D.E. Steward

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Alternate Facts

Poetic source is the changing world of ostensibly limitless oceans and clouds, mountains and plains, light and shade, colors and tones that gratify and stun

With varieties of human experience inhabiting, to the deepest canyons of imagination

Under the arch of our pensive, shadowy vast of pre-literate awareness

And in the arrogance of our technologies, awareness now becomes a world of complexities and combinations until now beyond full comprehension


Pound’s “dance of intellect among words”  (as Cesare Pavese underlined)

Not a crouching in self-existence, but climbing high to look into a mountain valley with a little river flashing silver below

Or as sitting within a passive dynamic mood and tenor of a serene Quaker silent meeting

Tenebrismo, intense as a tight Caravaggio focus LED reading light

Or a low December sun’s piercing shadows 

“Why does a river meander anyway”  (Colin Simms)

Stretching out as those high terraces along the Upper Missouri Breaks

Against a Montana sky like Kazakhstan’s

“The Missouri breaks.     Braided the land slips into the stream”  (Colin Simms, The American Poems)


Late afternoon and majestic skeins of Canada geese move up river out off the bluffs into the wind carinae pitched high, calling, calling, calling, and one bird drops off, banks, and turns back startingly alone


A light juvenile broad-winged hawk flashes across, alone after migration, most broad-wings show up in these latitudes migrating in kettles in September and October

“a thousand years, / from Mayans, Incas, Aztecas, Mexicans / Cicanos / Cholos y Homies”  (Jimmy Santiago Baca, “Singing at the Gate”)

Thirteen kilometers of rock face art in Colombia’s Serranía de la Lindosa’s tepuis near Chiribiquete, radio carbon dating impossible because perhaps twenty thousand years ago they were painted with ochre not with charcoal as used in Europe’s rock art

The three-dimensional technology of discovery drones and the undersea robots tracing the shipping lanes of the ages bring out volumes of the distant past

Now in the same era that molecular biology is vaulting us to the future

Macula, macule, mackle

Even now in 2020, this virus-morbid year

The planet’s tropics have expanded two degrees of latitude since 1980

In the next twenty years enough of both ice sheets may be gone to push us over the edge 

This is real, lay off the TikTok-QAnon-MAGA and covid-fatigue present tense

Time for exterior introspection instead of the old interior view of personal concern

“You become part of the indifferences. Experience makes you stop seeing the cruelties of the world for what they are. It’s something that you must resist, and something that you must remind yourself to resist.”  (Frank Huyler)

Blanketed by the diversity and extent of alternative facts, the practitioners of the skill with their glib play of alternate facts, one time one version, next time another

Challenging as thinking to identify the species of a hawthorn, Crataegus, of which there are around two hundred, cockspur to waxyfruit, all Northern Hemisphere  

In the rain now a house wren on the ground, clean direct hops, so the first hopeful guess was a most unusual Bewick’s wren

Each time, the severe simplicity of being emanating from a single bird

Each distinct

With anonymity in their numbers


Binomial false equivalences


False negatives


Various facts

Regular testing


Interchanged realities

Alternate alternative facts

As literary translations multiply false equivalences

Akmatova, working as a translator, “eat one’s own brain”

More then forty covid cases inside the White House, some, many, most certainly Trump’s cronies, got a monoclonal antibody cocktail unavailable elsewhere

Trump’s callidity, and all of him, the hair, the orange makeup, the slogan caps and long red ties, the blabbering, the foolish family, soon now will slide into campish obscurity

Will go pale as morning neon

It should not be forgotten that the president unexplicitly pushed for de facto herd immunity, so promoting the utilitarian death of millions

Morbidity numbers well beyond the hundreds of thousands of dead for which he is guilty through obfuscation, diversion and omission 

With his election in 2016 his party stopped believing in evidence-based policy to unapologetically promote policy-based evidence

Divestiture is going to bring his debasement, perhaps his doom

A more practical issue is what is to be done about Stephen Miller

Always los guiros are there thumping away behind their guitarons

“you can’t pluck a word out of an utterance” (Gary Snyder on semantics)

And Gorky lived on Capri for seven years

Walking on tundra’s dead-trampoline springiness, leg heavy like knee-deep wading

Aching to be in a country of high sun and warm rains

As along the rich, grassy Olifantsrivier alluvial by Citrusdal, a narrow oasis in the northern Cape’s near desert, the Middelberg peaks to the east, red rock barren

An elephant ghost valley now, it was where the early Boers came upon elephant herds as far as they could scry

In numbers enigmatic as the Plain of Jars

San had also been there too on that elephant river and almost forever

When diminutive people populated the world’s past

Years ago living in Andalusia it was eerie understanding that ancient scale

San squatted by the Olifantsrivier grass alluvial, watching huge trumpeting neighbors rolling, wallowing, washing one another, and the herd moving off in immense dignity, calves trotting along under-bellied safely

Before the Boers, San through perhaps all human time, relished the river’s fresh water clams and mussels, and whistled bird songs to the sky


D. E. Steward mainly writes months with 389 of them to date. Most of them are published, as is much of his short poetry. Five volumes of his months came out in 2018 as Chroma.