorboards. What floorboards? A pulsing red
echo demanded a christening of clouds,
urine-stained cement, ardent struggle,
endless vigil, like what happens inside a cup of soda.

She became a bayonet dwindling through
layered crystal. The horses in her brain pulled
the corners of the galaxy inside, all moving
at a hard spark from the instant of release.
She shunned offers of refuge with the rivets
in her eyes and was encompassed by a dilemma
of uncaring, lunatic battles of air.
Winged orange flowers bloomed out and downward,
every twist irregular, each swirl a set-up.

There was no hiding, no harmony.
Her vertical consensus was wrecked by a small shift
in a stab downward. The intruder was an outlaw
dressed in the black tips of her shoes,
the volatile weather. He lifted her head, lifted silences,
zigzags, and rapid curves. Everything you thought
you knew was lifted: the white strings of the eyelids,
oxygen, the girl, darkness.






Steven J. Stewart lives in Reno, NV with his wife and two children. His poems and translations appear in numerous publications, including Crazyhorse, Atlanta Review, jubilat, Hotel Amerika, Seneca Review, Hanging Loose, Xconnect, Apalachee Review, Runes Review, and Poetry Daily. His book of translations of Spanish poet Rafael Pérez Estrada is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press in 2003. He is currently finishing book-length manuscripts of translations of the work of Spanish poets Carlos Edmundo de Ory and Angel Crespo.



main menu  |  <previous next>