Gertrude Stein sits in her parlour
in Paris, yes she does, yes she does,
surrounded by famous people.
She is a big woman, who likes you
if you don’t mention James Joyce.
You have to admire her,
or she won’t like you,
and if you disagree with her
she won’t like you.
She talks to the men,
the famous men.
The wives talk to Alice B. Toklas,
who is her lover, yes she is,
the one who prepares the meals.
Gertrude Stein is a big woman,
yes she is, yes she is.
She lives in Paris with her wife
and partner, Alice B Toklas.
She talks to the men and Alice
talks to the wives.
Gertrude Stein writes strings of
words that don’t make sense.
She calls them novels.
Gertrude Stein wears shapeless
clothes and sits in her parlour
in Paris with her pictures by
Yes she does.
I had no light or guide, but the
fire that burned inside my chest,
the fire that gave me no rest,
the fire that led me west,
the fire that changed my destiny.
While that fire burned I could
walk on hot coals and not feel a thing.
I could sing the secret songs of birds
and birds would come one by one, and
in swarms. Yes, the birds would come
in a great fluttering of feathers, and dance
in spirals around my head, around the flame
that was my head.
While that fire burned I had no words
only the song of birds, only the sound
of the sap that rises in spring trees,
only the roar of the fire that rose in me.
While that fire burned there was no light,
nor was there darkness, but the burning
in my chest would not let me rest.
I was deaf and blind and as alive
to kindness as a wildflower is to sun.
While that fire burned I could run to what
I loved and what loved me with no thought,
nor could I stop and even when I ran through water
the fire burned as if the water
was a wind that fanned it.
And when I came at last to the land
where the fire belonged,
I could finally stand on the cool sand.
I could finally stand.