Seasons of the Worm

by W. Gregory Stewart and David C. Kopaska-Merkel

I do not mark the seasons of the Worm
     its girth: immeasurable
     its length: theoretically finite

     its origin: unknowable
     its ending: unimaginable

I mine its literature; I mind inscriptions made
     in pebbled hide
     I record the legacies of
     divers races, cultures, peoples 
     scavenger in shadowed ruins

of far, forgotten civilizations:
     the social primi-form;
     the fossil tongue;
     the early xeno-meme 
     blast silhouettes of supernovae

and psychic echo among
     the background noise

     of microwave 
     doppler galaxies
     and scream.

     it seeks a history
     of thought, emerging gods or
     the early twitch
     of reason  

We scorn those who worship

     its physicality
     its historical continuity
     even the cultural icons its
     integument explodes/records

Some say the Worm divides the world
     logic dictates the Worm
     itself is the world's rim. 

     What's beyond
     Philosophers ask 

Given: the Worm seeks perfection yet
     no sense organs adorn its flanks
     we conclude that perfection lies beyond us
     "good enough" our goal

     mediocrity the new excellence 

Others have written (on segments
     now long gone) that perfection's
     in us or nowhere
     that the Worm's the world's
     expression of our achievement

I have myself recorded Worm thoughts
     that if the Worm's our rim
     and we all there is there's nothing
     I have recognized no reply
     in two years Worm-scanning since

discovering its Midgaardian gimmickry

   —it cavorts, transporting form
   from caducous to caduceus—
   it is less hypnotic than soporific,
   and it flicks no tongue,

having none.  It stares eyeless into my soul—

   (its midpoint:  indeterminate
   its length: only theoretically finite
   its alpha:  something Planck
   its ending: will involve the heat death

of a pit viper brane.)

David Kopaska-Merkel describes rocks for the State of Alabama. He lives with artists in an urban farmhouse with a yellow "tin" roof. He was born in Virginia, but has lived in the home of the crookneck as long as anywhere. He has published in the neighborhood of a thousand poems, short stories, reviews, and essays over the past quarter century. He won the Rhysling award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has also edited and published Dreams and Nightmares magazine since 1986, and has published a few Rhysling winners over the years. Visit, if you dare. Flash fiction can be found at The Daily Cabal, and he blogs at Livejournal and Blogspot.

His favourite fruits are bananas, just hours past chalkiness.

W. Gregory Stewart has been been submitting to Dreams and Nightmares for years, but it's only recently he's had the temerity—the brass stanzas, if you will—to suggest to the venerable (yes, he said venerable) David C. Kopaska-Merkel that they might collaborate on a poem or two. David is one of the hardest working persons in the genre, but he bent down, patted Greg on the head in a kindly fashion, and agreed to sped some time back-and-forthing. This is the result of one of those collaborations.

When asked about his favourite fruit, he replied as follows:

"ONE FAVORITE FRUIT?!?! What kind of madman comes up with these exercises?

I do have a favorite hand fruit, apples, tho of course not all apples. I'm frankly stuck between galas and fujis as all time favs, but at the same time, I'll readily go on record as saying there's nearly nothing as disappointing as a bad delicious—you know the mealy kind, all mush, no sweet? blecchhh.

But if I'm cooking, well—there is no life without the lemon. At least, that's what my wife says from time to time, looking at me, busy in the kitchen, and shaking her head sadly.

Limes, for popsicles and gin'n'tonics and certain pie (though when I myself have tried to make them, key lime becomes an uncertain pie).

Surinam cherry for nostalgia, lichee for that sweet fruity oyster on the halfshell thing, kiwis for the limey color, see above, see above... And watermelon for summer.

Pomegranate because there is one growing outside by bedroom window, and I don't trust it not to seek revenge if I overlook its kind (triffid hybrid, I fear). And what are those weird spikey orangey-yellow Buckaroo Bonzai fruits? Those are on SOME kind of list....

So, hmmm—gun to my head? Queen Anne cherries, not quite fully ripe...."

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