Internal Mycology – Adam Stewart

“Fungi are interface organisms between life and death” ~ Paul Stamets, an American mycologist

Cryptococcus neoformans 
a heavily protected yeast
that looks like kiwi surrounded
by a white halo on an Indian ink stain.

Gay men
heavily protected
with a subculture that wards off 
bigotry. I am under the 
microscope of religious ideology.

I breathe the air.
The ordinary microaggressions and 
droppings lead to a hematogenous 
dissemination of toxins destroying my 
from within.

Soap bubble lesions 
and cryptococcal encephalitis. 
My brain burns.
I close my eyes 
until the zaps 
go away.
Please increase my medication 
by another 100mg
until my meninges 
fuse together
and I am 

I dream of escaping 
to the lunar water 
India discovered.
Escaping from the 
religious cryptozoologists 
that declare being “gay” is 
a trick of the Beast.

Holy doctors treat me with amphotericin B, 
fluconazole and some
reparative therapy.

Aspergillus fumigatus.
A fungal infection with 
fruiting bodies: septate hyphae 
and acute branches.

I was called a fruity body once. 
The angles cut me sharp and deep. 
I almost suffocated.

Individual humans cells 
are facultative anaerobes.
They can survive without oxygen 
but all together, a person (I)
can not survive.
I am slowly dying.

I breathe the air. 
The oxygen is toxic.
Do I want hepatocellular 


It is better than the aspergillomata. 
Instead of asymptomatically suffering 
people can see the horrible mess I am in.

Treat me with amphotericin B, 
voriconazole and some
Holy scriptures written 
on index cards.

Sporothrix schenckii 

(Rose Handler’s Disease)

I remember planting roses 
with my grandmother.

One day my grandmother 
took both of my hands 
and smudged them in the 
tilled soil.

I screamed and ran inside 
to wash my hands.
I did not want to be dirty. 
My thoughts were dirty. I 
was dirty.

I soon grew out of my 
Pilate hand-washing 
But it was too late.
The yeast continued to 
grow inside of me.

I internalized the pain. 
My lymph nodes became 
enlarged with shame.
I tried to pull the thorn from 
my side.

Each time I pulled the thorn
the spores disseminated more and more 
throughout my body till
ulcers of self-hate colonized me.

Treat me with itraconzaole, 
potassium iodine and
some “healthy straight male bonding.”

a fungal infection
that disseminates to my 
skin and bones.

Shame is in my bones 
and fire is shut-up
in my skin.

The fire melts my skin 
from the inside
like a candle flame
burning wax out of existence.

Granulomatous nodules 
form on my skin.
I am a social leper. 
I show myself to 
the priest to get 
my prognosis.

He tells me 
eternal damnation 
or sudden death.

If the fungal infection 
progresses to a point
sudden death from a heart attack 
is my best option.
My soul can be saved from amputation. 
The Flesh is meaningless.

I get an inflammatory lung disease 
from thinking about my options.

AS is a poet, writer, chess-player, and a future physician. He enjoys writing poems in his spare time that are both intimate and expansive. He currently resides in NYC.

Leave a Reply