Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Dog.", “A White Hunter." Part 2 of 3


THE BOOK ..........................-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ...................-           OBJECTS
THE SUBPOEM ...................-          A DOG: NUMBER 50
WORD COUNT......................-           30
THE SUBPOEM ...................-          A WHITE HUNTER: NUMBER 51
WORD COUNT......................-           6
STANZA(S)............................-           1 EACH
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.....................................-           JAUNTY BUT CRAZED

“I knew there was a pornographic frisson about this poem.”
Eleanor Smagarinsky

A little money goes like donkey piss.” Allan Keeton


A little monkey goes like a donkey that means to say that means to say that more sighs last goes. Leave with it. A little monkey goes like a donkey.


A white hunter is nearly crazy.


Now we are ready to roll up our sleeves and see the grassroots talk of the TB MOOSG. The Steiny Road Poet selected what she will call the highlights. In part 2 of Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Dog.", “A White Hunter.", The Buttons converse about crazy lyricism, carnality, Stein’s transformation of English into a language we do not know, dominance perpetrated by white males, barbarians, masks of Venetian masquerades, dragonflies, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, word play A Dog è Goad. Also note that some of this conversation can be heard in Eleanor Smagarinsky’s sound file “Dog and Hunter Overture.”

Judy Meibach:
I love the first one ["A Dog."]—there is a crazy lyricism—to it—I love the rhythm —what is GS' obsession with animals—and then the second sub-poem: Hunter—what is this thing about animals—am I off?”


Nope, not off at all, Judy.

“Base instincts are what I think we have here. Stein's background as undergraduate was psychology. She understands the pull of sexual attraction.”


“A dog is a little monkey in that it seems to have primate consciousness in its affinity for the human.
Oh it means to say. It truly means to say.
But it goes on all fours like a donkey & it cannot say.
It more sighs as it at last goes.


“morse eyes [more sighs]
lass ghost” [last goes]

Dave Green:

“Animals keep transmuting into other types of animals. This is driving the white hunter nearly crazy.

“Stein keeps transforming a language we think we know into something else. This is driving the conventional reader nearly nuts.

“We think her poem is one that means to say, that means to say...but then we end up with just more sighs. 

“Best to ‘Leave with it,’ to just go with the flow.”


“Great Dave.

“The hunter of language uses his dog to scent
out the words so that he can take his kill home.
Dead & understood to mount in a frame in his den.

“But that damn dog keeps changing into a mischievous monkey
which transmutes into a stubborn donkey.
The words won't play straight & they have captured
his sense of meaning.

“What does it mean to say?

“Or perhaps the  great white     hunter's
                            whale       is hunting him
& now he is monkey-brained
&                       jack-assed.

“Why do Caucasians hunt this way?”


And why do white men write in that way which has become the ‘norm’? 

“White male writers capturing words in a way that seems ‘nearly crazy’ to women writers?

“Are women the prey of the male word-hunters?
(present company excluded...the male writers in our group are superlative :-)”
To make her point clear, Eleanor linked to Monica McClure, reading her poem “Hey Dick.”


Referencing what Dave said, Karren worried about the incoming conventional reader of poetry who might appear as ModPo 3 opens in September 2014:

Animals keep transmuting into other types of animals. This is driving the white hunter nearly crazy. Stein keeps transforming a language we think we know into something else. This is driving the conventional reader nearly nuts. [Dave Green] 

“OMG, Dave,
this so nails what we are moving into when we get to ModPo 3—the dance with the conventional reader. The conventional reader as WHITE HUN-TER. 

Hun  (hŭn)
1. A member of a nomadic pastoralist people who invaded Europe in the fourth and fifth centuries a.d. and were defeated in 455.
2. often hun A barbarous or destructive person.
3. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a German, especially a German soldier in World War I.


Meanwhile Eleanor picked back up the theme of base instincts. She showed the Buttons, a new way to arrange the letters of the title “A Dog.”

“’A DO G.’

"’Alice Does Gertrude.’

“I knew there was a pornographic frisson about this poem, but the title really brings it home. Of course, 1914 might be far too early for this use of ‘do,’ but Stein does continuously surprise us, so you never know.

“Interestingly, ‘to do someone’ can also mean ‘to kill’...which is what a hunter does.

“There is a sense that Stein is going further, and taking more risks, with each of her poems at this late stage of the book (linguistically & sexually). I feel a male presence, and can't help wondering if she's comparing penis sizes, pointing to anal sex (donkey=ass), and introducing a bestial slant. There's something savage about these poems, and I keep going back to what Sarah [Maitland Parks] said about the escalating violence in the poems—Sarah, I really do feel it. I won't lie....this arena of dogs, monkeys and donkeys is not the most comfortable place to inhabit.


“Perhaps it's about role playing? I suddenly had an image of a Venetian masquerade ball, and those amazing I looked them up here and found:

 “I searched for ‘dog’ and ‘la dogaressa’ mask showed up:

Origin of Dogaressa:
Italian, from Italian dialect (Venice), from Latin ducatrix female leader, feminine of duc-, dux leader.

“I doubt this is what Stein had in mind, but for the sake of jump-starting our imaginations, I reckon this does the trick very well. Because this is what we're all wondering, isn't it? Who's the dog? monkey? donkey? Is someone the ducatrix? Hmmm.....

“On a lighter note....our study group is a masked ball in many ways. We know very little about each other, and yet we dance quite intimately. Much like our relationship with Stein's texts.’

Here Karren interjected:

“Eleanor, you are so on the money honey to take this discussion to Venetian masks.  A & G honeymooned in Venice!! Here they are in Piazza San Marco.”



“By the by....I noticed that the masks are divided into feather and leather. Reminded me of "A Little Called Pauline."—‘Cough out cough out in the leather and really feather it is not for.’”

[Steiny thinks testing the subpoems for masquerade should be added to that Kushiot list.]


“I was looking up ducatrix & was surprised to find it
is also a dragonfly.

“This guy looks like a little monkey with wings.”

Eleanor quoted Shakespeare from "A Midsummer Night's Dream",  Act 2, Scene 1:

  Having once this juice,
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she waking looks upon—
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey or on busy ape—
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
And ere I take this charm from of her sight—
As I can take it with another herb—
I’ll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible.
And I will overhear their conference.

[Leading Steiny to think that the Shakespeare test should also be added to that Kushiot list. Really? “meddling monkey or busy ape” and don’t forget how Bottom becomes a jackass (donkey):

Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb
to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
I must scratch.]


Code being a specialty of Peter, he said anagrammatically,

A Dog, is she goad-ing us here, prodding us, or someone else into action?

“I think she might be, maybe both monkey and donkey, hold the key to something, maybe they have that in common, a key that is..
A little (and) like each other but what do they unlock?

“There are two goes, two goes which look like muddled up egos to me. And there's nothing more complicated than a muddled ego (except two of them maybe).

“So who or what are the monkey and the donkey? Alice and her [Stein]? the reader and the writer? Both a little like each other, both holding the key to something, maybe each other, both with muddled up egos (goes). Both stimulating, following, guarding and goading each other like a faithful dog, man's best friend and possibly woman's too (after the diamonds of course).”

[Stay tuned for more on key conversation.]

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