Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Drawing.” Part 2 of 2


THE BOOK ..........................-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ...................-           OBJECTS
THE SUBPOEM ...................-           A DRAWING: NUMBER 30
STANZAS..............................-           1
WORD COUNT......................-          38
THE LEADER........................-           THE STEINY ROAD POET
GENRE..................................-           VIRTUAL OPERA
LOCATION............................-           USA, UK, Australia, Philippines, S. Africa, Canada.
TIME......................................-           ALL HOURS OF EARTH’S CLOCK
TONE.....................................-           EXPANSIVE

“Maybe it's just what comes up in our minds is just part of the overall way things work in the universe—The Theory of Everything.” Karren Alenier


The meaning of this is entirely and best to say the mark, best to say it best to show sudden places, best to make bitter, best to make the length tall and nothing broader, anything between the half.

To review, Peter Treanor set out the following comment like a plate of milk for a finicky cat and then we Buttons all moved on to other topics as noted in Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Drawing.” Part 1 of 2:

The meaning of this is

And there is the goddess Isis


Fifteen days later the Steiny Road Poet mining the artifacts of the study session on “A Drawing.” challenged Peter to revisit the possible connection the myth of Isis might have on Tender Buttons and this particular subpoem.

Peter who sees anagrammatically, reconfigured this is as th Isis. For the moment, Dear Reader, we will ignore the disembodied th.

While Steiny is fully aware that Stein scholars say that Gertrude Stein’s writing contains no allusions, Tender Buttons is not like any other work Stein wrote. Against all counsel, Steiny and her band of merry Buttons have been enjoying the rich associations that the letters, words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, titles have been eliciting. Indeed many of the associations look mightily like allusions—passing references made obliquely to obscure things or ideas.  What made Steiny interested particularly in pursuing the Isis association—as big a reach as this is (oops, can’t avoid the IS-IS-ness), was research she was doing on the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire where one scholar talked about how Apollinaire reconfigured old myths regularly in his poetry. Because Stein considered him a brilliant mind and said so in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Steiny thought it might be worth going out on a limb to look at Isis.


So Peter dug in saying, “I think she [Stein] would be drawn to the strong female goddess imagery, and the relationship with her brother especially. Even if their relationship wasn’t sexual ( GS and Leo), it was intense and productive. And was so completely ripped apart when Alice came along as lover, it seems like there were intense feelings and tensions between brother and sister that may or may not have been overt and/or realised. Isis and Osiris produced Horus (god of cultivation, farming). GS and Leo gave birth to the infants of Modernism.”

She [Isis] was the friend of slavessinnersartisans and the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers.

“Seems to be a great description of GS's role in the salons of Paris,” Peter glossed.

She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus with him [after Osiris was dead and resurrected]. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris. It was believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow that Isis wept for Osiris.

“Well,” Peter wondered. “She and Leo were certainly very close, a marriage of minds, if nothing else. And obviously linked together with a passion, the nature of their complete and catastrophic split points to a great intensity.”

After she assimilated many of the roles of Hathor, Isis's headdress is replaced with that of Hathor’s—the horns of a cow on her head, with the solar disk between them, and often with her original throne symbol atop the solar disk. Sometimes she also is represented as a cow, or with a cow's head. 

Peter said, “Associations with the cow and GS does describe her [Gertrude] and Alice as cows and having a cow, as having an orgasm.”

She created a golden phallus, with the help of Thoth, and attached it to Osiris’s body. She then transformed into a kite and with the aid of Thoth’s magic conceived Horus the Younger.

Just for clarity, Steiny points out here that Horus is only one god but as a boy (Horus the Younger) according to the Ptolemaic Greeks is seen as a naked child wearing a sidelock of hair (symbol of youth). This extraneous fact might come in handy later and made Steiny think of the hair reference in "Careless Water.".

To Peter’s list, Steiny added that Isis:
Was first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky.
Had an association between knots and magical power.

The knot association meshes with Allan Keeton’s discussion of Mississippi river boat captains using knotted sounding lines to determine river navigation in Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Drawing.” Part 1 of 2.

That Isis was the daughter of another sister-brother pair—the god of Earth and the goddess of Sky—will be put on hold until Steiny compiles the discussion of the next two subpoems “Water raining.” and “Cold Climate.”. And one more thing, Osiris was killed by Set, brother to Osiris and Isis.


Now back to TH in the reconfigured this is as th Isis. Peter pointed out that Isis means “throne” and her headdress, once she takes on the roles of Hathor, looks like a throne. Steiny could not stop herself from mentioning that the headdress of Isis is head art something Peter played with in “A Red Hat.”.

Still worried about the stretch of finding Isis in this is, Steiny compiled a list of Stein using this is throughout Section 1 “Objects”:

this is the best preparation for three and more being together.  “A Substance in a Cushion.”, stanza 6

The use of this is manifold. “A Seltzer Bottle.”

This is no dark custom and it even is not acted in any such a way that a restraint is not spread. "A Piano."

The meaning of this is entirely and best to say the mark  “A Drawing.”

This is not tardy. “A TIME TO EAT.”

This is not true. “A LITTLE CALLED PAULINE.”

Elephant beaten with candy and little pops and chews all bolts and reckless reckless rats, this is this. “A SOUND.”

“THIS IS THIS DRESS, AIDER.” title of last subpoem of "Objects"

Karren’s/Steiny’s analysis:

“The list brings up questions about how important the repetition of this is through "Objects". 

“Because the last subpoem of "Objects" has the phrase in its title, I tend to think there is some intentionality to its use.

“Also, and this is jumping way ahead of where we are in our studies, I will point out under the influence of Peter’s amazing skills with seeing new words within a single word that THIS IS THIS might be THIS IS SHIT!”

However, this moment of levity didn’t stop Steiny from moving on to another possibility for th: Th from the Periodic Table is the symbol for thorium. And it also didn’t stop Peter from connecting th with ordinal numbers and infinity. But both of these paths caused Peter and Steiny throbbing headaches without fruitful ties to Isis or this subpoem. So Steiny will politely assign the associations of thorium and ordinal numbers to the THIS IS THIS category.


Then Allan pointed out the obvious from the Isis myth:


is a way to complete -O- with th-th.

He was scribe to the Gods.
A writer.

Writing is what we are doing now.

[The inside scoop on -O- is that while some of the Buttons refer to God as G-d, Allan took a liking to calling God -O-.]

To this Peter responded:
Allan ....Oh my !
Thoth. as  th o th
Thoth became heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes,[6] the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science,[7] and the judgment of the dead.[8]
And it was Thoth who helped Isis fashion a golden phallus (Penis, Pen is  for writing) to attach to the dismembered dead body of Osiris so she could impregnate herself to produce Horus.”


And Allan could not resist resurrecting ordinal numbers (as they deal with set theory) to tie them to the overall analysis of Section 1 “Objects”.

“Writing is drawing, especially as hieroglyphs.

“The set of all subsets of Tender Button Objects is interesting.

“If OBJECTS is the set of Tender Button objects then
OBJECTS contains things like Paper & Drawing singly.

“But the set S = 2^OBJECTS contains all collections of
of OBJECTS putting Paper & Drawing together
in a set {Paper, Drawing} as an element of S.

“It also contains the subset

“It seems very interesting to collect subsets of OBJECTS together.

“Karren already does this by having these threads
about two or more contiguous OBJECTS.

“But any number can be collected from any place.

“The set S of all subsets of OBJECTS also
contains the empty set of no OBJECTS, which
as Peter points out is -O- & /,
a gender-ambiguous notion of God & Man.

“That set is not a OBJECT.
It also contains no OBJECT, but it is in the set all subsets
of OBJECTS, like it is in the set of all subsets of any set.
[Might we say it is Set who killed—zeroed out—Osiris?]

“One subset of a set is the entire set itself so OBJECTS
as a set is contained in S = 2^OBJECTS.

“Gertrude seems to point to this in a different way,
as we have already seen, as one of the OBJECTS
in OBJECTS is the button OBJECTS.

“Thus OBJECTS is recursively contained in OBJECTS.”


And so Steiny is back to thinking entirely how best to negotiate the tall length and broadness, anything between the half, to hit the mark, to capture those sudden places and what she gets is a vision of is—all or nothing.  Win, lose or draw—let's get on with the contest and accept whatever results may ensue. The only possibilities are win, lose, draw—or suspend the contest for a different day, as in a baseball game that has been rained out.

Now what does Gertrude point to next? Take a look if you can possibly stand it—WATER RAINING. Yes, indeed the physics of Gertrude Stein post mortem is the Theory of Everything. Hang onto your boots and brollies.

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