Poet Mary Kane, an avid reader-aloud of Gertrude Stein's works, read this new poem at Poetry & Pie to an entranced audience. She graciously allowed us to publish it here. For best effect, please read it aloud.
The Gertrude Stein Cure
There was a woman who had anxious feeling in her. She had inside in her anxious feeling it was large in her. The anxious feeling inside her was large inside her it wasn’t very large it wasn’t skyscraper large it wasn’t Texas large it was large in her she was a small woman and the feeling in her inside of anxiousness was large it took up a lot of space. She was a small woman who had inside a large anxious feeling, not very large, not as large as a football stadium but she was small she was only about the size of a dog. She wasn’t the size of a small dog she wasn’t Chihuahua small or toy poodle small she was the size of your average black lab only she walked on two legs she was a woman. So, as I was saying, there was a woman who was a small woman about the size of a black lab and she had anxious feeling inside in her it took up a lot of space it was a large anxious feeling it wasn’t very large. It was larger than a kangaroo in her it was large about the size of a giraffe. It was a giraffe sized anxious feeling in her and out of place too, awkward the way a giraffe might be expected to be in a middle class American neighborhood, maybe lower middle class. A giraffe in any American neighborhood in the 21st century would be large it would be awkward and out of place, that is the kind of anxious feeling that was inside in this small woman who was the size of a dog or just about.
This small woman with a feeling of anxiousness inside in her also sometimes had a despairing feeling inside in her. She had a despairing feeling alongside the anxious feeling, the despairing feeling was large it was very large in her it was continental in her, it was at least large, country large, in her it was China sized only it had no shape or bottom. This woman who was small and had a large anxious feeling in her inside that was shaped like a giraffe had a despairing feeling in her that was very large it was larger than China it was as large as all of Asia in her. She was small only the size of a black lab maybe she was the size of a border collie she was a small woman she had two big feelings in her she had a big anxious feeling she had a bigger feeling of despairing inside in her.
As was the custom in her country in her century in her culture she went to seek help in reckoning with the giraffe and the Asia inside her, the giraffe and the Asia sized despair without a bottom it was a feeling really of a great abyss and she went on a trek she had a walking stick she was small and she sought assistance. And along the way she read books it was another custom for some in her time in her country in her culture not for many but for some reading books was customary. She read a lot of books she liked them large sometimes she liked very large books that had to be divided into volumes she read about a book that was so large one reader cut it into six sections with a kitchen knife. She was a small woman she found this large book. It was large this book. It was so large it was a 925 pound book. It was a body this book. She was a small woman she had a giraffe and a continent inside in her she had this hunger she wanted this book it was 925 pages long it was 925 pounds she wasn’t going to cut it up with a kitchen knife.
This woman who was small and had these large feelings of anxiousness and despair sometimes in her found this book it was a very large book it was a repeating kind of book it was a book she opened and read from. She read aloud from the book with her friend it was a big book. It was a body book when they touched it it had skin it had veins and blood. She read the book with her friend they read it aloud they read how it repeated. She was a small woman and she took this book this large book she took it into her page by page. She took this 925 pound book page by page into her into her insides it was a body book this book whenever she read it whenever she heard it read whenever she lifted it whenever she read about its author whenever she read its repeating whenever she spoke of it she had a feeling inside in her that was new inside in her it was a feeling of gaiety and a joyful feeling too and these feelings inside this woman who was a small woman were bottom feelings they made a bottom in her. This bottom that was a new feeling it was three new feelings in her it was a gaiety feeling and a joyful feeling and a feeling of gaiety and joyfulness combined into a bottom that was a very long beach with very smooth sand where she could walk inside her that was the third feeling it was inside her and she walked there.
The Gertrude Stein Cure, by Mary Kane. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.