1.5 x Stein O’Hara

On Wednesday 10 December I joined some other members of the Next Objectivists @ “Lunch Buttons,” a performance event that celebrates the anniversaries of two books of poetry that have been important to me: Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons (now 100 years old) and Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems (still fresh at 50). The event, organized by Dan Godston of the Border/Bend Arts Collective, took place @ Beauty and Brawn Art Gallery & Think Space (3501 W. Fullerton Ave). I pieced together passages from several texts by Stein & O’Hara, but not the ones being feted. My recipe called for mixing passages with approximately 1.5 times more Stein than O’Hara. Here are the results:

Through all that surgery I thought

I had a lot to say, and named several last things

Gertrude Stein hadn’t had time for.

–O’Hara, “Memorial Day, 1950”

I. Just So

Now the relation of human nature to the human mind is this.

it isn’t that simple but it’s simple enough

In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is.

the rock is least living of the forms man has fucked

And everybody does say what they do say.

“he isn’t under there, he’s out in the woods”

Any little dog says so.

(from The Geographical History of America, p. 45-55)

(from “Ode on Causality,” Selected Poems, p. 135-6)

II. A Manifesto for Americans

There are so many things to say. But that’s not why you fell in love in the first place, just to hang onto life, so you have to take your chances, and avoid being logical.

If there was no identity no one could be governed, but everybody is governed by everybody. I’m not saying that I don’t have practically the most lofty ideas of anybody writing today, but what difference does that make? Everybody is governed by everybody and that is why they make no master-pieces, and also why governing has nothing to do with master-pieces. Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to. And that is why governing is occupying but not interesting. There’s nothing metaphysical about it. Governments are occupying but not interesting because master-pieces are exactly that they are not.

There is another thing to say.

I think it appears mostly in the minute particulars where decision is necessary. When you are writing before there is an audience anything written is as important as any other thing and you cherish anything and everything that you have written. It dos not have to do with personality or intimacy, far from it! After the audience begins, naturally they create something. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages. That is they create you, and so not everything is so important. In all modesty, I confess that it may be the death of literature as we know it. Something is more important than another thing, which was not true when you were you that is when you were not you as your little dog knows you.

And so there we are and there is much to say but anyway I do not say that there is no doubt. The recent propagandists for technique on the one hand, and for content on the other, had better watch out. Master-pieces are master-pieces in that way and there are very few of them.

(from “What are Master-Pieces and Why Are there So Few of Them,” in Selections, p. 318)

(from “Personism: A Manifesto,” in Selected Poems, p. xiii-iv)

IX. Any German Girl

any German girl

listEn.

Bob and Ralph and Don, and there was Brock,

how is faTher and mother moved

what floweRs

bUt they did like him that is to say

he was interesteD in

Everything
I rise into the cool Skies

with the simple idenTification

of my collEagues

I do not hear

moNey flutters from the windows

(acrostic from “In Memory of My Feelings,” Selected Poems, p. 105)

(acrostic from Brewsie and Willie, p. 3-6)

IV. Regarding Men, Women & Children

If men have not changed women and children have.

So the rain falls

Geography does not look like it does in relation to the human mind.

tenement of a single heart

Men have not changed women and children have.

it fills it up with dirt

Anybody with a human mind can say I mean and they can say I forgot and mean that.

for Old Romance was draping dolors on a scarlet mound

Men have not changed women and children have changed.

and the corn grows

As I say so tears come into my eyes.

(from The Geographical History of America, p. 45-55)

(from “Ode on Causality,” Selected Poems, p. 135-6)

(from Lucy Church Amiably, p. 177-8)

(from “Cornkind,” Selected Poems, p. 181-2)

V. Regarding Relationships between Men, Women & Children, Part I

When I am. When I am I I am.

I am feeling depressed and anxious. I am sullen when all you. When all you have is to have to do what you do when and if you please as I please you do what you do is take off, your clothes off. And all is wiped away.

Away revealing life’s tenderness.

When all that we are is what we are as I am is what I am when you are what you are, we are flesh. Flesh and breath. When I am feeling and. And when and what. And are. Near us as you are.

Really.

As you are I become as I am.

Really.

Alive and knowing vaguely.

What is and what is important to me. To me above. Me above me. When I am sullen when you are sullen, our clothes our sullen. And what is important to me. Important that is to say if you please important above the intrusions. When the I of incident and the I of accidental.

Relationships.

Which have nothing to nothing nothing to do with life. With my life.

VI. Any German Girl

any German girl

listEn.

Bob and Ralph and Don, and there was Brock,

how is faTher and mother moved

what floweRs

bUt they did like him that is to say

he was interesteD in

Everything
I rise into the cool Skies

with the simple idenTification

of my collEagues

I do not hear

moNey flutters from the windows

VII. Regarding Relationships between Men, Women & Children, Part II

When I am I am in your presence. I feel life is strong. Life and will. And will will defeat all its enemies and all of mine and all of yours and yours in you and mine in me. All of mine in me and all of yours in your me and all of mine in my your me. Sick logic.

And feeble.

Feeble and.

Feeble reasoning and you are cured by being you.

This is according.

To me this is according by. The perfect symmetry of your arms and legs. I am spread out. I am spread making an eternal circle out of together. Creating.

I am a golden pillar beside.

The Atlantic. The faint line.

I feel I am the faint line of hair dividing I are. Your torso gives my mind rest. And I am when and where. Emotions and emotions. Emotion and emotion released. Mind rest which is the mind at rest and emotions their release into the mind rest. The infinite air where since once.

We are where together you are feeling off. And when and what. Since what. Together we always will. Always will will. In this life. This come what. This is what may.

(Steinian transcription of Poem “À la recharche de Gertrude Stein,” Selected Poems, p. 169.)

VIII. It is Not Mayakovsky’s Birthday Today, but It Could Almost Be

A gun is “Fired.”

One of me Rushes to window #13

And one of me raises his whip

aNd one of me flutters up

masKed in dirt’s lust
if the hOrrible happened

How about it.

Yes but you never can tell in a wAr.

we’re here all Right, you betcha we’re here

And they all will

I think we are all Funny, pretty funny

any anti-fRaternisation ruling

Although the Germans did their best

No

I Know what I don’t want them to be like,
Open mouths gasping

the lungs of eartH

my trAnsparencies could not resist the race!

TerroR in earth,

pink feAthers
like a Gondola

through the strEets

seveRal likenesses, like stars and years,

My quieTness has a number

pistols I have boRrowed to protect myselves

mUrder in their heart!

in the Desert

chillEd
LiSten, said Brewsie, listen to me.

I wanT to know

as shE is

whIch she does

a maN-eating dog.

(acrostic from “In Memory of My Feelings,” Selected Poems, p. 105)

(acrostic from Brewsie and Willie, p. 3-6)

III.

That is what I mean to be I mean to be the one who can and does have as ordinary ideas as these.

as maps change & faces become vacant

Extraordinary ideas are just as ordinary as ordinary ideas because if you please everybody has to have or have had extraordinary ideas.

the ugliness we seek in vain

What is the use of being a little boy if you are to grow up to be a man.

(from The Geographical History of America, p. 45-55)

(from “Ode on Causality,” Selected Poems, p. 135-6)

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