Gertrude Stein sets a table

When is a table also a table. When, my dear, at measured intervals, there is, each in its place, a round dish, a cylinder, and an array of related instruments — some to the left, some to the right — on a flat surface with one or more legs.  

A table is laid and certainly it is elemental. A table for a lass, a table for a classicist. Columns and some rows.

If an able cloth, a spread sheet. A tag at every place settles the matter. It is so easy to see a difference in distribution and protocol. A table is, is it not, an agreement, a contract, a feeling of resignation and success. A whole steadiness.

Is it likely that a change. Of course. Two courses. Three.


Come to the table there is bumping and tucking. There is carving, there is passing, there is desire and a version. Coated cries, an array of biscuits, a tartness and some of that. A salting, pep her, and a dry most hard. Reckless, reckless resolve.

Cut, cut in white, cut in white so lately. A sudden slice changes the whole plate, it does so suddenly. Where there is forking, there is conniving and hope in spoons. 

Instead of classification, a violent kind of delightfulness. Instead of replication, something emerges. Little chips and switches. Mince, mince, inframince.  

This is use.


A table is for alimentation and acts. It means more than a glass, even a looking glass is tall. Where there is in formation, there is execution and elocution. It takes mercy and relaxation to spread a table fuller. 

Between setting and serving, between savoring and satiation, there is a shaking. A thresh and a hold. Face to face, interface, and a revision, a revision of a little thing. 

A round dish, a cylinder, and an array of related instruments. Gertrude Stein sets a table.

Twenty-two on 'Tender Buttons'

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