inside gertrude stein: A Meta-Prose Poem by Lynn Emanuel

inside gertrude stein

Right now as I am talking to you and as you are being talked to, without letup, it is becoming clear that gertrude stein has hijacked me and that this feeling that you are having now as you read this, that this is what it feels like to be inside gertrude stein. This is what it feels like to be a huge typewriter in a dress. Yes, I feel we have gotten inside gertrude stein, and of course it is dark inside the enormous gertrude, it is like being locked up in a refrigerator lit only by a smiling rind of cheese. Being inside gertrude is like being inside a monument made of a cloud which is always moving across the sky which is also moving. Gertrude is a huge galleon of cloud anchored to the ground by one small tether, yes, I see it down there, do you see that tiny snail glued to the tackboard of the landscape? That is alice . . .

Because someone must be gertrude stein, someone must save us from the literalists and realists, and narratives of the beginning and end, someone must be a river that can type. And why not I?

(Quoted in David Bartholomae’s Writing in the Margins (Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2005).

What can I add? Emanuel’s prose poem “inside gertrude stein” speaks for itself. And speaks to you and speaks through gertrude stein and speaks about writing.What can I add?  The “smiling rind of cheese” that lights up the cavernous interior of the giant refrigerator is a Cheshire grin, so when we get to “alice” at the end of the first paragraph (dot, dot, dot) there are two of them: Alice B. Toklas (Gertrude Stein’s lover) and Alice in Wonderland. And what a trip down the rabbit hole this gertrude poem is! How simple! How vivid! How!

Lastly, metafiction is at war with realism. Join the fight. Now that you know what it is like. To be a type-writer. In a dress.

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