Christine Stewart

Working Note

In "The unsatisfactory state of science,"Francis Bacon writes this: [M]en's fair meditations, speculations and reasoning are a kind of insanity, only there is no one standing by to notice it.

Taxonomies are a Kind of Insanity. There, Knowledge is a Hysteria of Order and Language is a Melancholic rivet of Border & Line. To stand By and Notice might Loosen, might Rust one Madness but only for the Crazy Steel of another. This is Mine.


Phantoms (from Taxonomy)



Phantoms of the Tribe:

These phantoms are birds in the measure of your sedation.  Birds in gladness of your astonishment.  Birds in-aviary, perpendicular.  Wheeling high and east, they branch, they dive—full-purple:  mental & catalpa.

Phantoms of the Cave:

These phantoms are each other.  Not neither.  Not opposition in which is isn’t in matter.  So sensation.  Not volition but excretion

Phantoms of the Market Place:

These phantoms well from intercourse.  Inculcating the walls of the jugular against equality, we give them their names:  We say, mingle, we say, um-human, um-kindness  um flock-collateral.  Teaching the confusion of adore and the deep cuts of possible, these phantoms secrete milky and litigious tones.  Just as the medieval axiom will besiege the mind, they command.  Not minding, they abandoning.

Phantoms of the Theatre:

These phantoms are fragrant.  Carefully observed.  Seeing, not see.  Frozen where nothing was nothing was never born, these phantoms are born in ten.  Phantom three, were you ever among these?  Even such a question probes the dark roses of my dark-lipped balcony—you know that trellis and ache.  As if your letters were different.  As if you float there floating there in some moaning shift—air or wind.  Drunken & homeless.  Wading homeless.  But you are sharp blue edge under the fragments of translucent sleep.  You beat against my manner of sleep.  Falling always to the other side of tower, my phantoms you must move with any speed you please.



from Taxonomy

This section was first published in The Gig (Fall 2000)
Please refer to


Division starves.  So sub.  So bred in preposition. This is frenzy & I
starve its inch across golden object & dune.  (Silence nips
the noun-brain like thunder).




An organ player, familia is flute.  Dirt in reed, it
is poem sulphur and whim.  Tight like the lined skin around
the eye of a bird, it is essential: the colour matter in word.  Free plant
body.  See Sugar Purpose; see pulp—its
verse:  fatten and wax.  Press edge, throat dulse, dog rail.


Genus is
difficult.  Its Range is sum.  Soft and thin. Chief
orient extension. Occasion western.  Genus  is
the Hector cock of the modern splurge.  A cross to axe, a chapter to ladder,
a dizzy feather—one by one.  There are feathers:  blood-tube
and bone.  Brutish and fragrant pity.  Fragrant and


translation pity. State & resinous.  Error or fur. Ash or ash. And
such is not an indication nor these slim & silver fluting trees.



Species is its   own din.  A strange and shiny pin, not

but equipment and tight.  Sensual and metal, penal and ribbed, species
strides the trembling air.  It is turgid:  the vegetable must not cross its
lusty animal path.  It is febrile:  the mineral must avert its magazine
gaze.  To defy its earnest wrap is to melt into open chromatic skies‑‑blood
red and yellow hair.  Like a medium‑sized tent tumultuous with luxury and
haggard with resistance, species is the inverted bird in an anarchy of
suction—the suction of luck  thought hill‑like.  The suction of acanthus
thought breathing excursion garden.   The suction of type thought strike
(our palms like flint). The suction of time thought light (our arms like flight)
 Sudden and published, spawning and sheer.  Kind  is its sharp and silver aspic—pelagic, all dark-pointed, high-polished and seen.

To divide
is light.  It is brain fever.






Just as twins are a classical ignorance, class is its own controversy,
its own anxious fiction.  Happy we are sucking.  Happy we are Thatchers in our hasty pledge—ruddy meat cheeks, and round fruit.  Yet, so girded it turns in victory. Dicked & spotted thick. Wander stray.  Shout advance in ancient rhyme.
Bowel.  Class works in scape & shank.



Order is
conspicuous. Cold rock.  A linguistic membrane of
stigmata.  It registers wound as production, breeze as ignorant, cadence as
fear.  It shot‑puts with heavy balls into the meniscus of the real.
It shouts burglar and then Father, Father, Father.  It is fine hysteria & comes to
you with cause. Once more. Like Paulus, as if in sea, as if at sleep, it
fills the eye & nose.

Bio: Christine Stewart lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with Fenn, Haeden and Ruby. Sections from Taxonomy have been published in Raddle Moon, Exact Change, The Gig and a chapbook is forthcoming from West House Books.


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