Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cooking with Tender Buttons Food: Sugar. Stanzas 1-18 thru Moby Dick

THE BOOK ..........................-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ...................-           FOOD
THE SUBPOEM ...................-           Sugar
WORD COUNT (Total)……...-          333
STANZA(S)............................-            18
Stanzas 1-8                                      170
Stanzas 9-18                                    163
THE LEADER........................-          THE STEINY ROAD POET
About reading Tender Buttons thru Moby Dick: See introto Breakfast thru MD

“Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 1: Loomings

What did Gertrude Stein do to prepare herself for a writing career? The short answer is that she spent several months in London at the British Museum reading every novel written in English that was in that collection.

A longer answer involves her scientific background and what she said in her lectures in America. Having scientific training and experience as an undergraduate researcher at Harvard and then four years studying medicine afterwards at Johns Hopkins, Stein was not likely to build a new career without a methodology. In “What Is English Literature” from Lectures in America by Gertrude Stein, she said, “It is awfully important to know what is and what is not in your business”  (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957, p. 13).

In “Poetry and Grammar” from Lectures in America, Stein spends considerable effort saying she had not intended for Tender Buttons to be poetry but it is because she is reliant on nouns to name the thing she loves. She points to Shakespeare as having “in the forest of Arden…created a forest without mentioning the things that make a forest.” She says you sense what is there but Shakespeare “does not name its names” (p. 236). What she hoped to avoid in the language she chose was “imitation…of sounds or colors or emotions” in favor of “intellectual recreation” (p. 238).

What the Steiny Road Poet is saying is that Stein based her writing on writing already written but she did not name names. A long standing reader of Stein will sense the things that make Stein’s forest and then revel in her intellectual recreation.

In looking at “Sugar.” through Moby Dick, Steiny encountered obstacles that were actually doors to other works of literature—the Prose Edda and Uncle Tom's Cabin. The composite becomes a commentary on personal freedom relative to slavery in America, racism, homosexual discrimination, and artistic choice.


So Steiny asks where is the sugar in Moby Dick? In Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand, Melville equates spermaceti oil to a sweetener. Of course, sugar is a sweetener and since Stein’s “Sugar.” has nothing to do on the surface with the white crystalline carbohydrate called sugar, a consumer of this subpoem has to look elsewhere.

No wonder that in old times this sperm was such a favourite cosmetic. Such a clearer! such a sweetener! [excerpt from Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand]

A violent luck and a whole sample and even then quiet.

Steiny will back into stanza 1 based on believing strongly that Stein draws stanza 2 from Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand. Therefore, she thinks stanza 1 pertains to what happened to Pip the cabin boy in Chapter 93: The Castaway when second mate Stubb took Pip out in his whaleboat to replace an injured crewmate. When a whale goes under Stubb’s boat, Pip, who is terrified, jumps out of the boat and worse gets tangled in the active harpoon line. Tashtego, the harpoonist is forced then to cut the line and lose his harpoon, which is attached to a whale. Otherwise Pip would have been strangled to death. Stubb gives Pip some “wholesome advice” which relates to Stein’s “whole sample.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, sample is from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French essample or “example” and example goes back to Latin exemplum “sample, imitation,” from eximere “take out.”

Here’s the passage from Chapter 93: The Castaway:

"Damn him, cut!" roared Stubb; and so the whale was lost and Pip was saved.

So soon as he recovered himself, the poor little negro was assailed by yells and execrations from the crew. Tranquilly permitting these irregular cursings to evaporate, Stubb then in a plain, business-like, but still half humorous manner, cursed Pip officially; and that done, unofficially gave him much wholesome advice. The substance was, Never jump from a boat, Pip, except—but all the rest was indefinite, as the soundest advice ever is. Now, in general, STICK TO THE BOAT, is your true motto in whaling; but cases will sometimes happen when LEAP FROM THE BOAT, is still better. Moreover, as if perceiving at last that if he should give undiluted conscientious advice to Pip, he would be leaving him too wide a margin to jump in for the future; Stubb suddenly dropped all advice, and concluded with a peremptory command, "Stick to the boat, Pip, or by the Lord, I won't pick you up if you jump; mind that. We can't afford to lose whales by the likes of you; a whale would sell for thirty times what you would, Pip, in Alabama. Bear that in mind, and don't jump any more." Hereby perhaps Stubb indirectly hinted, that though man loved his fellow, yet man is a money-making animal, which propensity too often interferes with his benevolence.

One could say that Stubb made an example of Pip by staying true to his word—if Pip jumped out the boat again, then Pip would get left behind. The etymology of sample points to example and take out which fits what happened with Pip. The other thing about this passage is that Stubb’s threat to Pip alludes to the slave market of Alabama where Pip’s monetary value would only be one thirtieth of the value of a whale.

Water is squeezing, water is almost squeezing on lard. Water, water is a mountain and it is selected and it is so practical that there is no use in money. A mind under is exact and so it is necessary to have a mouth and eye glasses.

Given the word squeeze, what comes to mind is Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand. Here Ishmael is squeezing fatty lumps of sperm whale blubber (lard) to make it liquid. All the stress of Ahab’s quest to find the white whale vanishes into a crazy bliss that cannot be sustained by the intellect or imagination in the face of everyday callings. For now, I will table associations for mouth and eye glasses.

As I sat there at my ease, cross-legged on the deck; after the bitter exertion at the windlass; under a blue tranquil sky; the ship under indolent sail, and gliding so serenely along; as I bathed my hands among those soft, gentle globules of infiltrated tissues, woven almost within the hour; as they richly broke to my fingers, and discharged all their opulence, like fully ripe grapes their wine; as I snuffed up that uncontaminated aroma,—literally and truly, like the smell of spring violets; I declare to you, that for the time I lived as in a musky meadow; I forgot all about our horrible oath; in that inexpressible sperm, I washed my hands and my heart of it; I almost began to credit the old Paracelsan superstition that sperm is of rare virtue in allaying the heat of anger; while bathing in that bath, I felt divinely free from all ill-will, or petulance, or malice, of any sort whatsoever.

Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,—Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.

Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever! For now, since by many prolonged, repeated experiences, I have perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity; not placing it anywhere in the intellect or the fancy; but in the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fireside, the country; now that I have perceived all this, I am ready to squeeze case eternally. In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows of angels in paradise, each with his hands in a jar of spermaceti. [excerpt from Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand]

A question of sudden rises and more time than awfulness is so easy and shady. There is precisely that noise.

A couple of things come to mind relative to stanza 3.  A question of sudden rises might point to whales suddenly surfacing and being under a whale boat as was the case in Chapter 93: The Castaway when Pip, startled by such action of the whale, jumped out of the boat twice. In the last chapter: The Chase—The Third Day, the crew of the Pequod see Fedullah’s body lashed to Moby Dick’s back. Melville often describes Fedullah as a shady character. Ahab drops his harpoon and cries out, reflecting on Fedullah’s prophesy about two hearses.

A peck a small piece not privately overseen, not at all not a slice, not at all crestfallen and open, not at all mounting and chaining and evenly surpassing, all the bidding comes to tea.

Melville uses birds both metaphorically and actually. Therefore, peck brings to mind avian instances such as the comment that passes between Stubb and Flask about Ahab in Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck:

But on the occasion in question, those dents looked deeper, even as
his nervous step that morning left a deeper mark. And, so full of his
thought was Ahab, that at every uniform turn that he made, now at the
main-mast and now at the binnacle, you could almost see that thought
turn in him as he turned, and pace in him as he paced; so completely
possessing him, indeed, that it all but seemed the inward mould of every
outer movement.

"D'ye mark him, Flask?" whispered Stubb; "the chick that's in him pecks
the shell. 'Twill soon be out."

In Chapter 134: The Chase—Second Day, Ahab is overheard muttering to himself about the loss of Fedullah, whom he refers to as the Parsee, and what Fedullah’s death means. Ahab says it is a puzzle that like a hawk’s beak pecks at his brain. This passage also seems to be operative for Stein’s stanza 9.

"And as mechanical," muttered Ahab. Then as the men went forward, he
muttered on: "The things called omens! And yesterday I talked the same to Starbuck there, concerning my broken boat. Oh! how valiantly I seek to drive out of others' hearts what's clinched so fast in mine!—The Parsee—the Parsee!—gone, gone? and he was to go before:--but still was to be seen again ere I could perish—How's that?—There's a riddle now might baffle all the lawyers backed by the ghosts of the whole line of judges:—like a hawk's beak it pecks my brain. I'LL, I'LL solve it, though!"

These two passages seem to set up the use of the word peck in Chapter 135: The Chase—Third Day. Melville uses the word peck twice in this chapter. The first reference pertains to a hawk visiting the Pequod to peck and tear away the red flag flying on the mainmast. Flags often carried the crest of owners and so we could view this theft as a crest falling incident.

“…drive off that hawk! see! he pecks—he tears the vane"—pointing to the red flag flying at the main-truck—"Ha! he soars away with it!—Where's the old man now? see'st thou that sight, oh Ahab!—shudder, shudder!"

The second use of peck depicts Tashtego nailing up a new flag to the mast but his effort is hampered by the marauding hawk that ends up getting nailed to the mast. As Melville describes what happens to the bird, it seems the bird becomes part of “the flag of Ahab” as if he is a living crest.

But as the last whelmings intermixingly poured themselves over the
sunken head of the Indian at the mainmast, leaving a few inches of the
erect spar yet visible, together with long streaming yards of the flag,
which calmly undulated, with ironical coincidings, over the destroying
billows they almost touched;—at that instant, a red arm and a hammer
hovered backwardly uplifted in the open air, in the act of nailing
the flag faster and yet faster to the subsiding spar. A sky-hawk that
tauntingly had followed the main-truck downwards from its natural home
among the stars, pecking at the flag, and incommoding Tashtego there;
this bird now chanced to intercept its broad fluttering wing between the
hammer and the wood; and simultaneously feeling that etherial thrill,
the submerged savage beneath, in his death-gasp, kept his hammer frozen
there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his
imperial beak thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the
flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink
to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and
helmeted herself with it.

An interpretation of not at all mounting and chaining and evenly surpassing, all the bidding comes to tea could point to the activities of catching a whale which when done well come to a T, perfection. Or at least the bidding or order/commands of Captain Ahab from his perspective would be rated that way.

A separation is not tightly in worsted and sauce, it is so kept well and sectionally.

Stanza 5 could be referencing Chapter 83: Jonah Historically Regarded. This chapter deals with the story of Jonah and the whale. The following paragraph from that chapter uses the word worsted (meaning gotten the advantage over, to defeat or beat) and discusses a real life possibility that Jonah’s whale was a ship called The Whale.

One old Sag-Harbor whaleman's chief reason for questioning the Hebrew story was this:—He had one of those quaint old-fashioned Bibles, embellished with curious, unscientific plates; one of which represented Jonah's whale with two spouts in his head—a peculiarity only true with respect to a species of the Leviathan (the Right Whale, and the varieties of that order), concerning which the fishermen have this saying, "A penny roll would choke him"; his swallow is so very small. But, to this, Bishop Jebb's anticipative answer is ready. It is not necessary, hints the Bishop, that we consider Jonah as tombed in the whale's belly, but as temporarily lodged in some part of his mouth. And this seems reasonable enough in the good Bishop. For truly, the Right Whale's mouth would accommodate a couple of whist-tables, and comfortably seat all the players. Possibly, too, Jonah might have ensconced himself in a hollow tooth; but, on second thoughts, the Right Whale is toothless.

Another reason which Sag-Harbor (he went by that name) urged for his want of faith in this matter of the prophet, was something obscurely in reference to his incarcerated body and the whale's gastric juices. But this objection likewise falls to the ground, because a German exegetist supposes that Jonah must have taken refuge in the floating body of a DEAD whale--even as the French soldiers in the Russian campaign turned their dead horses into tents, and crawled into them. Besides, it has been divined by other continental commentators, that when Jonah was thrown overboard from the Joppa ship, he straightway effected his escape to another vessel near by, some vessel with a whale for a figure-head; and, I would add, possibly called "The Whale," as some craft are nowadays christened the "Shark," the "Gull," the "Eagle." Nor have there been wanting learned exegetists who have opined that the whale mentioned in the book of Jonah merely meant a life-preserver—an inflated bag of wind—which the endangered prophet swam to, and so was saved from a watery doom. Poor Sag-Harbor, therefore, seems worsted all round. But he had still another reason for his want of faith. It was this, if I remember right: Jonah was swallowed by the whale in the Mediterranean Sea, and after three days he was vomited up somewhere within three days' journey of Nineveh, a city on the Tigris, very much more than three days' journey across from the nearest point of the Mediterranean coast. How is that?

Put it in the stew, put it to shame. A little slight shadow and a solid fine furnace.

The teasing is tender and trying and thoughtful.

Stanzas 6 and 7 seem to point to the first whale killed by the crew of the Pequod. The whaling team was Tashtego and Stubb. Once the whale is moored with chains to the Pequod, Stubb orders a midnight dinner of whale steak from the Black cook Fleece, but he tells the old man the steak is overcooked and that cook has beaten it too much so the steak is also too tender. Then he teases Fleece, who has been summoned from sleep, to tell the sharks to quit feasting on the dead whale.

"Cook," said Stubb, rapidly lifting a rather reddish morsel to his mouth, "don't you think this steak is rather overdone? You've been beating this steak too much, cook; it's too tender. Don't I always say that to be good, a whale-steak must be tough? There are those sharks now over the side, don't you see they prefer it tough and rare? What a shindy they are kicking up! Cook, go and talk to 'em; tell 'em they are welcome to help themselves civilly, and in moderation, but they must keep quiet. Blast me, if I can hear my own voice. Away, cook, and deliver my message. Here, take this lantern," snatching one from his sideboard; "now then, go and preach to 'em!" [Chapter 64: Stubb’s Supper]

The line which sets sprinkling to be a remedy is beside the best cold.

The rope line which attaches to a harpoon gets burning hot after the harpoon is thrown. In Chapter 61: Stubb Kills a Whale, Stubb accidentally drops his hand-cloths and then calls out for the line to be wet (sprinkled with sea water) in order to cool it down.

"Ka-la! Koo-loo!" howled Queequeg, as if smacking his lips over a mouthful of Grenadier's steak. And thus with oars and yells the keels cut the sea. Meanwhile, Stubb retaining his place in the van, still encouraged his men to the onset, all the while puffing the smoke from his mouth. Like desperadoes they tugged and they strained, till the welcome cry was heard—"Stand up, Tashtego!—give it to him!" The harpoon was hurled. "Stern all!" The oarsmen backed water; the same moment something went hot and hissing along every one of their wrists. It was the magical line. An instant before, Stubb had swiftly caught two additional turns with it round the loggerhead, whence, by reason of its increased rapid circlings, a hempen blue smoke now jetted up and mingled with the steady fumes from his pipe. As the line passed round and round the loggerhead; so also, just before reaching that point, it blisteringly passed through and through both of Stubb's hands, from which the hand-cloths, or squares of quilted canvas sometimes worn at these times, had accidentally dropped. It was like holding an enemy's sharp two-edged sword by the blade, and that enemy all the time striving to wrest it out of your clutch.

"Wet the line! wet the line!" cried Stubb to the tub oarsman (him seated by the tub) who, snatching off his hat, dashed sea-water into it.* More turns were taken, so that the line began holding its place. The boat now flew through the boiling water like a shark all fins. Stubb and Tashtego here changed places—stem for stern—a staggering business truly in that rocking commotion.

*Partly to show the indispensableness of this act, it may here be stated, that, in the old Dutch fishery, a mop was used to dash the running line with water; in many other ships, a wooden piggin, or bailer, is set apart for that purpose. Your hat, however, is the most convenient.

A puzzle, a monster puzzle, a heavy choking, a neglected Tuesday.

Melville uses the word monster frequently to refer to Moby Dick and Ahab is heard muttering about the puzzle the monster has created relative to the loss of Ahab’s special mate Fedullah in Chapter 134: The Chase—Second Day and what Fedullah’s death means. Ahab says it is a puzzle that like a hawk’s beak that pecks at his brain. This passage also seems to be operative for Stein’s stanza 9 (the scene is mentioned in the discussion of stanza 4 of “Sugar.”). However, the word Tuesday, and a neglected Tuesday at that, remains a mystery until Steiny investigated the etymology of Tuesday.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cooking with Tender Buttons Food: Sugar. Stanzas 9-18. Discussion 2

 THE BOOK ..........................-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ...................-           FOOD
THE SUBPOEM ...................-           Sugar
WORD COUNT (Total)……...-          333
STANZA(S)............................-            18
Stanzas 1-8                                      170
—Stanzas 9-18                                    163
THE LEADER........................-          THE STEINY ROAD POET

The second half of “Sugar.” also proved to be a slippery sets of stanzas to discuss and required the Steiny Road Poet to interpret comments and choose how to present what was said. While both stanzas 1 through 8 and stanzas 9 through 18 of “Sugar.” deal with sexual topics, the emphasis in the second half is less judgmental and more matter of fact. Additionally, part 2 stanzas seem more evocative relative to Steinian semantics and visual art while part 1 stanzas seem more narrative.

The last ten stanzas of “Sugar.” has a 163-word count in contrast to the 170 words of the first eight stanzas. Among the topics addressed in this post are: myths, monsters & games; comfort food versus forbidden edibles; ill effects of sugar; the chemistry of sugar; sexual panic; sex as seen through water and fire; sexual abstractions; the art of the gas jet; crosstalk between “Sugar.” & “Roastbeef.”. Here are stanzas 9 through 18:

A puzzle, a monster puzzle, a heavy choking, a neglected Tuesday.

Wet crossing and a likeness, any likeness, a likeness has blisters, it has that and teeth, it has the staggering blindly and a little green, any little green is ordinary.

One, two and one, two, nine, second and five and that.

A blaze, a search in between, a cow, only any wet place, only this tune.

Cut a gas jet uglier and then pierce pierce in between the next and negligence. Choose the rate to pay and pet pet very much. A collection of all around, a signal poison, a lack of languor and more hurts at ease.

A white bird, a colored mine, a mixed orange, a dog.

Cuddling comes in continuing a change.

A piece of separate outstanding rushing is so blind with open delicacy.

A canoe is orderly. A period is solemn. A cow is accepted.

A nice old chain is widening, it is absent, it is laid by.

“And for Stein, food has also to do with taboos, what will make you ill or sinful, what is forbidden. What is coded as sexual: a cow for orgasm, a wet place, a blaze. What has onomatopoeic force of echo and reiteration: a a a a, ca-cu-ca-cu. ‘Cuddling comes in continuing a change.’" Mary Armour

In order to discuss stanzas 9 through 18, the Buttons often drew their impressions from several non-contiguous stanzas, so Steiny is listing stanzas addressed in the subtitles of each section of this post.


Karren Alenier began the discussion with stanza 9 and said:
A puzzle, a monster puzzle, a heavy choking, a neglected Tuesday.

This stanza seems to be consumed by a perplexing puzzle that has caused the neglect of the Norse war god Tiw or Týr, his victory and his heroic glory.

“I base this on Stein’s use of the word Tuesday which Wikipedia says:”

The English name is derived from Old English Tiwesdægand Middle English Tewesday, meaning "Tīw's Day", the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of single combat, victory and heroic glory in Norse mythology. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica, and the name of the day is a translation of Latin dies Martis.

“Perhaps this why the sugar is causing so much choking as well as other problems that we saw in the first half of this subpoem.

“I suspect Stein is talking about herself and now sugar is something other than Alice.”

Teri Rife approached stanza 9 by looking at other subpoems of Tender Buttons:

“Here's the monster again, and this time a monster puzzle.  We've had monstrous in 1) ‘A red hat.’ and monster in 2) ‘Mutton.’.

1)A dark grey, a very dark grey, a quite dark grey is monstrous ordinarily, it is so monstrous because there is no red in it. [‘A red hat.’]

      2)Mud and water were not present and not any more of either. Silk and stockings were not present and not any more of either. A receptacle and a symbol and no monster were present and no more. This made a piece show and was it a kindness, it can be asked was it a kindness to have it warmer, was it a kindness and does gliding mean more. Does it. [stanza 9 of ‘Mutton.’]

“Karren's comment in ‘Mutton.’:
I think Stein is doing two things here simultaneously. First of all she is invoking the creation myth with all the mud and water and that monster which is likely to be the golem, a man-like creature created from mud. Except her invocation comes from a negative stance. The actual creation is some kind of sculpture. So Stein is pointing to the making of art.

“So, it would appear that the golem is back in this subpoem.  Consider Stanza #10 of ‘Sugar.’:
Wet crossing and a likeness, any likeness, a likeness has blisters, it has that and teeth, it has the staggering blindly and a little green, any little green is ordinary.

“Sounds golem-like, but for the green.

“Also, consider Stanza #16 of ‘Sugar.’:
A piece of separate outstanding rushing is so blind with open delicacy.

“This seems to echo This made a piece show and was it a kindness.. [excerpt from stanza 9 of ‘Mutton.’]  
So there's kindness in Mutton and blind-ness in ‘Sugar.’.

“A puzzle is a game, and we saw a game in green and, again, a piece in ‘A plate.’:
A kind of green a game in green and nothing flat nothing quite flat and more round, nothing a particular color strangely, nothing breaking the losing of no little piece. [excerpt from stanza 3 of ‘A plate.’]

Alenier responded:

“The green seems a logical outgrowth from the mud! Brilliant! It does seem we have the golem here with its blisters and teeth!

Alenier also liked Rife’s “blind-kind” association. She said,

“My theory is that wherever Stein mentions kind we are talking gender identity. Blind logically connects to kind and it seems also to connect us to the golem. Maybe something like the elephant in the room? The prohibition on same sex relationships?

To wrap up thoughts about what Rife wrote, Alenier made this observation punctuated with a question:

“So here Teri connects the object—plate—with the food—sugar—which has become this game in green. Not sure where this line of thinking goes. Any thoughts?”


Mary Armour responded to what Teri Rife had to say by looking at the big picture. She said:

I want to look at “Sugar.” from a few different angles. Right at the beginning of the Food section in TB, Stein gives a list of headings or topics:


“It's all about comfort food and where food is eaten and at what time of the year and the centrality of food as structuring a togetherness and a work of art. But it is also about more than food and about the dangers or what is hidden behind food, what food stands for. In this, we go back to Stein as an etymologist, separating words from context and having them stand alone, apart, the word in itself, the ding an sich we have seen elsewhere.

“And for Stein, food has also to do with taboos, what will make you ill or sinful, what is forbidden. What is coded as sexual: a cow for orgasm, a wet place, a blaze. What has onomatopoeic force of echo and reiteration: a a a a, ca-cu-ca-cu. ‘Cuddling comes in continuing a change.’"


“But when I hear this sentence, my projection perhaps, I hear something akin to sexual panic:

Wet crossing and a likeness, any likeness, a likeness has blisters, it has that and teeth, it has the staggering blindly and a little green, any little green is ordinary.

“A wet crossing as slippery and dangerous? Some kind of treacherous glissade, of loss of meaning, loss of footing, uncertainty?

“a likeness, any likeness, a likeness has blisterssome kind of contagious infection, reflections of selves that dissolve identity? What is separate and what is a piece of and what is merging or spilling over in a mirrored identity? Blisters indicate burns, infection, contagion, some open sores or repulsion in what is reflected

“it has that and teeththis is chilling for me, as if it recalls what Virginia Woolf describes in The Years, the child Rose exposed to the gibbering man in the street who exposes himself to her kind of allergy. A reflected face that is a likeness but has blisters and teeth, something not quite human, the vagina dentata, the loathsome consequence of the broken taboo

“The same likeness has this too: the staggering blindly and a little green. Which makes me wonder if our Green Fairy absinthe is making a reappearance, the loss of control and disorder of drunkenness. [e.g., the Buttons discussed the Green Fairy absinthe in ‘Glazed glitter.’]

“And then a change, recovery of the everyday, a return to another kind of green: any little green is ordinary. A village green, a green ribbon, a salad green. The green of asparagus, celery, cucumber.”