Christine StewartChristine Stewart



  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.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine,

You have become a question to myself.





St. Augustine,
Love means that I want you to organize my guilt.


Do you recognize your own unique cupidity,
Your over-souled package,
That central radiating genitalia,
That generates mutiny in my vehicle.




St. Augustine.
Your dream clock is my hysteria,
My hideous creation.

I consider a certain point on the screen.
I cover up one slit.  I find the nonzero.

Habit descends unexpectedly
in my florid sleep,

in ripe
It stills
The silkiness
I cradle in
the remembering
I shred
the pink
I breathe the stain.




St. Augustine, if you speak the words father or kitchen
you will split the sides of your mouth.

Instead, I will kiss the sides of your mouth.




St. Augustine,

the mind is a fly.




St. Augustine,
to recognize the circles of blue-white trees
you allow both my possible paths.
The answer to my yes is a no in both cases.
This place will not happen with absolute precision.
Your second is not my second.

The garage owner is your theory and requires my suspicion.

St. Augustine,
innocence can be thought  as an artifact in the furtive curvature of space.
As if to mitigate the machine.
As if desire includes light.
As if the function of the citizen were true.
A wet grasp
due to the pernicious
velocity of our bodies.

Take a window for example or you won’t see anything familiar.




Affix seven to the plain face of Jesus
slip up his wedding neck and
draw back.




St. Augustine,

words stench
and shrink.

mentions proximity and my grammar follows
in a yellow pasture
where our deficiency was its dream.

A far
short blue
I was
the egg
the lit trees.
Your fiction was a deliberate mineral,
a noisy boil
of indecision—
lines of stain.
Across the wood last night
I almost asked you
is chaos a person
waiting to see?




Raking the mind from its body,
I tilted your hands and then your shoulders,
as if you were a cup:
the mouth of my encounter.

St Augustine, the mind is an ache.
Your sound is the twin of desire.


I can’t feel
the horizon line.
The skin seen in
a calm vertical  blue
is noisier than reality.
My light pitches itself in percussion,
in a rash golden bind.
My mind wavers
in your egret, in your unit of diction.

My leaves dampen
in the swell of your utterance as if Homer were erotic,
a line
in a din of love that I can’t reach from here.
Like your forehead and
its thankful nakedness,
its oval and its




Will a boy not recognize the odours of algae and rain?
Will my fine experience always terrorize me?




St. Augustine,
During my illness you said my name in translation:
a gaping wound that was mistaken for the body,
fastening its contagion to the ambiguity of my regret—
when I know you, I regret.
My addiction coincides with your absurdity.
I love you is in every case a fastening to brute choice.
Desire has mistaken my body
for silence in the dizzying sum of its breath.
A rare violence is more beautiful than its nudity.
No obscurity forest,
but I loved you to love love.
You were the appliance of my husband’s wage.
I dreamed the inhabitant in his desert.
I dreamed that a body will cross another,
But a sister will repeat mechanically and betray the mind
and drown like a poet in the suffering
excursion of denial.
And you, you will die on the beach in the tracks of important tigers.
You will be wearing a hat and socialism will not dazzle your fantastic phraseology.
The military will always fashion itself in men
and the state weakens like a body swallowed in water.

It is the odour of our landscape




St. Augustine, were you crazy?

Your thighs opened for my mouth.
Your lips opened for my fingers.
Your tongue sought my teeth.
Your skin was my skin.
Your hair was my hair.

go home—this is the way madmen protect your life—
shot with black; hands lit with fire.





St. Augustine, you did not claim the emperors were happy.
But for Cicero,
there were no limits to the claims of our country.
Dampening the political pagan,
you sold the city, the citizen.
No idea
now can be rid of this stench.
Before anything we are small, single and stinking.
We reverberate with this pallor of infinity.
Our genitals are steel,
not water, not bathing, nor pleasure—the state is born from us.

St. Augustine, you exist by virtue of my exile.
You did not exist before me; now you exist without me.

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.
We lead between time and space.  If we close one slit, we change the rules.




St. Augustine, I miss you.
I miss your fine skin.
My mouth tries your name
I have not spoken in so long.

Simplicity is only inches above the water

St. Augustine.

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
you wore my garden and you said that
devotion was not mathematically sick.
But in recent years your rules no longer describe an imaginary nature.
Your left is not longer my right.
My thigh is no longer the hallucination of one who is watching.

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
your simple inventions
my holy crimes

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
and realized with chagrin the playing measure of our bloody quiet.

St. Augustine, I hate you.

Quicken this winter, my chair is riveted to your terms.




My phobic truth was your discipline.
My lush obscurity, your citizen lips.
I prod this fetish twig
for my fantasy is velocity and I cannot resist the liquid of its pronunciations,

its oval site,
its mirror—
not near
not sky,  or star  or pear

I remind you to reconsider.
St. Augustine,
your body is home,
your mind is peril.




And the unconditioned claim of our allegiance?

St. Augustine, we sold the voluptuous empire,
the graceful republic,
the beautiful tax collectors.

We gave them their graceful things, their prudent authority—
Modest God and oracle Christ were a fee.

The happy city, the
loving civic.
St. Augustine,
you were the extrusion of my ethic.

But, the impunity of the kingdom, you said—
the obligation of the empire,
the private members hammered to wholeness,
not chariot.

Your fictions are my perjury

You swore you could not eat flesh;  that you love none other.
But, St. Augustine, the ordered subject, the moment of nation
is kissing and massacre fishes for the fashion of the  Godly.




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—
it glorifies you.




above us
supra nos
beside us
luxta nos
beneath us
infra nos




St. Augustine I am torrent to your greed.

We lost the republic long ago.
You bade our vice, our fading age

And look at the republic now, the most beautiful.

Once there was a room for us and we touched our beads of skin.
It could not last—it did not last.
The state was not with us.
We ignored its dictum, its edict.

We did not care for its rulings and then we did.
Our impossibility was my mistake, my desire

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,
a bruise strewn to its writing.




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.




St. Augustine,
I have eaten my hands.
St. Augustine
I have eaten your eyes.


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.

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