This piece was read at The Kootenay School in Vancouver and Subtext in Seattle, in Fall 2002. A few excerpts from this piece were published in Matrix 50, edited by Erin Moure.
You have become a question to myself.
Do you recognize your own unique cupidity,
I consider a certain point on the screen.
Habit descends unexpectedly
St. Augustine, if you speak the words father or kitchen
Instead, I will kiss the sides of your mouth.
the mind is a fly.
The garage owner is your theory and requires my suspicion.
Take a window for example or you won’t see anything familiar.
Affix seven to the plain face of Jesus
Raking the mind from its body,
St Augustine, the mind is an ache.
I can’t feel
My leaves dampen
Will a boy not recognize the odours of algae and rain?
It is the odour of our landscape
St. Augustine, were you crazy?
Your thighs opened for my mouth.
St. Augustine, you did not claim the emperors were happy.
St. Augustine, you exist by virtue of my exile.
The animals are famous as you are for your hair, your swinging hair, your set teeth, your soft white legs.
In those days we were absentmindedly Parisienne. We were not ashamed. We were not suicidal. We were nobody else in the world. We ate white; we wore white. We were public and proud of victory, the unblemished reputation and the indecent haste of our executions.
But, was it prudent to commit the empire to our swift movements, to our pernicious velocity, our little numbers?
I remind you to reconcile. For example, I cannot directly measure my grandmother. Her simple manifestation is not simple. For example, I am no longer ashamed of this desire. I allow both possible paths.
St. Augustine love the memory of love.
St. Augustine, I miss you.
Simplicity is only inches above the water
You are smooth, but stone—
except the knuckles,
and their sickening joy.
You did not survive either
and now nothing needs the anticipatory glance of the concrete dream.
An ensemble of forms does not stretch deep below the stone well.
Sunlight is only a veil on this shaded ground.
The sign praise is complete.
And yet, once as a child I became suddenly ill and was at the point of
death and you came and
Within these pinning violations I cover one slit and I find that there is a nonzero probability.
This is exactly what can happen.
St. Augustine, you loved
No longer weeping, I enter your chamber, I take your robes, I cover your body with my hands. I no longer care; I care too long. I no longer wait. My crime is moving towards you.
St. Augustine, you cannot fuck my image, your fluster, you tendency will get in the way.
You cannot have my triangular measure for your universal. It lives more than one thousand kilometers from your indigenous pupils.
St. Augustine, your mathematics are frozen.
But, my civilizational other never flocked, never labelled the internal coherent.
And yet, still, we sucked the pomegranate, licked the stray dogs
St. Augustine, I hate you.
Quicken this winter, my chair is riveted to your terms.
My phobic truth was your discipline.
its oval site,
I remind you to reconsider.
And the unconditioned claim of our allegiance?
St. Augustine, we sold the voluptuous empire,
We gave them their graceful things, their prudent authority—
The happy city, the
But, the impunity of the kingdom, you said—
Your fictions are my perjury
You swore you could not eat flesh; that you love none other.
Oh, biddable citizen desire my lacking step.
My apex is your deep ineradicable west.
Drink history and cool my inhabitant.
Love my erasure, love my history—
St. Augustine I am torrent to your greed.
We lost the republic long ago.
And look at the republic now, the most beautiful.
Once there was a room for us and we touched our beads of skin.
We did not care for its rulings and then we did.
St. Augustine, I am not free of your taste. The Republic does not thank me.
I did not kill your corrupt authority—I gave it life.
I am the diversion of your hybridity
(What man would not compare this republic?)
St. Augustine, the narrative is a former puncture,
St. Augustine. I desire goods. I gain possession of what I most own. I crave the bronze and welded citizen. I deplore my molten state. I peal the simplicity, and the signal.
Bio: Christine Stewart is from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She studies, works and protests at The University of British Columbia. She lives with Haeden, Manfred and Ruby and writes there.