D. E. Steward

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Casa Grande

Both the self-care products scam and the social media identity hustle push the same exploitation game

As, “…all reptiles and birds have a relict mineral quality / inherent in bill and scales and talons, eye-rings, much other” (Colin Simms) 


“We insist on carrying phones that identify us so readily to advertisers and the government, but: Who is the most important person in my life—it’s definitely me, right?”  (Choire Sichga)

And Amazon will ship you whatever you’re after

Out from San Antonio, with a stop in Fredericksburg of course, and across the balcones escarpment on the haul up to San Angelo back before the huge Cactus Hotel became only a venue for big Texas weddings  

Drive the state the other way and it’s shorter from El Paso to the Pacific than from El Paso to Orange, and shorter from Orange to the Atlantic than back to El Paso

And by that time, you’ve had enough of 80 mph Texas Interstates

“the red grit / of the contemporary” (John Kinsella)

Rolling along

Our adult eyes are the size they’ll always be

The first half of last century it was Route 66, in mid-century US 40, then I-80, and clearly now the National Road is I-10

It starts in Jacksonville perpendicularly off I-95 and tracks right on out across the South and across Texas, through El Paso and on to Casa Grande in Arizona where it sends I-8 off straight west to San Diego

From Casa Grande I-10 again up to Phoenix and west as the 10 Freeway into Downtown LA and out to Santa Monica’s Fourth Street to morph into the Pacific Coast Highway

In 2021 its validity is such that it begins with Santa Monica’s Fourth Street to run its thousands of miles on out the other way

Ocean to ocean

Turn down Spotify and bellow along to the great Allegro moderato theme of the first movement of Hanson’s Second

That Hanson used again down the line

In cabotage

As east across the Barents Sea from the Russian Arctic National Park on Severny Island

An island the shape of a giant flexed caterpillar, treeless, half under glacial ice, over six hundred kms long with elevations to over fifteen hundred meters

Between the Barents and the Kara Seas at above 75° and I’ll never get there

Bear Island, Bjornoya, is at the western edge of the Barents Sea just below 75°

Have been there off and on in imagination writing a 1970s novel, Bjornoy Radio

Now the twenty-first century unimaginable imperatives, Green Flugsham and for a long year Covid Flugangst

Staying home like God intended

As down the swallet of a chipmunk burrow

While what gets us there and out of here to go anywhere are, “these truck heavy roads we risk our lives on” (Kinsella)

To looking out over Portland’s house roofs as Gary Snyder did musing on their expanse

Their builders, the framers, their creators, the Swedish immigrant carpenters who came down the Swedish rivers with their toolboxes slung to the emigrant ships

For America

In the “American mode” of hoedown tone exuberance

Samuel Barber’s orchestral works’ dull tympani, clatter, shrilly and loud

Tune up Spotify the rest of the way home to the piano control of Chopin b. 1810, Schumann b. 1810, Liszt b. 1811

Simultaneity of their three careers could have had to do with the instrument’s full emergence during and through their maturity

Even though the big grands only began to appear late in their romantic century

Not long before dark romanticism went to the black leather and gun gray fascists

A romanticism with a fascist inclination in film, fashion, architecture, poetry, psychology

“…it was terror – the allure, the thrill, the prospect of terror – that attracted Ezra Pound to Fascism. Yeats, Heidegger, Wyndham Lewis, Céline, Paul de Man, Gottfried Benn, Marinetti – the list of intellectuals who supported Fascism is all too familiar.”  (Lawrence Rainey)

Referentially linked to the scrambled egg dress caps of the Capitol Police brass in evidence at press conferences after January 6th

More so of course with all the combat gear hanging on the Oath Takers and Proud Boys 

Moving up the Capitol steps that day in urban tactics close stacks

Squad tactics in the infantry in Korea was spread out and leapfrog cover for whoever was out ahead, nine-man squads each with two BARs

Some second john screaming at you from cover to move up

Dropping down under the covering fire of the company’s .50s opening up behind

Once fired a water-cooled .50 on a Fort Knox range and it felt like handling history  

Robert Stone landed in Saigon on May 25, 1971, hung out in town, drank and did his drugs on To Do Street, one day rode out to the edge of a combat zone on the back of a motorcycle, was home in London on June 10, 1971 en famille to write Dog Soldiers

“Red is sleep before the long fast dry has made red of most things” (Kinsella)

And there they were, the two of them going at it, Japanese manzai, he the straight man to her cascading jokes, as such they’re paired as in the glibness of Waiting for Godot


Characterized by being on a boundary or threshold, especially as transitional or intermediate between two states, situations, etc.

“the tacit, tentacular bargain by which Vichy’s cooperation with the invader was seen as a pragmatic stratagem to preserve the eternal France” 
(Clive James)

As many dim super jingoists rode with Trump right on through January 6th, only thinning out after Biden’s Inauguration   

And most still following the Big Lie rambling off down to Mar Largo maskless, shameless, less terrifying

Down there to cahoot with the Florida cheese of Gov Ron DeSantis and Rep Matt Gaetz

All along Tolstoy’s mosaic theory of individual lives regularly defines the milieu

Varieties of true believers always slipping over to become FBI informers   

Orthodoxy of all sorts and belief becoming more complicated than ever to maintain

 “…a door’s heard slamming in the distance / a long way off in another year” 

In their WWII occupation of Paris, the Germans melted down seventy-five bronze statues, street statuary that mostly celebrated freethinking and French republicanism

Not yet in our aspirant world of Vargos Llosa’s cosmoplitianismo total

But perhaps edging toward the wild instability of “change the government, change the street names”

Something unsettlingly sinister about fame’s reflection in others


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