Thursday, February 09, 2012

Poem: "Gertrude and Adrienne"


Gertrude and Adrienne

Shall I praise the former’s void or shall I praise the latter’s substance?

            Taniguchi Den-jo, “Chiyo and Utagawa: Two Women”


Gertrude Stein of 27 Rue de Fleurus collected geniuses while Alice amused their wives with stories of the cats and recipes. The writer put down her words evenly like paint so that every word had its own value. The writer put down her words evenly like paint so that every value had its own word. I admire that. Adrienne Rich gathered Black Panthers and Vietnam protesters in her New York apartment. After they separated, her husband drove into the woods and shot himself. This writer breaks down the order of words and builds it up anew. There is an order that is not oppressive, if it can be found. Shall I praise the former’s tender buttons or the latter’s diving wreck?

            American radicals, I think of you when I hear the presidential candidates.

After I wrote this and read it again, I realize that I have neglected two other duties. One, to thank Alice. Two, Alfred Haskell Conrad, the husband, an economics professor, to mourn.

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