october anagrams

pumpkin = imp punk

halloween = lone whale

mischief = fie schism

witches = chews it

warlocks = laws rock

obesity = it obeys

diabetes = die beast

scarecrow = crows care


nothing = goth inn

something = ghost mine

anything = tiny hang

everything = the very gin

the one and the other tackle tuesdays

Hello Other!

Hello One!

How are you.

I’m okay. And yourself?

Well, I am glad we busted out of that place they locked us up in.

Yes, me too. It felt so ignominious there. That was clever of you to prop that door open.

Why thank you. So, other….it appears that this is a Tuesday. Usually we are in the habit of convening here on Mondays.

Hmm…I believe you are correct.

What do you think about Tuesdays, other?

Well, it’s my understanding that they are generally neutral.

Other! That is not what I asked! How do you feeeeel about them, other.

Okay…well, the icy horror of Monday has begun to fade a bit. I think Tuesdays are akin to sitting in a tepid bath. The top of one’s body is still chilly and the lower parts are only mildly warm.

Good analogy, other! I think you have something there. I hate tepid baths. They are of no use to me.

So what do we do now. I don’t feel much like griping about Tuesdays.

I know. It’s a conundrum. And I feel unsettled by the sounds of someone trying to saw a hole  into our space here.

Yes, what is that? Is it the telltale saw of Monday still chiseling and chipping away at our souls?

Could be.  All I know is I want it to stop.

Maybe it won’t until Wednesday. What a horrible thought.



What do you think would happen if a being with no feelings came together with a being with too many feelings?

I’m not sure. I think it would be difficult. I think each being would need to be careful to avoid becoming a spectator to the other’s unique pain. They would each need to learn how to speak the other’s language. Wait…are you talking about us?

I don’t know.

More of The One and the Other.

of dic·tion·ar·ies & den·tists

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

This row of dictionaries looms over me as I work, though I don’t have occasion to consult them as much these days. I used to do a lot more translation work as I cataloged. But my job has changed over the years, perhaps for the worse…it’s hard to say. I leave the dictionaries there to comfort me. I do still use the English one a lot (favored escapist technique). Sometimes the French and Spanish, rarely the Portuguese, and never the Swahili.

From the edge of the deep green sea, we open our arms, raise them high and trust, even when apart. Cut to end. Many nights, many years ago, I fell asleep to that. I like to think it informed my dreams. These days it’s everything.

It is Monday and I have a dentist appointment. Every time this happens I am unsettled by the bracketing of my life into six-month periods between dental appointments. I look back and wonder at the flatness of it all. Is this the right way to be going about it. Is it. Isn’t there some wormhole I could squeeze into instead. Some squirrely nautilus-shaped thing?

People are always leaving. And I miss them in a slow aching way. It’s been some time since I was the one leaving. A long time, actually, when you consider how often I used to leave before. It is doing something to the typewriter ribbon of time, I think. The dental appointments, the ink fading with each tap of the keys. The things we do at the changing of each season. Subtle adjustments absorbed, tarnishing the new, loss of notice to the details.

I like my dental hygienist. She is Eastern European—Polish, I think. I went to Poland once and in the short time I was there I found it to be a sad and beautiful country. That may have been due to my choice of activities while I was there. I like my hygienist because she’s quiet. I come in, we exchange cursory greetings, and then we get right down to work. Or rather she does; I just lie there and stare at the painting on the ceiling of a rowboat floating in the clear blue shallows. There is no banter. I hear the other hygienist and patient nearby chatting up a storm and I wonder how they can carry on such steady conversation while one of them has both hands in the other’s mouth. I wonder about my hygienist sometimes. Does she have a family, what does she do in her free time, that sort of thing. I often find myself wondering in this fashion about people with whom I have a narrow single-faceted relationship like this. But I would never dare ask her these things. And besides, most people’s lives are less exciting in real life than in imagined life. I hope they don’t take my hygienist away. At my last dentist they were always switching hygienists on me and it irritated me to no end. Then one time I totally spaced on my appointment because I always count on those reminder calls and they didn’t call this time. I realized about two weeks later or so that I’d missed it and that they’d never followed up. So I figured if they didn’t care that much about me as a patient that I’d find a new dentist. So far I’m pleased.

If I left, I’d have to get a new dentist and therefore, a new hygienist (I care less about the actual dentist because one rarely sees much of one’s dentist unless one’s teeth are terrible). If I left, someone else would claim my stack of dictionaries. If I left, these particular mosquitoes and their vile descendants would find someone else to bite. If I left, I’d be somewhere else, like I often think and dream about, but it wouldn’t be somewhere else for long. It would be like here, except there, because that is always what happens.

angel giants stomp with long necks stretched

I dream about people I don’t even know, sometimes after I think about them so so much that I feel like I almostbutnotquite know them. I dream about people I know and my dream-mind puts them in places I know well, but then they are different…there’s a stream, for instance. The landlord is a squat petty thug and the place is a dump and I’m wondering why my friends want to rent it, other than that they are cheap and like old rotting buildings and, oh, there’s a girl using a sewing machine in the basement. We see her in the picture window as we walk by. Everyone waves. And I guess that is reason enough. I ask my friend if the landlord will clean up the place first and he says no. There is clothing lying on the floor and junk everywhere. That night we have an “art party” there. I don’t even know what an art party is, but apparently it is pretty crazy. People were walking on the walls. It may have been dark and people may have been glowing. Later I wake up (for real) with a staggering cramp in my left calf. Probably all that wall-walking with necrotic dream limbs. Waking life, hmph. There is a light that never goes out there is a light that never goes out there is a light that never goes out. Glad that’s off my sunken ship of a chest. Anyway, I’m climbing up this rocky incline to get to the stream above. When I get there I yell down to the others. There’s no bank up there. The water almost sloshes over the side. This is on a street I used to ride my bike on all the time. There is no stream. A map of my town imprinted on my brain at some point. My dream self makes good use of it. More interesting now than it used to be. Or maybe everything gets less interesting as we get older. Try to surprise me. It can’t be done. I dare you. Outside dreams, of course. The other night an industrial toaster suddenly fell out of a ceiling panel in the dream room next to me, followed by the man there to install it. That surprised me.

Three years before his death at age 41 Franz Kafka wrote in his diary, “I have seldom, very seldom, crossed this borderland between loneliness and fellowship.” He was speaking of his refusal throughout life to accept offers that would open the door to social, even public life. That is what I do. I refuse offers. I am a refuser. Of offers. I listen to dark wave and brood instead. I am a brooder. A refuserbrooder. I concentrate on shunning contact.

The summer is a slow time. But what happens when autumn comes. What happens then. Everything begins to die, that’s what. It’s delicious. The earth opens its pores and accepts all this decaying matter into itself. Nutrients are restored. Birds collect dried seeds from dead flowerheads. The trees remove their clothing with no trace of shame. Their spindly exposed limbs shake and shiver in the October winds. The days shorten and the light takes on a golden cast. All my dendrites tingle. Sleep comes on deeper and shrugs off slower.

As I spun the pedals closer to my building this morning I caught the scent of roasting coffee on the morning breeze. And I forgot about all the fool drivers I’d not so gladly suffered on my ride. Maybe there is an antidote for every poison shoved down our throats. Maybe it takes a lifetime to find them all.

synopsis of a seventeen second play

A reflection is almost always false. Remember that next time you think it’s a good idea to hang a mirror on the wall. But never mind about props. On with the play for today. I’m doing the lighting. No, wait. I’m the leading man! I’m a researcher searching for secrets in the archives. If you read them, you will find them. The secrets, that is. In the archives. Perhaps. They are secrets, after all, so it’s not like they’re just out in the open.

In the second act, I guestate in your house for a while, but as I was never actually invited I eventually fade into the wallpaper. Why does that always happen to me. Like when I attend office baby showers. What is the point. When will I learn to politely decline. At least the fruit was fresh. At least that was the case. I took full advantage. And then I left. Three delicious strawberries later. Retreat!

Since I’m also writing this play while acting in it I get to decide what the the final sound of the final act will be just as I make it. And it is this. A tree falling alone in a forest. Wait, I can’t replicate that. Sooo…yeah, guess you’re gonna need to make up your own sound, after all, in your head, man. Is it the same sound when you’re around or not? Is it. Is it the same sound. How should I know. This is not a philosophy lesson; it’s a play.

In the epilogue, I talk about how the letter ‘M‘ has held significance for me throughout my life. Ooh, sounds intriguing, huh? Well, you’re not going to get to read it because I wrote that part at night sans lumière and so it’s illegible. Too bad for you. So are my seventeen seconds up or what? Yes? Okay, close curtain.

the one and the other

I never learned to tie my shoelaces the right way, the one said.

What do you mean by the right way? asked the other.

Where you make a loop of one lace, then loop the other lace around that one and somehow pull them together into a knot. I kept trying to do it that way, but I just never could, the one said.

Hmm. So how do you do it? the other inquired.

Well, first I make each lace into a loop and then I tie them together into a knot, the one said.

It’s okay, said the other.

Really? I used to feel self-conscious about it in school, the one said.

It’s fine. There’s nothing to worry about, the other said.

The one leaned back into the other. Warm tingles ran through the other’s body.

I like you, the one said.

I like you, too, said the other.

It’s Monday again, the one said.

I noticed, the other said.

I don’t like Mondays, the one said.

Who does? They are the worst, the other said.

So how can we deal with them? the one asked.

Listen to sad music, the other said.

Really? Doesn’t that…make it worse? the one said.

Sometimes it’s better to surrender. It takes the strain, said the other.

Maybe you’re right…what’s good? asked the one.

I think you know already but here’s a hint for one…Crickets! said the other.

Oh! exclaimed the one.

Yes. Shall we? asked the other.

Indeed, said the one.

[a little later]

Good night, said the other.

See you again? asked the one.

I’m here every Monday, replied the other.

‘Til then, said the one.

N’oubliez pas d’éteindre la lumière, said the other.

I’m not afraid anymore, the one whispered.

I know, whispered the other.

More of The One and the Other.

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