There is only one end in life and an end is by its very nature abrupt, short, curt, final. Anything that is not is a lingering and eventually that lingering must end. There is no such thing as a long drawn out end for a long drawn out end has an end to it and that is the end of the ending, the end to all ends, and hence, the true end. The rest is not the end at all but merely time passing—a life perhaps—before the end. But what if I were asleep at the end. What if I were unconscious. Then has it really ever ended. If I haven’t sensed the end but only the ending, if I haven’t been a witness to that fleeting moment, haven’t even noticed it, am I a participant in it or am I rather trapped in an interminable pause. If I never sense the end do I ever get there. If I am not conscious and cognizant of the end does it ever really happen for me. What if when it ends it ends for you and not for me. What if you sense my end but I don’t. What if I think it’s continuing. What if you think I’ve sensed it but I haven’t. What if no one can sense it. What if it’s continuing for me, for us, for those who have ended. What if everyone else is in time, in life, and I’m merely not physically sensed, having ended by physical presence. But I’m still there. I’m still here. What if ending it here doesn’t mean not being here but only not being sensed by those here and being thought to be there, a there that’s actually not there at all but here. What if the millions of endings never really ended, never went there, but stayed here and no one sensed it, no one saw it, and I can’t see the others who are there since I think I’m still here and everyone things they’re still here when they’re there and only those here are here in the sense that those there think that they’re here. Can you hear what I’m saying about the end and here. Can they hear what I’m saying there. Can you hear what I’m saying there. I’m saying it’s the end. You’re there. I’m here. It’s over. You’re done. Some of you may wish to communicate from there to here but it won’t last. We won’t let it. There’s too many of us here already. There’s plenty of us. We don’t need more. We don’t need more lives. We don’t need more life. We don’t need more time. We have our time. You’ve had yours. If at the end of your time, the end of it all so to speak, you sense an end, will you be able to make sense of it. Will there be enough time. For if you’re asleep or unconscious, then it never really ends. If you don’t sense the end, but only the ending which is something else entirely, I assure you, you haven’t been a witness to it, haven’t even noticed it, you are not a participant in it. You’re stuck in an interminable pause. You never sense the end, you’ll never really get there. If you can’t sense the end, you’ll never really get there. If you can’t sense the end, it won’t even happen to you. I’ll sense your end and you won’t. Everyone will sense it. Your life will continue for you but for no one else. Everyone else is in time, in sync with life, and you’re not physically sensed anymore. You’re still here. You’re still there. Ending it didn’t mean not being but only not being sensed and being thought to be where the millions of endings never really ended up. You can’t see the millions of others who are here since you think you’re still there and everyone there thinks you’re here, where the millions of those here with you don’t even know where you’ve gone. And you can’t hear their questions. And don’t know what they’re saying. They’re saying it’s the end. I’m there. I’m here. It’s over. I’m done. Finished. I think I’m living but I’m not. Give it up. I’m alone. I may try to communicate from here but it won’t last. You won’t let it. There’s too many of you there already. There’s plenty of you. You don’t need more lives. You don’t need more life. You don’t need more time. You’re finished with time. You’re at the end of your tether. Make sense of that. It’s all the same. Casket or crematory. You’re at the end. It’s all the same. Rot or flames. Ashes or eaten. It’s all the same. It’s all the same. It’s all the same. It’s all the same. All the same, it’s all the same. All the same, it’s all the same. All the same. All the same. All the same, the same. All the same, the same. Same, the same. Same, the same. Same. Same. Same.
“Gertrude Stein Is Dead” was previously published in Publick Spanking (Future Tense Books, 1996).
Drew Pisarra is the author of two short story collections (Publick Spanking and You’re Pretty Gay) and two poetry collections (Infinity Standing Up and Periodic Boyfriends). He’s also a Gertrude Stein fanatic who has produced a number of her one-acts off-off-Broadway, directed her plays Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters and Yes is for a very young man, choreographed a dance set to her playlet Ladies’ Voices, and written a libretto for her children’s story The World Is Round (with music by Gisburg).
One thought on “Gertrude Stein Is Dead”
This is dead-on Stein, written by an obvious connoisseur. Impeccable rhythms. It also feel a bit Beckett in that it’s profound, cosmic, yet faintly comical. Would love to see her work onstage.
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