D.E. Steward

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to misfitmagazine.net

 Wadis out to Gaza

Paprika, is a reddish orange darker and yellower than poppy, redder and deeper than fire red, scarlet vermilion or coral red

Begin to make our way out along Jacques Roubaud’s ruminement of poetry, poetry coming into being with rumination during cheminement (moving along a path)

Walk along, walk away

Through one of those super-savvy, virtually sophomoric writers’ conversations when no one knows what they are talking about

Among the sort of people you wouldn’t want to leave alone in your workroom

Crayon green, paler than apple green, greener, lighter, and stronger than pistachio, greener and deeper than ocean green

Manchego, Russian rye and a pasta salad made with sumptuous purslane and lambs-quarters, Vinho Verde

In Berkeley before the airport 

From SFO back East over Nevada, overflying Walker Lake just after gazing down at the Sierras and the huge Hawthorne Ammunition Depot

Then over eastern Utah, somewhere near the place where one summer I watched a man step out of his pickup and get hit by lightning  

Death minimally nothing more than a question of where and when   

Agape at a ROK Marine being executed by Korean MPs at the side of a road, a round from a .45 to his temple

Have found two suicides unexpectedly, one in the woods in the Virginia Blue Ridge and one in a van on a California mountain highway

And one as a seven-year-old, not unexpectedly   

“You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.” – Sven Lindqvist

Two years out of Wellesley she eased her baby carriage off the curb on Upper Broadway into a taxi’s edging slanted path 

A month after the funeral they left the city for the outer suburbs where she bore others

Complying unquestioningly with the dogged call of ontogenesis, childfree not in that generation’s vocabulary

None of her family, only her husband, learned the detailed circumstances of the baby’s death, and even he is not sure what happened

Specific events are occluded, the private and the public, no matter of what consequence

After destroying it in 1540, before he was assassinated in Lima, Pizarro piled the rubble of Inca polygonal ashlar blocks into building walls to restore Arequipa as a Christian place but we shall never know the exact why and how

Who moved all that stone, Quechua-speaking slaves, Spanish navies   

And in Cuzco there are even more colonial buildings on Inca foundations and walls

In the manner of Venetian buildings in Dalmatia incorporating Roman remains 

On the ruins of where we live now others will build

And will be quizzical about our pretentious vanities

They will build anew on top of Las Vegas, Singapore, Shanghai, Torremolinos, Houston, Canary Warf, Tokyo-Yokohama, Waikiki, maybe even Paris and Rome

Overflying allows direct understanding of what is there but not the reasons for

Santo Domingo appears to be terracotta brown-red-brown from ten thousand meters even though typically doors in its barrios are painted housefly-countermeasure blue

All that life down there, all those people, all that latinidad

The next-generation’s middle infielders of San Pedro de Macorís just off the left wing

The blueness of the open Caribbean awes

In the manner of the high plains from a winter East-to-West-Coast North American flight

A whole ground-snow night continent, Yankton on the Missouri, Ogallala, the Uncompahgre Plateau, Lake Powell, to crimson bougainvillea on a San Diego hill

And San Diego’s own Pacific blue

Metastasizing suburban density around and behind the whole of the Santa Monica Bight

California’s thirty-eight million plus

Teal is variable color but always a dark greenish blue greener, lighter, and stronger than teal blue and not as strong as drake

Few colors more vivid that a green-winged teal’s speculum in acute-angled direct sunlight, that green wing patch of theirs 

Santa Monica is coming up reseda green  

Inland the sprawl pushes back against the mountain chaparral, uprooting and having engulfed the fabled old citrus groves on the way upslope  

The vision of symmetrical green orange and lemon groves from the San Gabriel escarpment to nearly Long Beach lasted for not even two generations

By the time the Austrian turned citrus farmer was an old man his American wife’s family groves were gone, subdivided and paved

Only their 1920s house remains, on an alluvial hill of river gravel with big eucalypti posted around below the San Gabriel Canyon’s wash

Eventually the old Austrian put a house trailer on his acres in the hills behind San Diego and spent most of his last days there planting a new grove

One 1950s summer he went to a week’s reunion with his brothers on the old family farm on the Austrian-Italian frontier

One brother and his family came to it from Pôrto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul

Another only had to drive to the Bahnhof to meet the visitors

A go-along-to-get-along Nazi, that brother had survived in a recon unit on the Bessarbian Front and returned to the family’s Carinthian farm after the War 

The only brother not there, who had been a student communist, vanished in the camps somewhere early on

A Hungarian refugee appeared at the door of the big house in California in 1948 to describe how he had been with the lost brother in 1944 on a prison train strafed and derailed by the RAF in East Prussia

At the Carinthian reunion, even in the immediate family no one brought up the youthful politics of either the old Nazi or the lost brother

“The history of European countries abounds in misfortune, and I have no intention of entering into competition over horrors” – Czeslaw Milosz

Paprika, ideology, Sten guns and camps

Intense bipolarity continues on, Sunni-Shia, Islamic-Israeli

Israeli blue, Islamic green

El Aqsa Mosque in El Quds Esh Sherif, Jerusalem

The center point of the ancient highways

Take the one south to Hebron and Beersheba, then follow the wadis out to Gaza

Much rumination

Walk along those paths then walk on away


D. E. Steward writes serial month-to-month poems with 353 months to date, has published many of them and a lot of fiction and poetry, along with a novel, Contact Inhibition (1985), before he began on his months project thirty years ago. Evan S. Connell’s seminal Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel and Peter Handke’s Paris writing got him started on the months project. A book of the first 72 months, Chroma, is in press at Archae Editions, 2017.