Posts tagged "quotes"
if in that moment / it is clear that in our entire, graceless rage / it is what we have, and all along, / most yearned for, / then let us be spared by that which has the power to spare us / the knowledge that it is too late / to disclaim anger, find the will / for love and tenderness, beg / for pardon

again and again and again

John Engels, “For the lately dead” The Kenyon Review, Autumn 1984.  (via sorryeveryone)

You are sitting in a leather club chair in the middle of an otherwise spare room. You are home early from the office, having feigned a headache worse than the one you really do have. You are drinking a beer, watching the local news anchor read. Her name is Wendy Something, and you have a crush on her. You moved here only months ago - from Cedar Falls, from Monroe or Meridian, from Canton, from Grand Forks, Eau Claire - and you have yet to make friends. The weekly drink with co-workers has drifted into a less occasional gathering, then none at all, as you’ve gradually discovered you have little in common, and you get along well at work anyway, so why even bother? People are hard to get to know out here, inside their bubbles, with their benign, almost tender indifference to you and their studious gestures of intimacy - the banter that is devoid of subtext and the How-are-you! that is never a question and the See-you-later! that simply signals the end of conversation. It has been lonely. You come home in the evenings and eat a take-out burrito over the kitchen sink and stroll through your half-furnished rooms, with books in alphabetized stacks on the floor and unpacked boxes as end tables and nothing on the walls. You have pondered this metaphor for an unfinished life - or better, the beginning of a new one - and you remind yourself why you moved here, why everyone moves here. And you may be lonely like this forever, but out here it at least feels transitory - a step on a journey, a blip on a timeline, and all that.

That is from Daniel Orozco’s “Shakers" and it has not been my experience in California but it is not hard to see how it could have been, and I am grateful for that and believe it is good to keep these things in mind sometimes.

"You’re leaving me," I said.
“I have to be where this takes me.”
“It takes you away.  You’re gone, and I’m alone.”
“You’re not alone.”
“Worse than alone, actually.  I’m partial.  I’m part of something that isn’t there anymore.  I’m a broken-off chunk.”
Alice looked down.  “What I’m doing is very important.”
“When will you come back?”
Silence.
“Say something encouraging,” I said.  “Tell me it’s good for us.  Tell me you think I’m overreacting. Use the word us.”
She met my eyes with a look of terror.

Happy Birthday to Jonathan Lethem, who has always made me feel inadequate as a writer and often as a person

(from As She Climbed Across The Table, p. 41)

The last leaves, in fact, beech perhaps, they hang on too long, or aspen, / Yellow like that, sweep and begin to plunge, the last hope / Of the tree, taken by Thanksgiving’s wind, because that’s the way with wind is, Willful like that, cruel.
 Marilyn McCabe, “Eve on the Edge” Cream City Review Volume 32 #2
I’d been waiting, ever since I was thirty-eight and Bobby finally stopped trying to have a child, for us to begin living. I’d been waiting for an urge, a courage, to alter myself in some way—a special undergarment, maybe a modern haircut—or to change the house with a colorful rug, plants in the windows. But now I understood that we had been living all along—that to call the passing days and weeks and years anything but one’s life was to admit to a great despair.
 ”The Lobster Mafia Story,” by Anna Solomon, The Georgia Review via The Pushcart Prize 2012
…nothing in our lives will change because I figure I’m about as happy as I’m going to get the way things are. So I refuse to wish Leo nice, or the dogs free, or my sister happy, or myself forgiven, or much of anything all that much different than it’s likely to get. I just won’t wish them, and then when they all don’t happen, it won’t mean a thing to me. If this is what I get in this world, I’ll take it. Love and squalor, but mostly love. I’ll take it and I’ll take it and I will not be sorry.

"Steal Small” by Caitlyn Horrocks, Prairie Schooner via The Pushcart Prize 2011 (via sorryeveryone)

reblogging myself because I thought I’d been stewing over this quote for almost two years but it turns out it’s almost three. the full piece is here and well worth your time but man alive, that paragraph up there doesn’t get much easier to hold on to.

They have been having the same conversation
for a year now. But we are in a relationship, she says. I know, he
says. What will happen when you leave, she says. I’ll go back to my
life. What am I? she asks. You’re not my life, he says.
Jill Bialosky, “An Essay in Two Voices” Harvard Review, Winter 2008
But things can be over in horizontal time and just beginning in your body, I’m learning. Sometimes the memory of that summer feels like a spore in me, a seed falling through me
Ava Bigtree, from Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!
a drop of water on the lip of a jug, / trembling, trying to hold on / for another second to the idea of sphericity- / that was us, our nakedness.
d.nurkse, “Newfane" The New Yorker, April 2009
Some of the walls remained and some / fell. We scavenged what bricks we could / for the new walls, some of which // remained and some of them fell. / We scavenged what bricks we could / for the new walls, all of which // are shorter, so we crouch. No one remembers / how to make bricks, how to stop bombing, / how to drink tea without dust in it.

-Bob Hicok, “A Story From The World” The Iowa Review Volume 40 #1 Spring 2010

someone going through my tumblr reminded me of Bob Hicok and so here is some more Bob Hicok

How many accidents multiplied / to create your hands. How many times did your / fathers dig their hands into the earth only to / pull them back with stones and blisters? Think / of all the diseases you managed to avoid or the punches / pulled from your soft jawbone.
David Harrity, “Fathom” The Los Angeles Review, Volume 6 Fall 2009
I do not wish to become / a trapped cat, spitting in a cage, pacing / the same inch of thought, smothered in my own fierce / stench. But I do not know how to prevent it, / exactly.
I have made use of this quote before but here it is again because, well, it’s not like it stops being relevant.

(via Roger Mitchell, “Aging Gracelessly” Indiana Review, Volume 7 #1 Winter 1984)
Simplicity itself: a dozen shells,
a lemon wedge, horseradish and Heinz
in paper cups. Yet decadence: lips
like Cleopatra’s richly sipping at nacre,
lush and lustrous, wet with the juice of pearls.
This is the pure, good taste of the ocean,
the thing itself, whole, perfect and raw.
How many moments like this will you have?
Ten, twelve in your life? The oysters are one.
Juliana Gray, “Oysters,” Confrontation  No 96/97, Fall 2006/Winter 2007
But I’ve grown used to teaching since then, and I find that I now take a great deal of comfort in the daily routine. There is a working agreement here that makes life reassuring: I pretend to be a teacher and the children pretend to be my students. Parents and teachers agree to forget that children are in fact lunatics, and that what we call growing up is just learning to hide it better so nobody will lock us away. Oh, did I mention that I’m engaged to be married? He works at the same insurance company as my father, which is convenient. The only problem is that he has a good heart, so we have some trouble communicating—just like I had with you. But I’m trying to learn how good people talk, so I can fake it. I don’t miss you at all.
“The Right Imaginary Person” by Robert Anthony Siegel, Tin House No. 54, Winter 2012

(for L.) 

After finishing off the bottle of vodka he says / life is everything children are ignorant of, / including us, their heroes, who become small / and replaceable. And while remorse pricks us like holly leaves, history does not.”
[…]

“He says vodka is a river and maybe the sea / and they swam in it like children with blue lips / and the shakes, waiting for life to overwhelm / its metaphors.

“our cousin Lubin” by John Surowicki, from the April 2003 issue of Poetry