Gertrude Stein Was a Zombie (Heliotrope)Leave a comment
March 14, 2023 by tsk2001
“Trouble is a different cheese, all right,” G says. “It’s a fucking sweaty-footed Limburger.”
“I don’t know where it came from,” Jen whimpers in a frightened little-girl voice.
She’s sitting on the couch, gorgeously naked, and now she’s crying blue tears and I’m getting all emotional myself, I’m about to lift her up in my arms and give her a big hug, when G shouts, “It’s Stein! She’s doing a Gertrude Stein cut-up. Or maybe it’s not a cut-up, it’s hard to tell.”
“And Lew is a Stein expert,” I point out. “Is he making this happen?”
“Deb, he’s not a Stein expert and this isn’t Lew,” G sighs.
“So why did Jen say that?”
“I don’t know, honey.”
“Do you know what book it’s from? Maybe Hank has it here.”
“If I had to guess, I’d say it’s from Tender Buttons.”
Never read it. Well, I mighta looked parts of it over when I did my Stein paper at Stanford. You don’t actually read it. Then something occurs to me that I don’t think ever occurred to me when I wrote the paper. “Is Tender Buttons about . . . clits?”
“Everything is about clits,” G says, as if this is obvious, the fundamental truth of the world, or at least of HB, which is now Isla Mujeres.
“But he’ll get up and start walking around, all charred.”
“I don’t see that as a problem,” she says, folding her big arms under her heavy breasts like that’s the final word on the matter. Then, adopting Hank’s poetry mode, she goes, “ ‘A cool red rose and a pink cut pink, a collapse and a sold hole, a little less hot.’ That’s from the ‘Objects’ section of Tender Buttons. Verbatim, not a cut-up. And it describes the moment perfectly.”
“How do you know that? I thought you didn’t know Tender Buttons that well. How could anyone fucking memorize shit like that?”
“Henry just told me. He just said it in my head.”