[This is an autobiographical portrait I wrote as one of three assignments for a “Queer Theory” module taught by Wayne Koestenbaum at CUNY Graduate Center in the autumn of 1998. We were asked to impersonate or inhabit the style of three queer writers: Oscar Wilde, Roland Barthes, and Gertrude Stein. The Steinean exercise, while not an imitation, proved to be the most gut-wrenchingly challenging and rewarding.]
Any One’s Portrait and a Dog Reposing: A Steinean Portrait
Fingers can distribute meaning. That there and this here and that here and this there is pointing is appointing. Pointing is appointing. Pointing is shaping. Pointing is meaning shaping. Meaning is in pointing out. This is the point meaning that this is about. Fingers can be shaking and shaming. Fingers can be single. Ring fingers can be suspicious. Single fingers can signal and single out. Single fingers can signal and single out this here and that there. And not joining. Meaning that in this here and that there and is not joining. As in pointing and pointing and pointing. Fingers can be disappointing. Fingers can be on the other hand. Fingers can be on the other hand other be. On the other hand fingers can be. Fingers can be and candy. Fingers on a hand and then. Fingers on a hat and this and that. Hands can be shaking and sharing. This and is joining. This hand is joining. Join this hand. Then lick fingers. And enjoy.
Looking is changing always. Even now. Even now there is movement. Even now there is movement in glass and in even glass there is movement even in stillness. There is movement in even stillness. There is movement in looking in and in looking in there is stillness in changing. In looking in even stillness there is always movement and even in changing stillness there is always now. Always even is glass and in even glass there always is now. Now even now is in glass and always and even and still. Now is won in glass and now there is now won in glass one wonders is now won in looking. Is now ever won in looking. Is now ever won looking in. Now is always and even and still and is ever won in changing and in ever changing stillness and in ever still changingness and in still changing everness and in this ever changing movement now is won. Now is this movement ever reposing in stillness.
Now Is now ever won in silliness. One wonders now.
Look Again Now
Now is in changing and in changing looking now is won. Meaning now is won in changing looking. Changing is now looking and changing is looking now and looking now changing and in looking and changing now is won. There is changing in looking and wondering is not wanting. Not always. Looking in glass is not always and looking is not always wondering. Looking now is looking again and looking again is not always and always not always a gain. This looking again is now and now is a gain and again is changing. Only in looking still longer and lingering is now a longing. A longing for always. In looking longer in glass and in so looking and longing and in wondering and lingering so now is won and this now so won now is now. Now is won in wondering. Win this now. And still even now there is one looking in and in looking in is lingering and in lingering is linking now and again. And in looking now and again this still moving so and so is gaining in ink. And in ink now is gaining and in so gaining won. Glass now is moving ink. Ink is moving now and now is moving even in ink. So is now always won in ink and in looking again. So a gain now is in moving and in longing and in moving along now. And knowing all this is owning an inkling. Knowing being only an inkling and slow. Only even an inkling is knowing this and knowing this is knowing now. In wondering and lingering ink is glass now and in longing and linking and wanting and wondering ink now is wanton and in knowing this joy is no longer wanting. Knowing ink is glass now is joy. Still even now. And ink being glass and in glass being change ink now is being and ink is being now. Now being in glass and ink and glass being ink and ink being glass now is all being and in being now always is. Now always is in glass and ink still and moving and in oases therein. And in knowing all this is joy. This movement is now a moment. And owning all this is nowing a moment. This now is owning a moment. Even so. And now and only now glass is even.
One wonders. Is now always in want now. One is wont to know.
Now there can be any number of moments. Any number of moments can be there now and the number can be not counting. Now any number can be there of any moment there can be. Are there a number of moments that is to say quite a number of moments now. Not quite. There can be any number but there is only a number of moments and there is only a number of moments counting. Any moment is not any moment counting. There can be say a year or say two or say three or so more without one single moment that is to say without one single moment counting. There can be quite a number of years without one single moment and there are only a number of years and only a number of moments. And there are counting moments. There are moments counting that is to say there can be. Any moment can be but any year can be without. There is no accounting for the number of moments. Any one moment can be holding and reposing any one. Any one counting moment can be there and any one there can be holding any one moment and be and beholding a moment be. Any one can. Any one can be reposing and holding a moment and any one moment can be falling. Any moment that is to say any number of moments can be falling. Any one moment can be falling and folding and any one can be reposing without holding one single moment that is to say without holding one single moment counting. The fingers on any one hand can be counting the single moments counting. Not any one can be counting on a moment. Any one counting now can see this can be posing a moment. This posing can be a moment. This can be a moment posing. This can be any one reposing a moment. This moment can be composing any one. This moment can be posing and reposing. This moment can be deposing any one counting. Can this be a moment counting to any one. The difference is not counting. Is this moment decomposing.
There is very little joy in a glass if a moment is broken.
Moment Proposing Boys and Boxes
Boys often want no more. Boys often want no more want no more want no more only a box. Then boys are asking for sure they are asking for only are asking for only a box. Boxes of course not on noses or so but boxes that open and boxes that close and boxes that open and boxes that go. Oh those. Just so. Hat boxes or so. Boxes for boys can be boxes for hats can be boxes for girls can be boxes for cats and always one ought to be opting for that. Ought one to. Yes one too. Why to opt why to want only a box. Why not one why not too only a box. Why not is not an answer. And not only is why not not an answer why not for sure is not an answer to only a box. Why is why not not an answer to only a box. Why not is not an answer and why is why not not an answer does not get one. Ought one to be boxing or ought one to be waltzing. One ought not to be wanting logic. Okay waltz over. Once more: one ought to opt for a box or two always. Ought one to. Yes one too. Boxes have options and options are so that boys can be opening boys can be not and boys can be closing and options are so. Of course. Just so. The boxes of course are just codes of course. Codes just for those not wanting more. What one still wants to know what was now the point of the boxes and boys and the options and ought one tos. The point of course is not wanting: One ought to beware when opting for a box and a box of course is what one always ought to be opting for that all of a sudden and all off a course some one offers a door. A box has all options and a box offers control and a box of course one can also adore. A door on the other hand can have a lock before. Beware before a door therefore. A box can store and a box can move outdoors. A door can ignore and a lock can be thorough and a boy can be beyond sorrow. When shown a door take the box therefore take the box therefore take the box boys.
The difference is not being broken. Some know.
Being Curious Fire
That was a moment being curious and that there being a curious man looking was being a curious moment. That was a moment being a curious moment being that that there was that curious looking man being a slow walking curious looking man. That was curious. That moment there was that snow coldness. That moment there was that loneliness cotton warm only. And not that moment only. That was New York and being there and being there only strolling and strolling and strolling there was that loneliness and that being curious being quite worn off. And there was that snow coldness and nowhere to go. And then there was posing. That moment there was that longing and looking and that boybeing when being curious only can be a fire and when only being curious can be a fire. Being can be a curious fire and a curious fire can be warming any one in snow coldness. Being before a curious looking man and never before can be warming. Being before a curious looking man being quite curious and quite pointing can be warming. That man was pointing. There was that curious looking man pointing and there was that moment and that never beforeness and that boybeingness and that coldness and that nowhere to goness. At that moment pointing was appointing. At that moment there was that looking at ring fingers. Only that does not always follow. The door was being open for a moment. There was that moment. There was that being curious and not joining. There was that fire and there was that man and this man reposing and that boybeingness broken. There was that shaming finger pointing and that curious looking man quite old and quite lonely and shaking. There was an opening and there was no going. There was pointing and pointing and pointing. And being not joining. That was a man of no moment and no moment counting. Only knowing this does not follow. The only moment counting was before that. Only now the curious fire was no more and being quite out and the one going quite without. Being outside can be a curious fire. Inside being a furious choir. And hollow.
Unlike boxes are moments that are hollow. Hollow moments can be opening always and not closing. That does not follow. Not always. The difference can be wanting and wanting no longer. The difference can be being. The difference can be being curious and broken and the difference can be fire and not warming. The difference can be a single finger and one ring. One ring and no longer wondering. The difference can be erring. The difference can be urning and being alone at any moment that moment can be returning. Even now. At any moment years and years and years being in difference can be not counting that is to say the glass before one can be in difference pointing and pointing and pointing the years that is to say counting all the years before and not the years before one and still at any moment the years and years and years can be not counting and a door can be opening and there is that moment. There is that door and no box. At any moment that moment can be turning and returning not unlike a door being broken and not closing. Posing and no reposing. And no closing. Any moment can be that single shaming finger pointing in stillness. Pointing being making meaning and not being meaning and making hollow and making meaning being hollow. And not joining. At any moment what was won before can be turning into being now before one and turning one. And looking there is a hollow and in there is blood and urine and always blood therein. The boybeingness being broken there can be no joining moment meaning that the broken moment is returning and the boybeingness is not returning being broken. The moment is returning only. Turning and returning. The fire only is not returning. Being curious only is not returning. Urning remains only and the snow coldness and the hollow loneliness. And New York being New York of course. And not counting. And looking in there is blood there in the hollow and urine and always blood therein.
Any one is yearning now for a page turning moment.
Only that does not follow. Now that any one can know any one’s coat and any one’s cote and any one’s code and any one’s repose what one can only be posing remains to any one to know. And once any one knows any one’s code in any one’s coat in any one’s cote so that any one knows any one’s repose what one can only be posing remains in any one. What now remains to any one. And what one can only wonder now is won. Is any one to gain in knowing any way. And not only can one be reposing what remains to any one and what remains in any one now that any one can know any one’s cote and gain any one’s coat and follow any one’s code one can also be posing and this being a new notion ought one to know any one and always and all. Not knowing of course can be shaping any one and any one not knowing one can be shaming any one. Not knowing any one knows one can be shaping any one’s knot and any one’s noose knowing that not knowing can be any one’s knot and any one’s noose. One can of course be knowing any one’s news and not be knowing any one. That does not follow. Reposing. Ought one to know any one now and ought one to know all and always to know any one’s all. Ought one’s be all and end all to be to be knowing any one always and all. Knowing fingers can be pointing any one out and can be following any one in and can out any one in snow coldness. Knowing fingers can be owning any one. Knowing fingers can follow any one in and hollow any one out and any one can end in slow coldness. Knowing fingers can follow boxes and hollow boys and follow boys in hollow boxes. Shaming can be any one’s shaping and sharing any one cote and any one coat and any one code can be shaking any one. Any one’s cote can be closing and any one’s coat can be opening in snow coldness meaning that any one finger can be shaking out any one’s code and any one moment can be shaking one.
There can be nothing following now. Excepting a dog.
Easily excepting a dog. A little dog can be following instantly and can be eagerly filling that little hollow sweetly. Any evening a little dog can be leaping into this little box being little and sweetly reposing. And even one being quite broken and lonely can still be knowing sweet joy and no little gain in having a box again and in having therein a little dog teasing sweetly. Any one now can be knowing a little dog and any one being kindly teasing and only a little interesting can be owning a little dog and any one now being intrigued can leap into being this little dog easily. And any one’s fingers can be mildly shaping and kindly changing any one being now. Any one moving one’s fingers can have a little dog be a little dog now. And joy can be won now being that any one dog now can easily and eagerly leap one’s lap and be one’s pal now. Any one can be a lap dog and a top dog and a lap top dog now. And any evening now fingers can be busily kindling a little mildness and milking a little kindness and filling a little hollow with milk now. Any evening now one’s fingers can be kindling again that curious fire. Any dog can be any kind and any kind dog tingling any one’s lap can be kindling any one’s joy any moment and can be kindling a moment counting. Any one counting to any one can leap into being. Now lick fingers. And enjoy.
Promise Remains Kindling
A portrait is a moment counting. Drawing a portrait and withdrawing in it and then withdrawing it and then withdrawing and then always drawing it with one one can be shaping a moment counting. This is any one’s portrait and a dog being that knowing any one’s code is not always knowing one and also that any one even one not wanting a dog is wanting one being and even one not quite broken and not quite lonely is counting on a moment being won with one being one with one. Drawing any one close and withdrawing with any one can be that moment counting. With the portrait drawing to a close any one can be reposing now. Even with that dog leaping. That does now follow.