We’re studying Gertrude Stein in English class. We as in Johnny and me. I want to be a writer. Johnny probably wants to work at the car dealership but that’s a guess. Gertrude Stein was this 20th century writer, critic, @picasso @courageisGUP @FScott @makeitnew @wildwilder18, modernist, lover, #scandalous, portrait sitter, cigarette smoker, robe wearer, French speaker, #leftbank, who wrote everyday for 30 minutes while looking at a cow.

On Sunday, I sat in the field with the cow and my writing materials. I immediately understood why Gertrude steered clear from conventional narrative. Cows don’t move. So boring. Has this story been interesting so far @reader? #Exactly.

Johnny says he has a cattle prod in the barn. I ask him to make the cow move (for narrative! @reader) He says, for a kiss.

Would Gertrude Stein trade a story for a kiss? How many stories is a kiss worth? How many kisses is a story worth? Stories with kisses are always worth something. But how many kisses can a story have before the kisses are worth nothing? What happens to “kiss” if repeated many times?

Let’s try it. Like this. Like kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.

Slow and steady @reader.

Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kisssss. There’s a snake in the grass! The cow does not move. #shocker.

How bout it? Johnny says. Do you want the cattle prod?

Yes, I say.

A deal is a deal is a deal, he says and leans in @me and presses his lips to mine.

It’s quiet. The cow masticates.  A hawk circles an oak tree. My mom makes dinner at home. Three states over, Johnny’s mom feeds his step–brother. The man at the video store picks a dirty movie. Mrs. Johnson buys eggs. The grass grows 1/50 of a millimeter. In the nearest city a first child is born. God contemplates making it rain tomorrow. Gertrude Stein decomposes in France. The sky is #blue.

He steps back and lets go, gently. What just happened? I say. #wow @JohnK1990

Just a kiss, he says. He runs off. The cow follows him with its eyes. Movement! #finally @cowinfield

Cow is a colloquial word. Often, if you search cow, you’ll be redirected to cattle to support disambiguation. It might also be suggested to reference #livestock as cattle are raised to be beef and baby cattle are raised to be veal. They have also done great work in the dairy industry. However, with success comes @enemies and @lactoseintolerants have begun to protest. As of right now, though, cattle’s products are the top sells in the #chilled section of grocery stores all over the United States. This is, of course, excepting #alternative markets where Almond milk reigns supreme. Cattle are also used as draft animals. This proves that, even after all their #success, cattle are not above a hard day of labor. They’re humble. They will literally give you the skin off their back. You cold? Their manure is flammable. You don’t believe in God? Wrong! Cows are living proof of otherworldly existence. They’re #blessed.

I wonder what color cow Gertrude preferred. I observe @cowinfield

The cow is black like a dead screen, an eight ball in the pocket, smoker lungs, novel print, dilated pupils, falling asleep warm.

A boy can be seen making his way back across the pasture with something in his hand.

The cow is white like printer paper, a whole egg, sugar cookie mix, a baby’s belly, panic, larva, over exposure.

The boy comes up behind the cow and holds out the object like an offering in silver.

Let us describe #whathappenednext. The day was quiet except for a slight buzzing sound and it was going to rain tomorrow but as of right now the visibility was superb. There were 360 directional choices for the cow to run in, but not all of which were in eyesight as the big brown eyes were wide set leaving a huge blind spot directly ahead. In consequence, some of the better directional options went unnoticed. The cow charged into its #black like a blind spot and there was #sacrifice, of a pen, a notebook, long blond hair, a body, a few memories @childhooddream, and all that and of black and white and red and a boy screaming: My God! @MyGod!

There are 1.3 billion cattle recorded to be in the world right now. However, somewhere in the Swiss Alps a solitary cow got lost last night. It was feared to be wolf #dinner. Thankfully, it had its cowbell on. The cow was found today eating grass tinkling its instrument next to a broken fence. There are still 1.3 billion cattle. #blessed @world

I begin the Stein assignment: Cows are black like drug–induced coma, white like hospital walls. #sendflowers @JohnK1990

I am crying, dear reader, as I write this because my hand is broken and the pen is painful. #Beauty is @pain. One must experience pain to write beautifully. #wisdom

In my mind’s eye, the yellow flowers of the cow pasture get drenched in rain. Now they’re in grinding cow teeth. Sometimes I feel afraid. Sometimes I feel like I won’t make it as a writer. I pray these metaphors mean something #deep because I just don’t know anymore. I don’t understand @GertrudeGertrude. I don’t understand. I don’t understand why we’re studying Gertrude Stein in English class.


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.