Can't stay long, Mother," he said. "I'm up front, the prefects have got two compartments to themselves-"
"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."
"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the other twin. "Once-"
"Oh, shut up," said Percy the Prefect.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: "It shines like a little diamond",
"This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.
Jean-Paul Sartre (The Age of Reason (Roads to Freedom, #1))
Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.
This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
There is fear hanging in the air of the sleeping halls, and the air of the streets. Fear walks through the city, fear without name, without shape. All men feel it and none dare speak.
Ayn Rand (Anthem)
It turns out that having kissed someone, the possibility of kissing hangs over everything, no matter how terrible an idea it was the first time.
Holly Black (The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1))
The absolute worst part of being depressed is the food. A person's relationship with food is one of their most important relationships. I don't think your relationship with your parents is that important. Some people never know their parents. I don't think your relationship with your friends are important. But your relationship with air-that's key. You can't break up with air. You're kind of stuck together. Only slightly less crucial is water. And then food. You can't be dropping food to hang with someone else. You need to strike up an agreement with it.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
Other people sound flat to my ear; their words just hang in the air. But when my mother says something, the ends curl.
Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors)
Tomorrow. The word hangs in the air for a moment, both a promise and a threat. Then it floats away like a paper boat, taken from her by the water licking at her ankles.
Thrity Umrigar (The Space Between Us)
To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.
George Orwell (1984)
What about me?" I whisper. "Where do I belong?"
"With me," my mother and Galen say in unison. They exchange hard glares. Galen locks his jaw.
"I'm her mother," she tells Galen, her voice sharp. "Her place is with me."
"I want her for my mate," Galen says. The admission warms up the space between us with an impossible heat and I want to melt into him. His words, his declaration, cannot be unspoken. And now he's declared it to everyone who matters. It's out there in the open, hanging in the air. He wants me for his mate. Me. Him. Forever.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Strange, isn't it,' mused Glokta as he watched him struggle for air. 'Big men, small men, thin men, fat men, clever men, stupid men, they all respond the same to a fist in the guts. One minute you think you're the most powerful man in the world. The next you can't even breathe by yourself.
Joe Abercrombie (Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2))
The crushing weight of silence hangs heavy as always. For a moment it's too difficult to breathe, and I wonder if this is how I die. Drowned in this bed of silk, burned by a king's obsession, smothered by open air.
Victoria Aveyard (King's Cage (Red Queen, #3))
Classic literature is still something that hangs in the air like a song.
G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man)
My main goal is to stay alive. To keep fooling myself into hanging around. To keep getting up every day. Right now I live without inspiration. I go day to day and do the work because it's all I know. I know that if I keep moving I stand a chance. I must keep myself going until I find a reason to live. I need one so bad. On the other hand maybe I don't. Maybe it's all bullshit. Nothing I knew from my old life can help me here. Most of the things that I believed turned out to be useless. Appendages from someone else's life.
Everything I have I would give to not know what I know. To not feel emptiness as my constant companion. To not look into this room and be reminded why I'm in it. I'm not getting enough air. The room feels so small all of a sudden. It's pathetic to be this lonely and know it. To keep breathing. To be silent and alone. And to know.
Henry Rollins (Roomanitarian)
It's better to swim in the sea below
Than to swing in the air and feed the crow,
Says jolly Ned Teach of Bristol.
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river where it flows among green airs and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping, and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city.... Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.
Charles Dickens (Bleak House)
I wake sometimes in the dark terrified by my life's precariousness, its thready breath. Beside me, my husband's pulse beats at his throat; in their beds, my children's skin shows every faintest scratch. A breeze would blow them over, and the world is filled with more than breezes: diseases and disasters, monsters and pain in a thousand variations. I do not forget either my father and his kind hanging over us, bright and sharp as swords, aimed at our tearing flesh. If they do not fall on us in spite and malice, then they will fall by accident or whim. My breath fights in my throat. How can I live on beneath such a burden of doom? I rise then and go to my herbs. I create something, I transform something. My witchcraft is as strong as ever, stronger. This too is good fortune. How many have such power and leisure and defense as I do? Telemachus comes from our bed to find me. He sits with me in the greensmelling darkness, holding my hand. Our faces are both lined now, marked with our years. Circe, he says, it will be all right. It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and somehow I am comforted. He does not mean it does not hurt. He does not mean we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.
Madeline Miller (Circe)
The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is, there’s no ground.”
He thinks great folly, child,' said Aslan. "This world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam's son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia, #1))
Your songs are still out there on the clifftop, hanging in the air for you when you want them. Wish to speak and you will speak, girl. Wish to die and you can do it. Wish to live and here you are.
Emma Donoghue (Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins)
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
Alexander Pope (An Essay on Man)
Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:
1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...)
2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...)
3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts.
4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...)
5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...)
6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...)
7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...)
8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano.
And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings.
[From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]
Anton Chekhov (A Life in Letters)
I am a book.
Sheaves pressed from the pulp of oaks and pines
a natural sawdust made dingy from purses, dusty
Steamy and anxious, abused and misused,
kissed and cried over,
smeared, yellowed, and torn,
loved, hated, scorned.
I am a book.
I am a book that remembers,
days when I stood proud in good company
When the children came, I leapt into their arms,
when the women came, they cradled me against their soft breasts,
when the men came, they held me like a lover,
and I smelled the sweet smell of cigars and brandy as we sat together in leather chairs,
next to pool tables, on porch swings, in rocking chairs,
my words hanging in the air like bright gems, dangling,
then forgotten, I crumbled,
dust to dust.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
a book brand-new, sprung from the loins of ancient fathers clothed in tweed,
born of mothers in lands of heather and coal soot.
A family too close to see the blood on its hands,
too dear to suffering, to poison, to cold steel and revenge,
deaf to the screams of mortal wounding,
amused at decay and torment,
a family bred in the dankest swamp of human desires.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
I am a mystery.
I am intrigue, anxiety, fear,
I tangle in the night with madmen, spend my days cloaked in black,
hiding from myself, from dark angels,
from the evil that lurks within
and the evil we cannot lurk without.
I am words of adventure,
of faraway places where no one knows my tongue,
of curious cultures in small, back alleys, mean streets,
the crumbling house in each of us.
I am primordial fear, the great unknown,
I am life everlasting.
I touch you and you shiver, I blow in your ear and you follow me,
down foggy lanes, into places you've never seen,
to see things no one should see,
to be someone you could only hope to be.
I ride the winds of imagination on a black-and-white horse,
to find the truth inside of me, to cure the ills inside of you,
to take one passenger at a time over that tall mountain,
across that lonely plain to a place you've never been
where the world stops for just one minute
and everything is right.
I am a mystery.
-Rides a Black and White Horse
But somebody else had spoken Snape’s name, quite softly.
“Severus . . .”
The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
“Severus . . . please . . .”
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
Oh. My. God. You're Rose Hathaway aren't you?"
"Yeah." I said with surprise. "Do you know me?"
"Everyone knows you. I mean, everyone heard about you. You're the one who ran away. And then you came back and killed the Strigoi. That is so cool! Did you get molnija marks?" Her words came out in one long string. She hardly took a breath.
"Yeah. I have two." Thinking about the tiny tattoos on the back of my neck made my skin itch.
Her pale green eyes—if possible—grew wider. "Oh my God. Wow." I usually grew irate when people made a big deal about molnija marks. After all, the circumstances had not been cool. But this girl was young, and there was something appealing about her.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Jillian—Jill. I mean, just Jill. Not both. Jillian's my full name. Jill's what everyone calls me."
"Right." I said, hiding a smile. "I figured it out."
"I heard Moroi used magic on that trip to fight. Is that true? I would love to do that. I wish someone would teach me. I use air. Do you think i could fight Strigoi with that? Everyone says I'm crazy!" For centuries, Moroi using magic to fight had been viewed as a sin. Everyone believed it should be used peacefully. Recently, some had started to question that, particularly after Christian had proved useful in the Spokane escape.
"I don't know." I said. "You should talk to Christian Ozera."
She gaped. "Would he talk to me?"
"If you bring up fighting the establishment, yeah he'll talk to you."
"Okay, cool. Was that Guardian Belikov?" she asked, switching subjects abruptly.
I swore I thought she might faint then and there. "Really? He's even cuter then I heard. He's your teacher right? Like, your own personal teacher?"
"Yeah." I wondered where he was. Talking to Jill was exhausting.
"Wow. You know you guys don't even act like teacher and student. You seem like friends. Do you hang out when you're not training?"
"Er, well, kind of. Sometimes." I remembered my earlier thoughts, about how I was one of the few people Dimitri was social with outside of his guardian duties.
"I knew it! I can't even imagine that—I'd be freaking out all the time around him. I'd never get anything done, but your so cool about it all, kind of like, 'Yeah. I'm with this totally hot guy, but whatever it doesn't matter!'"
I laughed in spite of myself. "I think you're giving me more credit than I deserve."
"No way. And I don't believe any of those stories, you know."
"Yeah about you beating up Christian Ozera."
"Thanks." I said.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
The air's crisp with the smell of autumn, and the first few leaves have started to change color. The streets have that family-friendly feel. Store windows already have pumpkins and witches' hats in them.
Adriana Mather (How to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch, #1))
You are forever a piece of my story. I couldn’t turn my back on you without turning my back on myself. I had to try.” My quiet words hang in the air. “I had to hold out my hand to you.
Marie Lu (Wildcard (Warcross #2))
How does one fall in love? Do you trip? Do you stumble, lose your balance and drop to the sidewalk, graze your knee, graze your heart? Do you crash to the stony ground? Is there a precipice, from which you float, over the edge, forever?
I know I'm in love when I see you, I know when I long to see you. Not a muscle has moved. Leaves hang unruffled by any breeze. The air is still. I have fallen in love without taking step. When did this happen? I haven't even blinked.
I'm on fire. Is that too banal for you? It's not, you know. You'll see. It's what happens. It's what matters. I'm on fire.
I no longer eat, I forget to eat. Food looks silly to me, irrelevant. If I even notice it. But I notice nothing. My thoughts are full and raging, a house full of brothers, related by blood, feuding blood feuds:
"I'm in love."
"Typically stupid choice."
"I am, though, I'm racked by love as if love were pain."
"Go ahead. Fuck up your life. It's all wrong and you know it. Wake up. Face it."
"There's only one face, it's all I see, awake or asleep."
I threw the book out the window last night. I tried to forget. You are all wrong for me, I know it, but I no longer care for my thoughts unless they're thoughts of you. When I'm close to you, in your presence, I feel your hair brush my cheek when it does not. I look away from you, sometimes. Then I look back.
When I tie my shoes, when I peel an orange, when I drive my car, when I lie down each night without you, I remain,
Cathleen Schine (The Love Letter)
Somewhere a bird sang, its chant hanging plaintive and melancholy in the still air...I think it's a sort of lark or something. Our tradition has it that they sing with the voices of lost lovers. If the stars are smiling on them, you will hear its mate call back in a moment.
Jane Johnson (The Tenth Gift)
...the air has that bracing autumnal bite so that all you want to do is bob for apples or hang a witch or something.
Sarah Vowell (Unfamiliar Fishes)
He holds my gaze, and the look in his eyes is a love letter in itself. When he speaks, his voice is rough. "Will you marry me, Cate?"
I go still, the question hanging in the air. I have never felt more accepted 'for the girl I am, not the girl I want to be' never more loved and respected than I am in this moment. It's a choice, and it's mine to make.
"Yes," I breathe.
Finn slides the simple gold band onto my ring finger. I tilt it, and the ruby sparkles, catching the sunlight. He leans down and brushes his lips against mine, sealing the promise. 'I can't wait to make you my wife.'
'Cate Belastra.' I try it out and despite the solemnity of the moment, despite knowing what this will cost him, I can't help smiling.
Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1))
It was this: the future beginning to hang thick in the air, and Henry starting a quiet, drunk conversation about whether or not Blue would like to travel to Venezuela with him. Blue replying softly that she would, she very much would, and Gansey hearing the longing in her voice like he was being undone, like his own feelings were being unbearably mirrored. I can’t come? Gansey asked. Yes, you can meet us there in a fancy plane, Henry said. Don’t be fooled by his nice hair, Blue interjected, Gansey would hike. And warmth filled the empty caverns in Gansey’s heart. He felt known.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Puck swung the cannon around in anger. The nozzle spun and hit Sabrina in the chest. The force was so pawerful she was knocked right off the platform and fell backward off the tower. She saw sky above her and felt the wind in her hair. How ironic, she thought, as she fell to her certain death, that at that moment she would have given anything to be a giant goose again.
Air rushed past Sabrina's ears and suddenly she felt her back tingling again. A moment later she was hanging upside down, inches from the ground. She looked up to find her savior, only to find that her her wasn't a person but a long, furry tail sticking out of the back of her pants. It was wrapped around a beam in the tower a kept her swinging there like a monkey.
Puck floated down to her, his wings flapping softly enough to allow him to hover.
"I bet you think this is hilarious. Look what you did to me with your stupid pranks. I have a tail!" she raged.
Puck's face was trembling. "I'm sorry."
"What?" Sabrina said blankly.
"I almost killed you. I'm sorry, Sabrina," he said, rubbing his eyes on his filthy hoodie. He lifted her off the tower and set her on the ground.
"Since when do you care?" Sabrina said, still stunned by the boy's apology.
Michael Buckley (The Everafter War (The Sisters Grimm, #7))
Opportunity never knocks. It hangs thick in the air all around you.
You breathe it unthinking, and
dissipate it with your sighs.
Roy H. Williams
Novalee watched his lips shape the words...the sounds, like whispered secrets, hanging in the air.
Billie Letts (Where the Heart Is)
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time.
The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is.
There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside.
Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One)
My version of an Irish exit has an air of deception to it, because it includes my asking loudly, “Where’s the bathroom?” and making theatrical looking-around gestures like a lost foreign tourist. But then, instead of finding the bathroom, I sneakily grab my coat and leave.
Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns))
He looked like a giant lion lying belly-up in the sun with his legs hanging open, licking his paws and airing out his balls.
Tina Reber (Love Unrehearsed (Love, #2))
If he closed his eyes he could dwell in the circuit of air that had once held her, he could hold his breath and be inside her again, within the close and burning borders of her- she stood here, washed her hair in this sink, wrote upon this wall, ate roasted chicken at this table. There was no place he could enter where she had not also been, her echoes hanging in the air like pages hung to dry. No place that did not suppurate in her absence, which was not ringed with the light of her old selves, like film burned with a cigarette.
Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest)
I sailed on the cold air currents above the rooftops of Paris. I could see the river, the Louvre Museum, the gardens and palaces. And a mouse-yum. Hang on, Carter, I thought. not hunting mice.
Rick Riordan (The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1))
Sounds of a San Juan night, drifting across the city through layers of humid air; sounds of life and movement, people getting ready and people giving up, the sound of hope and the sound of hanging on, and behind them all, the quiet, deadly ticking of a thousand hungry clocks, the lonely sound of time passing in the long Caribbean night.
Hunter S. Thompson
My words hang in the air. I look to the screen, hoping to see them recording some wave of reconciliation going through the crowd.
Instead I watch myself get shot on television.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
He left the unspoken question hanging in the air. How did one annoy a two- kilometre-long black rectangular slab? And just what form would its disapproval take
Arthur C. Clarke (2010: Odyssey Two)
You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room.
Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure.
If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it....
It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me.
I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun.
We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took.
And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things.
They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums.
Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me.
If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe.
Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
I haven’t seen you with anyone lately. What happened, Joshy? Ran out of women who’ll fall for your bullshit?”
“It’s a choice, Red. I can get any girl I want at any time.”
“False. You can’t get me.”
“I haven’t tried.”
We stared at each other, our implied challenge hanging thick in the air.
Ana Huang (Twisted Hate (Twisted, #3))
No matter what a person does to cover up and conceal themselves, when we write and lose control, I can spot a person from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina a mile away even if they make no exact reference to location. Their words are lush like the land they come from, filled with nine aunties, people named Bubba. There is something extravagant and wild about what they have to say — snakes on the roof of a car, swamps, a delta, sweat, the smell of sea, buzz of an air conditioner, Coca-Cola — something fertile, with a hidden danger or shame, thick like the humidity, unspoken yet ever-present.
Often when a southerner reads, the members of the class look at each other, and you can hear them thinking, gee, I can't write like that. The power and force of the land is heard in the piece. These southerners know the names of what shrubs hang over what creek, what dogwood flowers bloom what color, what kind of soil is under their feet.
I tease the class, "Pay no mind. It's the southern writing gene. The rest of us have to toil away.
When I hear what I have written out loud, the cliches hang in the air between us like bad breath
Sometimes you tell the truth, and things are better for it. Other times truth hangs in the air like a fog, clouding the pretty lies.
David Arnold (Kids of Appetite)
How many poems did I not write?
They hang in the air around me, a weird choir,
And some day
May suffocate me...
Anna Akhmatova (Poem Without a Hero: And Selected Poems)
It's almost as if we're afraid of words. They hang in the air, unspoken, and then seeing that they're not going to be used, they shrivel and die.
Crystal Chan (Bird)
Love is like sounds, whose last reverberations / Hang on the leaves of strange trees, on mountains / As distant as the curving of the earth, / Where the snow hangs still in the middle of the air.
-from "Love is Like Sounds
Donald Hall (Old And New Poems)
If one wishes to be instructed--not that anyone does--concerning the treacherous role that memory plays in a human life, consider how relentlessly the water of memory refuses to break, how it impedes that journey into the air of time. Time: the whisper beneath that word is death. With this unanswerable weight hanging heavier and heavier over one's head, the vision becomes cloudy, nothing is what it seems...
How then, can I trust my memory concerning that particular Sunday afternoon?...Beneath the face of anyone you ever loved for true--anyone you love, you will always love, love is not at the mercy of time and it does not recognize death, they are strangers to each other--beneath the face of the beloved, however ancient, ruined, and scarred, is the face of the baby your love once was, and will always be, for you. Love serves, then, if memory doesn't, and passion, apart from its tense relation to agony, labors beneath the shadow of death. Passion is terrifying, it can rock you, change you, bring your head under, as when a wind rises from the bottom of the sea, and you're out there in the craft of your mortality, alone.
James Baldwin (Just Above My Head)
Then the old man's face hardened. "What about you young man?" he asked flatly. "Would you like to get what you deserve?" Jones let that question hang in the air for a moment, then sighed, shook his head, and said "Me? I surely don't want what I deserve. I'm hoping for mercy, not justice.
Andy Andrews (The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective)
I swam across the rocks and compared myself favorably with the sars. To swim fishlike, horizontally, was the logical method in a medium eight hundred times denser than air. To halt and hang attached to nothing, no lines or air pipe to the surface, was a dream. At night I had often had visions of flying by extending my arms as wings. Now I flew without wings. (Since that first aqualung flight, I have never had a dream of flying.)
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (The Silent World)
The sign outside this tent is accompanied by a small box full of smooth black stones. The text instructs you to take one with you as you enter. Inside, the tent is dark, the ceiling covered with open black umbrellas, the curving handles hanging down like icicles. In the center of the room there is a pool. A pond enclosed within a black stone wall that is surrounded by white gravel. The air carries the salty tinge of the ocean. You walk over to the edge to look inside. The gravel crunches beneath your feet. It is shallow, but it is glowing. A shimmering, shifting light cascades up through the surface of the water. A soft radiance, enough to illuminate the pool and the stones that sit at the bottom. Hundreds of stones, each identical to the one you hold in your hand. The light beneath filters through the spaces between the stones. Reflections ripple around the room, making it appear as though the entire tent is underwater. You sit on the wall, turning your black stone over and over in your fingers. The stillness of the tent becomes a quiet melancholy. Memories begin to creep forward from hidden corners of your mind. Passing disappointments. Lost chances and lost causes. Heartbreaks and pain and desolate, horrible loneliness. Sorrows you thought long forgotten mingle with still-fresh wounds. The stone feels heavier in your hand. When you drop it in the pool to join the rest of the stones, you feel lighter. As though you have released something more than a smooth polished piece of rock.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
What we consume now is not objects or events, but our experience of them. Just as we never need to leave our cars, so we never need to leave our own skulls. The experience is already out there, as ready-made as a pizza, as bluntly objective as a boulder, and all we need to do is receive it. It is as though there is an experience hanging in the air, waiting for a human subject to come alone and have it. Niagara Falls, Dublin Castle and the Great Wall of China do our experiencing for us. They come ready-interpreted, thus saving us a lot of inconvenient labour. What matters is not the place itself but the act of consuming it. We buy an experience like we pick up a T-shirt.
Terry Eagleton (How to Read a Poem)
The town is mobbed out with Saturday shoppers looking for Christmas bargains. You can almost breathe in the raw greed which hangs in the air like vapour. As the late afternoon darkness falls, the lights look tacky and sinister.
Irvine Welsh (Filth)
She looked down again and I was stymied. I sat. Oh, this was enough to make me love her, because I was right with her, understanding every second and longing to step in. I didn’t even need to know the specific that was troubling her, because to me her halting voice easily stood for the general woe that hangs in the air, even on life’s happiest days.
Steve Martin (The Pleasure of My Company)
Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence - their speech centres are destroyed - except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony.
William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch)
Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere, for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moondriven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.
But here rise the stubborn continents. The shelves of gravel and the cliffs of rock break from water baldly into air, that dry, terrible outerspace of radiance and instability, where there is no support for life. And now, now the currents mislead and the waves betray, breaking their endless circle, to leap up in loud foam against rock and air, breaking....
What will the creature made all of seadrift do on the dry sand of daylight; what will the mind do, each morning, waking?
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Lathe of Heaven)
The great hall was shimmering in light, sun streaming from the open windows, and ablaze with colour, the walls decorated with embroidered hangings in rich shades of gold and crimson. New rushes had been strewn about, fragrant with lavender, sweet woodruff, and balm... the air was... perfumed with honeysuckle and violet, their seductive scents luring in from the gardens butterflies as blue as the summer sky.
Sharon Kay Penman (Devil's Brood (Plantagenets #3; Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3))
. “I heard her voice first. She responded to something Joanna Masci said to her. That note in her voice turned the key, unlocking something deep inside of me. I felt it like a terrible wrenching inside. Everything in me reached for her. For that note she left hanging in the air. I heard the music in me answer.
Christine Feehan (Shadow Rider (Shadow Riders, #1))
THE FOX AND THE GRAPES
A hungry Fox saw some fine bunches of Grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, "I thought those Grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour.
Aesop (Aesop's Fables)
He spins around. Before I can say anything else, he steps forward and takes my face in his hands. Then he’s kissing me one last time, overwhelming me with his warmth, breathing life and love and aching sorrow into me. I throw my arms around his neck as he wraps his around my waist. My lips part for him and his mouth moves desperately against mine, devouring me, taking every breath that I have. Don’t go, I plead wordlessly. But I can taste the good-bye on his lips, and now I can no longer hold back my tears. He’s trembling. His face is wet. I hang on to him like he’ll disappear if I let go, like I’ll be left alone in this dark room, standing in the empty air. Day, the boy from the streets with nothing except the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart.
Marie Lu (Prodigy (Legend, #2))
...trees to cool the towns in the boiling summer, trees to hold back the winter winds. There were so many things a tree could do: add color, provide shade, drop fruit, or become a children's playground, a whole sky universe to climb and hang from; an architecture of food and pleasure, that was a tree. But most of all the trees would distill an icy air for the lungs, and a gentle rustling for the ear when you lay nights in your snowy bed and were gentled to sleep by the sound.
Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
... the extraordinary autumn weather that always comes as a surprise, when the sun hangs low and gives more heat than in spring, when everything shines so brightly in the rare clear atmosphere that the eyes smart, when the lungs are strengthened and refreshed by inhaling the aromatic autumn air, when even the nights are warm, and when in those dark warm nights, golden stars startle and delight us continually by falling from the sky.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Her own awareness had risen like the dawn on her back.Like a leaden sunrise veiled in a swirl of storm clouds. It was no longer enough to have answers for Shiva's sake. Indeed, it had ceased to be about mere vengeance the moment Khalid's lips touched hers in the alley by the souk. She had wanted there to be a reason for this madness, needed there to be a reason, so that she could be with him. So that she could be by his side, make him smile as she laughed, weave tales by lamplight, and share secrets in the dark.So that she could fall asleep in his arms and awaken to a brilliant tomorrow.
But it was too late. He was the Mehrdad of her nightmares. She had opened the door. She had seen the bodies hanging from the walls, without explanation. Without justification.
And without one, Shahrzad knew what must be done. Khalid had to answer for such vile deeds. Such rampant death.
Even if he was her air.
Even if she loved him beyond words.
Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1))
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
In the political jargon of those days, the word "intellectual" was an insult. It indicated someone who did not understand life and was cut off from the people. All the Communists who were hanged at the time by other Communists were awarded such abuse. Unlike those who had their feet solidly on the ground, they were said to float in the air. So it was fair, in a way, that as punishment the ground was permanently pulled out from under their feet, that they remained suspended a little above the floor.
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
To fly from one tree to another, the raven hangs itself, hawklike, on the air. I hang myself that same way in sleep, between one day and the next.
Louise Erdrich (The Painted Drum)
There is a choice here, hanging like smoke in the autumn air. She can cry for the friends she doesn't have, mourn for the games she isn't playing, or she can let them go. She can be the kind of girl who doesn't need anyone else to keep her happy, the kind of girl who smiles at adults and keeps her own company. She can be content.
Seanan McGuire (In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4))
Exile is a dream of glorious return. Exile is a vision of revolution: Elba, not St Helena. It is an endless paradox: looking forward by always looking back. The exile is a ball hurled high into the air. He hangs there, frozen in time, translated into a photograph; denied motion, suspended impossibly above his native earth, he awaits the inevitable moment at which the photograph must begin to move, and the earth reclaim its own.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
Do you ever feel lost?” The question hangs between us, intimate, awkward only on my end. He doesn’t scoff as Tactus and Fitchner would, or scratch his balls like Sevro, or chuckle like Cassius might have, or purr as Victra would. I’m not sure what Mustang might have done. But Roque, despite his Color and all the things that make him different, slowly slides a marker into the book and sets it on the nightstand beside the four-poster, taking his time and allowing an answer to evolve between us. Movements thoughtful and organic, like Dancer’s were before he died. There’s a stillness in him, vast and majestic, the same stillness I remember in my father. “Quinn once told me a story.” He waits for me to moan a grievance at the mention of a story, and when I don’t, his tone sinks into deeper gravity. “Once, in the days of Old Earth, there were two pigeons who were greatly in love. In those days, they raised such animals to carry messages across great distances. These two were born in the same cage, raised by the same man, and sold on the same day to different men on the eve of a great war. “The pigeons suffered apart from each other, each incomplete without their lover. Far and wide their masters took them, and the pigeons feared they would never again find each other, for they began to see how vast the world was, and how terrible the things in it. For months and months, they carried messages for their masters, flying over battle lines, through the air over men who killed one another for land. When the war ended, the pigeons were set free by their masters. But neither knew where to go, neither knew what to do, so each flew home. And there they found each other again, as they were always destined to return home and find, instead of the past, their future.
Pierce Brown (Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2))
There's no time to be modest. Reason will not work here. Without warning, I kiss Kartik. His lips, pressed firmly against mine, are a surprise. They are warm, light as breath, firm as the give of a peach against my mouth. A scent like scorched cinnamon hangs in the air, but I'm not falling into any vision. It's his smell in me. A smell that makes my stomach drop through my feet. A smell that pushes all thought out of my head and replaces it with an overpowering hunger for more.
Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1))
I spend my life sitting, like an angel in a barber's chair,
Holding a beer mug with deep-cut designs,
My neck and gut both bent, while in the air
A weightless veil of pipe smoke hangs.
Like steaming dung within an old dovecote
A thousand Dreams within me softly burn:
From time to time my heart is like some oak
Whose blood runs golden where a branch is torn.
And then, when I have swallowed down my Dreams
In thirty, forty mugs of beer, I turn
To satisfy a need I can't ignore,
And like the Lord of Hyssop and of Myrrh
I piss into the skies, a soaring stream
That consecrates a patch of flowering fern.
Arthur Rimbaud (Complete Works)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles.
This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear.
But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God.
...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
It turns out that having kissed someone, the possibility of kissing hangs over everything, no matter how terrible an idea it was the first time. The memory of his mouth on mine shimmers in the air between us.
Holly Black (The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1))
There, in the spaces between darkness and light, a sadness hangs in the air, invisible to the human eye yet heavy on the heart.
Aline Ohanesian (Orhan's Inheritance)
I love you, you know.” Viviane let the words hang in the air between them for a moment, like a sweet pink cloud. Then she inhaled the words in whole, turned them over in her mouth, relished their solidity on her tongue.
Leslye Walton (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender)
Life was not to be sitting in hot amorphic leisure in my backyard idly writing or not-writing, as the spirit moved me. It was, instead, running madly, in a crowded schedule, in a squirrel cage of busy people. Working, living, dancing, dreaming, talking, kissing — singing, laughing, learning. The responsibility, the awful responsibility of managing (profitably) 12 hours a day for 10 weeks is rather overwhelming when there is nothing, noone, to insert an exact routine into the large unfenced acres of time — which it is so easy to let drift by in soporific idling and luxurious relaxing. It is like lifting a bell jar off a securely clockwork-like functioning community, and seeing all the little busy people stop, gasp, blow up and float in the inrush, (or rather outrush,) of the rarified scheduled atmosphere — poor little frightened people, flailing impotent arms in the aimless air. That's what it feels like: getting shed of a routine. Even though one had rebelled terribly against it, even then, one feels uncomfortable when jounced out of the repetitive rut. And so with me. What to do? Where to turn? What ties, what roots? as I hang suspended in the strange thin air of back-home?
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
Insulated from natural contacts with earth, air and sunlight, by corsets pressing on the solar plexus, by voluminous petticoats, cotton stockings and kid boots, the drowsy well-fed girls lounging in the shade were no more a part of their environment than figures in a photograph album, arbitrarily posed against a backcloth of cork rocks and cardboard trees.
Joan Lindsay (Picnic at Hanging Rock)
Don't know. Don't care. I'm hopping on a bus and going until I can't go any farther. Until I find a place that feels like home.'
He's quiet for a long time. 'How will you know what home feels like?'
It hangs in the air between us, as frozen as our breaths. I don't have an answer.
Holly Black (My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories)
Everything I’ve done,” Amaram said, blinking red eyes, “I’ve done for Alethkar. I’m a patriot!”
“If that is true,” Kaladin whispered, “why do you still hurt?”
Amaram screamed, charging him.
Kaladin raised Syl, who became a Shardblade. “Today, what I do, I do for the men you killed. I am the man I’ve become because of them.”
“I made you! I forged you!” He leaped at Kaladin, propelling himself off the ground, hanging in the air.
Kaladin floated downward toward him. “Ten spears go to battle,” he whispered, “and nine shatter. Did that war forge the one that remained? No, Amaram. All the war did was identify the spear that would not break.
Brandon Sanderson (Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3))
Every November of my boyhood, we put on red poppies and attended highly patriotic services in remembrance of those who had 'given' their lives. But on what assurance did we know that these gifts had really been made? Only the survivors—the living—could attest to it. In order to know that a person had truly laid down his life for his friends, or comrades, one would have to hear it from his own lips, or at least have heard it promised in advance. And that presented another difficulty. Many brave and now dead soldiers had nonetheless been conscripts. The known martyrs—those who actually, voluntarily sought death and rejoiced in the fact—had been the kamikaze pilots, immolating themselves to propitiate a 'divine' emperor who looked (as Orwell once phrased it) like a monkey on a stick. Their Christian predecessors had endured torture and death (as well as inflicted it) in order to set up a theocracy. Their modern equivalents would be the suicide murderers, who mostly have the same aim in mind. About people who set out to lose their lives, then, there seems to hang an air of fanaticism: a gigantic sense of self-importance unattractively fused with a masochistic tendency to self-abnegation. Not wholesome.
The better and more realistic test would therefore seem to be: In what cause, or on what principle, would you risk your life?
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I don't realize how badly I've needed to say those words until they've left my mouth. They hang in the air. And all I want now is to be away from them. To leave the truth behind. Because if I can't do anything about it, I certainly don't want to face it.
Lauren DeStefano (Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2))
Many people would have to hang by their teeth from a frayed cord suspended by a paper clip from a leaking hot air balloon over the Grand Canyon in order to feel what I feel standing on the third step of a stepladder trying to put millet in the bird feeder.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Changing Planes)
I have been
for so long
that the body has forgotten
or where or when it
and the toes
walk along in shoes
that do not
slice things and
hold things and
move things and
I am no longer
what these things
they are mostly
then often the hands will
go to the
and hold the head
like the hands of a
around a ball
air and wood -
no thinking part
and when a window
or something singing
the fingers of the hand
are senseless to vibration
because they have no
senseless to color because
they have no
senseless to smell
without a nose
they country goes by as
the daylights and evenings
on my dirty
and in some mirror
a block to vanish
scuffed part of a child’s
worms and aircraft
fires on the land
tall violets in sanctity
my hands let go let go
Charles Bukowski (Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame)
His rapier was at his belt, glittering as he swung. He reached down, ripped the sword clear.
I jumped over a slashing frond of plasm, spun round with the water bottle in my hand. I hurled it across to Lockwood.
George threw his rapier to me.
Watch this now. Sword and bottle, sailing through the air, twin trajectories, arching beautifully through the mass of swirling tendrils towards Lockwood and me. Lockwood held out his hand. I held out mine.
Remember I said there was that moment of sweet precision when we gelled perfectly as a team?
Yeah, well. This wasn't it.
The rapier shot past, missing me by miles. It skidded halfway across the floor. The bottle struck Lockwood plumb in the centre of his forehead, knocking him through the window.
There was a moment's pause.
'Is he dead?' the skulls voice said 'Yay! Oh. No, he's hanging onto the shutters. Shame. Still, this is defiantly the funniest thing I've ever seen. You three really are incompetence on a stick
Jonathan Stroud (The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co., #3))
The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Jamie Catto (Insanely Gifted: Turn Your Demons into Creative Rocket Fuel)
When someone you love disappears, it's like the light goes dim, and you're in the shadows. You try to do what people tell you: put one foot in front of the other; keep looking up; give yourself over to the seconds and minutes and hours. But always there's taht glimmer of light-that way of living you once knew-sort of faded and smoky like the crescent moon on a winter's night when the air is full of ice and clouds, but still there, hanging just over your head. You think it's not far. Your think at any moment you can reach out and grab it.
Lee Martin (The Bright Forever)
...on the other hand the machine does not bleed, ache, hang for hours in the empty sky in a torment of hope to learn the fate of another machine, nor does it cry out with joy nor dance in the air with the fierce passion of a bird.
Loren Eiseley (The Immense Journey)
Every person needs a moment in their life of total insanity. A time where there is nothing else you can do but snap in half, wave your arms in the air, and run around like a crazy person, tongue hanging out and insanity in you eyes.
Meghan Quinn (The Mother Road)
They would set their course toward it, seeing it grow bigger silently and imperceptibly, a motionless growth--and then, when they were at it, when they were about to bang their noses with a shock against its seeming solid mass, the sun would dim. Wraiths of mist suddenly moving like serpents of the air would coil about them for a second. Grey damp would be around them, and the sun, a copper penny, would fade away. The wings next to their own wings would shade into vacancy, until each bird was a lonely sound in cold annihilation, a presence after uncreation. And there they would hang in chartless nothing, seemingly without speed or left or right or top or bottom, until as suddenly as ever the copper penny glowed and the serpents writhed.
T.H. White (The Once and Future King)
First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.
There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.
I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.
And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
you breathe differently down here.
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed
the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.
Adrienne Rich (Diving Into the Wreck)
It was funny the things you noticed before a battle – the dust in the air hanging as if suspended in time. Drale almost wanted to part it with his hands and see what lay beyond. The huge pines cast shadows on the glad above the town and in the calm that descended Drale drew his sword and faced his attackers in a pool of liquid moonlight.
It was winter, and a night of bitter cold. The snow lay thick upon the ground, and upon the branches of the trees: the frost kept snapping the little twigs on either side of them, as they passed: and when they came to the Mountain-Torrent she was hanging motionless in air, for the Ice-King had kissed her.
Oscar Wilde (The Star-Child and Other Tales)
Mia, stop!" My voice bounces off her bedroom walls. "We are not in high school anymore!"
She looks at me, a question hanging in the air.
"Look, my tour doesn't start for another week."
A feather of hope starts to float across the space between us.
"And you know, I was thinking I was craving some sushi."
Her smile is sad and rueful, not exactly what I was going for. "You'd come to Japan with me?"
"I'm already there.
Gayle Forman (Where She Went (If I Stay, #2))
To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one’s lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.
George Orwell (1984)
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
I lie in bed beside my little sister, listening to the singing in the yard. Life is transformed, by these voices, by these presences, by their high spirits and grand esteem, for themselves and each other. My parents, all of us, are on holiday. The mixture of voices and words is so complicated and varied it seems that such confusion, such jolly rivalry, will go on forever, and then to my surprise—for I am surprised, even though I know the pattern of rounds—the song is thinning out, you can hear the two voices striving.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Then the one voice alone, one of them singing on, gamely, to the finish. One voice in which there is an unexpected note of entreaty, of warning, as it hangs the five separate words on the air. Life is. Wait. But a. Now, wait. Dream.
Alice Munro (The Moons of Jupiter)
...What I recall is this: this native people he lived with, deep in the jungle - their language had dozens of words for rain. Because it was so common to them, you see. Where they lived, it rained almost constantly. Several times a day. So they had words for light rain, and heavy rain, and pounding rain. Something like eighteen different terms for storms, and a whole classification system for mist."
"Why are you telling me this?"
His touch skimmed lightly down her arm. "Because I'm standing here, wanting to give you fitting compliment, but my paltry vocabulary fails me. I think what I need is a scientific excursion. I need to venture deep into some jungle where beauty takes the place of rain. Where loveliness itself falls from the sky at regular intervals. Dots every surface, saturates the ground, hangs like vapor in the air. Because the way you look right now..." His gaze cought hers in the reflection. "They'd have a word for it there.
Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
The sun was up, the room already too warm. Light filtered in through the net curtains, hanging suspended in the air, sediment in a pond. My head felt like a sack of pulp. Still in my nightgown, damp from some fright I'd pushed aside like foliage, I pulled myself up and out of my tangled bed, then forced myself through the usual dawn rituals - the ceremonies we perform to make ourselves look sane and acceptable to other people. The hair must be smoothed down after whatever apparitions have made it stand on end during the night, the expression of staring disbelief washed from the eyes. The teeth brushed, such as they are. God knows what bones I'd been gnawing in my sleep.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
My mother is from Cairo, Georgia. This makes everything she says sound like it went through a curling iron. Other people sound flat to my ear; their words just hang in the air. But when my mother says something, the ends curl.
Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors)
What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them! Yet my town acquaintances look upon it as imprisonment, and I don't know what besides, and would rend the air with their shrieks if condemned to such a life. Sometimes I feel as if I were blest above all my fellows in being able to find my happiness so easily. I believe I should always be good if the sun always shone, and could enjoy myself very well in Siberia on a fine day. And what can life in town offer in the way of pleasure to equal the delight of any one of the calm evenings I have had this month sitting alone at the foot of the verandah steps, with the perfume of young larches all about, and the May moon hanging low over the beeches, and the beautiful silence made only more profound in its peace by the croaking of distant frogs and hooting of owls?
Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden)
The cicadas pierce the air with their searing one-note calls; dust eddies across the roads; from the weedy patches at the verges, grasshoppers whir. The leaves of the maples hang from their branches like limp gloves; on the sidewalk my shadow crackles.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
And the roses—the roses! Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades—they came alive day by day, hour by hour. Fair fresh leaves, and buds—and buds—tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze.
A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that?
Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind.
In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday.
Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us.
It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral.
All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
The night lifted, leaving behind it a grayish light the color of stagnant water. Soon there was only a tattered fragment of darkness, hanging in mid-air, the other side of the window. Fear caught my throat. The tattered fragment of darkness had a face. The face was my own.
Elie Wiesel (Dawn)
Good stories are never about a string of successes but about spectacular defeats,” Støp had said. “Even though Roald Amundsen won the race to the South Pole, it’s Robert Scott the world outside Norway remembers. None of Napoleon’s victories is remembered like the defeat at Waterloo. Serbia’s national pride is based on the battle against the Turks at Kosovo Polje in 1389, a battle the Serbs lost resoundingly. And look at Jesus! The symbol of the man who is claimed to have triumphed over death ought to be a man standing outside the tomb with his hands in the air. Instead, throughout time Christians have preferred the spectacular defeat: when he was hanging on the cross and close to giving up. Because it’s always the story of the defeat that moves us most.
Jo Nesbø (The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7))
That's who is waiting for me:
an invisible man
defined by a dotted line:
the shape of an absence
in your place at the table,
sitting across from me,
eating toast and eggs as usual
or walking ahead up the drive,
a rustling of the fallen leaves,
a slight thickening of the air.
It's you in the future,
we both know that.
You'll be here but not here,
a muscle memory, like hanging a hat
on a hook that's not there any longer.
Margaret Atwood (Dearly)
You wake up filled with dread.
There seems no reason for it.
Morning light sifts through the window,
there is birdsong,
you can't get out of bed.
It's something about the crumpled sheets
hanging over the edge like jungle
foliage, the terry slippers gaping
their dark pink mouths for your feet,
the unseen breakfast--some of it
in the refrigerator you do not dare
to open--you will not dare to eat.
What prevents you? The future. The future tense,
immense as outer space.
You could get lost there.
No. Nothing so simple. The past, its density
and drowned events pressing you down,
like sea water, like gelatin
filling your lungs instead of air.
Forget all that and let's get up.
Try moving your arm.
Try moving your head.
Pretend the house is on fire
and you must run or burn.
No, that one's useless.
It's never worked before.
Where is it coming form, this echo,
this huge No that surrounds you,
silent as the folds of the yellow
curtains, mute as the cheerful
Mexican bowl with its cargo
of mummified flowers?
(You chose the colours of the sun,
not the dried neutrals of shadow.
God knows you've tried.)
Now here's a good one:
you're lying on your deathbed.
You have one hour to live.
Who is it, exactly, you have needed
all these years to forgive?
Margaret Atwood (Morning In The Burned House)
Forest air is the epitome of healthy air. People who want to take a deep breath of fresh air or engage in physical activity in a particularly agreeable atmosphere step out into the forest. There's every reason to do so. The air truly is considerably cleaner under the trees, because the trees act as huge air filters. Their leaves and needles hang in a steady breeze, catching large and small particles as they float by. Per year and square mile this can amount to 20,000 tons of material. Trees trap so much because their canopy presents such a large surface area. In comparison with a meadow of a similar size, the surface area of the forest is hundreds of times larger, mostly because of the size difference between trees and grass. The filtered particles contain not only pollutants such as soot but also pollen and dust blown up from the ground. It is the filtered particles from human activity, however, that are particularly harmful. Acids, toxic hydrocarbons, and nitrogen compounds accumulate in the trees like fat in the filter of an exhaust fan above a kitchen stove. But not only do trees filter materials out of the air, they also pump substances into it. They exchange scent-mails and, of course, pump out phytoncides, both of which I have already mentioned.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.” The question still hangs heavy in the air: If our behavior is not making us happy, why do we act this way?
Derrick Jensen (A Language Older Than Words)
Okay, here’s the deal – your aunt and I have noticed that you and Peter seem…pretty serious. And…we want to make sure you’re being safe.
The last word hangs heavy in the air. Like one of Cousin It’s rancid dog farts.
Riley’s face turns a startling shade of fire-endine red. “Oh my God. Is this really happening?”
I pinch the bridge of my nose. “I know, I know, it’s fucking awful.
Emma Chase (Sidebarred (The Legal Briefs, #3.5))
Storytellers tell stories, of course, but they aren't alone in doing so. The dawn tells a story; so does the sun as it arcs across the sky; so does the sunset. The seasons tell a complex story. The fall of an acorn and the growth of an oak tree tell a story. A farmer's plow and the furrows in a field tell a story as well. Even the waves crashing on a beach tell a story. How easy to see, then, that an ax tells a story, too, at least while it hangs for a moment in the air just before descending onto your neck. That story is: Now you die.
Edward Myers (Storyteller)
Outside, with Labor Day having come and gone, summer is fighting a dying battle against the fall air. The leaves are hanging perilously on the trees, knowing full well they're going to make the plunge, clinging on as if they stand a chance not to. The garbage smell that has wafted around us for the better part of August is dissipating, ushered out with the humidity, and in its place a briskness is filtering in, like something you'd smell from a bottle of Tide.
Allison Winn Scotch
Sometimes I like to think I live with ghosts. Not from my past, but wispy bits of ideas and books that hang in the air like silk puppets. Sometimes I think I see my own ideas, floating around too, but they usually don't last that long. They're more like mayflies; they're born, big and gleaming, and then they fly around, buzzing like crazy before they fall to the floor, dead, about twenty four hours later.
Scarlett Thomas (The End Of Mr. Y)
Now at least you can look clear-eyed into your own future, and choose: stay safe and sane at home, as any rational man would- I swear I'll understand-
Or run away with me toward the glimmering, mad horizon. Dance through this eternal green orchard, where ten thousand worlds hang ripe and red for the plucking; wander with me between the trees, tending them, clearing away the weeds, letting in the air.
Opening the Doors.
Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
A Faint Music by Robert Hass
Maybe you need to write a poem about grace.
When everything broken is broken,
and everything dead is dead,
and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,
and the heroine has studied her face and its defects
remorselessly, and the pain they thought might,
as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves
has lost its novelty and not released them,
and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,
watching the others go about their days—
likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears—
that self-love is the one weedy stalk
of every human blossoming, and understood,
therefore, why they had been, all their lives,
in such a fury to defend it, and that no one—
except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool
of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic
life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,
faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.
As in the story a friend told once about the time
he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.
Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash.
He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,
the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.
And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,”
that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.
No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch
he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,
scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp
along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word
was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise
the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs,
and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up
on the girder like a child—the sun was going down
and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket
he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing
carefully, and drove home to an empty house.
There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties
hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.
A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick
with rage and grief. He knew more or less
where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.
They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears
in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,”
she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights,
a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.
“You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?”
“Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now,
“I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while—
Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall—
and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more,
and go to sleep.
And he, he would play that scene
once only, once and a half, and tell himself
that he was going to carry it for a very long time
and that there was nothing he could do
but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened
to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark
cracking and curling as the cold came up.
It’s not the story though, not the friend
leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,”
which is the part of stories one never quite believes.
I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps—
First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)
Blow on, ye death fraught whirlwinds! blow,
Around the rocks, and rifted caves;
Ye demons of the gulf below!
I hear you, in the troubled waves.
High on this cliff, which darkness shrouds
In night's impenetrable clouds,
My solitary watch I keep,
And listen, while the turbid deep
Groans to the raging tempests, as they roll
Their desolating force, to thunder at the pole.
Eternal world of waters, hail!
Within thy caves my Lover lies;
And day and night alike shall fail
Ere slumber lock my streaming eyes.
Along this wild untrodden coast,
Heap'd by the gelid' hand of frost;
Thro' this unbounded waste of seas,
Where never sigh'd the vernal breeze;
Mine was the choice, in this terrific form,
To brave the icy surge, to shiver in the storm.
Yes! I am chang'd - My heart, my soul,
Retain no more their former glow.
Hence, ere the black'ning tempests roll,
I watch the bark, in murmurs low,
(While darker low'rs the thick'ning' gloom)
To lure the sailor to his doom;
Soft from some pile of frozen snow
I pour the syren-song of woe;
Like the sad mariner's expiring cry,
As, faint and worn with toil, he lays him down to die.
Then, while the dark and angry deep
Hangs his huge billows high in air ;
And the wild wind with awful sweep,
Howls in each fitful swell - beware!
Firm on the rent and crashing mast,
I lend new fury to the blast;
I mark each hardy cheek grow pale,
And the proud sons of courage fail;
Till the torn vessel drinks the surging waves,
Yawns the disparted main, and opes its shelving graves.
When Vengeance bears along the wave
The spell, which heav'n and earth appals;
Alone, by night, in darksome cave,
On me the gifted wizard calls.
Above the ocean's boiling flood
Thro' vapour glares the moon in blood:
Low sounds along the waters die,
And shrieks of anguish fill the' sky;
Convulsive powers the solid rocks divide,
While, o'er the heaving surge, the embodied spirits glide.
Thrice welcome to my weary sight,
Avenging ministers of Wrath!
Ye heard, amid the realms of night,
The spell that wakes the sleep of death.
Where Hecla's flames the snows dissolve,
Or storms, the polar skies involve;
Where, o'er the tempest-beaten wreck,
The raging winds and billows break;
On the sad earth, and in the stormy sea,
All, all shall shudd'ring own your potent agency.
To aid your toils, to scatter death,
Swift, as the sheeted lightning's force,
When the keen north-wind's freezing breath
Spreads desolation in its course,
My soul within this icy sea,
Fulfils her fearful destiny.
Thro' Time's long ages I shall wait
To lead the victims to their fate;
With callous heart, to hidden rocks decoy,
And lure, in seraph-strains, unpitying, to destroy.
Anne Bannerman (Poems by Anne Bannerman.)
Rock City begins as an ornamental garden on a mountain side: its visitors walk a path that takes them through rocks, over rocks, between rocks. They throw corn into a deer enclosure, cross a hanging bridge, and peer out through a-quarter-a-throw binoculars at a view that promises them seven states on the rare sunny days when the air is perfectly clear. And from there, like a drop into some strange hell, the path takes visitors, millions upon millions of them every year, down into caverns, where they stare at black-lit dolls arranged into nursery-rhyme and fairy-tale dioramas. When they leave, they leave bemused, uncertain of why they came, of what they have seen, of whether they had a good time or not.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible; Shakespeare's plays, for instance, seem to hang there complete by them- selves. But when the web is pulled askew, hooked up at the edge, torn in the middle, one remembers that these webs are not spun in mid-air by incorporeal creatures, but are the work of suffering human beings, and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the houses we live in.
What do you know about somebody not being good enough for somebody else? And since when did you care whether Corinthians stood up or fell down? You've been laughing at us all your life. Corinthians. Mama. Me. Using us, ordering us, and judging us: how we cook your food; how we keep your house. But now, all of a sudden, you have Corinthians' welfare at heart and break her up from a man you don't approve of. Who are you to approve or disapprove anybody or anything? I was breathing air in the world thirteen years before your lungs were even formed. Corinthians, twelve. . . . but now you know what's best for the very woman who wiped the dribble from your chin because you were too young to know how to spit. Our girlhood was spent like a found nickel on you. When you slept, we were quiet; when you were hungry, we cooked; when you wanted to play, we entertained you; and when you got grown enough to know the difference between a woman and a two-toned Ford, everything in this house stopped for you. You have yet to . . . move a fleck of your dirt from one place to another. And to this day, you have never asked one of us if we were tired, or sad, or wanted a cup of coffee. . . . Where do you get the RIGHT to decide our lives? . . . I'll tell you where. From that hog's gut that hangs down between your legs. . . . I didn't go to college because of him. Because I was afraid of what he might do to Mama. You think because you hit him once that we all believe you were protecting her. Taking her side. It's a lie. You were taking over, letting us know you had the right to tell her and all of us what to do. . . . I don't make roses anymore, and you have pissed your last in this house.
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
As I had to do whenever I glimpsed this river, I thought of Phineas. Not of the tree and pain, but of one of his favorite tricks, Phineas in exaltation, balancing on one foot on the prow of a canoe like a river god, his raised arms invoking the air to support him, face transfigured, body a complex set of balances and compensations, each muscle aligned in perfection with all the others to maintain this supreme fantasy of achievement, his skin glowing from immersions, his whole body hanging between river and sky as though he had transcended gravity and might by gently pushing upward with his foot glide a little way higher and remain suspended in space, encompassing all the glory of the summer and offering it to the sky.
The Los Angeles Air Pollution Control Board is established in 1946 in an effort to discover the cause of the brown cloud hanging over the city and decide how to combat and disperse it. In 1949, after intense lobbying from both the automobile and oil industries, and against the recommendations and position of the Los Angeles Air Pollution Control Board, the public rail system, which at one time was the largest in the world, and still serves a majority of the city's population, is decommissioned and torn out. It is replaced by a small fleet of buses.
James Frey (Bright Shiny Morning)
It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working—bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming—toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned—reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone—one mind less, one world less.
George Orwell (A Hanging)
It was all nonsense, as they both knew. In reality there was no escape. Even the one plan that was practicable, suicide, they had no intention of carrying out. To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one’s lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.
George Orwell (1984)
It’s this thing I have. I’m sorry if it scared you. I feel other people’s feelings. I imagine crumbling insides and splitting hearts, goodbyes that hang in the air before they break into tiny pieces. I hear words that aren’t said, the echoes of lonely hallways and hollow footsteps. I hear sobs that soak pillowcases when all the lights are out and the world is sleeping. I carry this inside of me, all of it.
I knew you paced the floor at night, trying to walk over all the things you didn’t want me to know. But I felt every wound you ever endured when I rested against you. I felt the ache that I have, deep inside of me, on your lips. Every time we kissed, I tasted a lifetime of tangled paths and bumpy roads woven with joined hands. Love isn’t blind, you see. I felt everything you were and could be, if only you stopped hiding in the same darkness you sheltered me from. I knew who you could become if someone loved you just right.
I’m sorry if that scared you.
Just in case you were wondering, I still love you and I'll keep the lights dim.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Everyone does this shit.’” I paused, letting Elliot's words hang in the air. Then I said, “There's no denying that he had a point. You see it in jewelry stores all the time: They inflate their price tags and then mark things down right in front of you so you think you're getting a good deal.” I paused again, then: “And all this business about an overorder isn't much different than all those stores you see advertising ‘ going-out-of-business sales.’ Most of them have been advertising the same going-out-of-business sale for the last ten years, and in ten more years they'll still be going out of business!
Jordan Belfort (Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison)
This world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive.
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1))
this native people he lived with, deep in the jungle—their language had dozens of words for rain. Because it was so common to them, you see. Where they lived, it rained almost constantly. Several times a day. So they had words for light rain, and heavy rain, and pounding rain. Something like eighteen different terms for storms, and a whole classification system for mist.” “Why are you telling me this?” His touch skimmed idly down her arm. “Because I’m standing here, wanting to give you a fitting compliment, but my paltry vocabulary fails me. I think what I need is a scientific excursion. I need to venture deep into some jungle where beauty takes the place of rain. Where loveliness itself falls from the sky at regular intervals. Dots every surface, saturates the ground, hangs like vapor in the air. Because the way you look, right now . . .” His gaze caught hers in the reflection. “They’d have a word for it there.
Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast.
"The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways.
"Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller.
"I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state.
"You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.
Tim Dorsey (Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms, #1))
Where do I belong?”
“With me,” my mother and Galen say in unison. They exchange hard glares. Galen locks his jaw.
“I’m her mother,” she tells Galen, her voice sharp. “Her place is with me.”
“I want her for my mate,” Galen says. The admission warms up the space between us with an impossible heat and I want to melt into him. His words, his declaration, cannot be unspoken. And how he’s declared it to everyone who matters. It’s out there in the open, hanging in the air. He wants me for his mate. Me. Him. Forever. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. How I should feel about that.
I’ve known for some time that he wanted that eventually, but how soon? Before we graduate? Before I go to college? What does it mean to mate with him? He’s a Triton prince. His place is with the Syrena, in the ocean. And let’s not forget that my place with them is dead-no Half-Breeds allowed. We have so much to talk about before this can even happen, but I feel saying so might make him feel rejected, or embarrass him in front of his older brother, the great Triton king. Or like I’m having second thoughts, and I’m not. Not exactly.
I peer up at him, wanting to see his eyes, to see the promise in them that I heard in his voice.
But he won’t look at me. He’s not looking at Mom, either. He keeps his iron glare on Grom, unyielding and demanding. But Grom doesn’t wither under the weight of it. In fact, he deflects it with an indifferent expression. They are definitely engaging in some sort of battle of will via manly staring contest.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
From time to time I feel as though my books and figurines were with me still. But how could they be? Are they somehow floating around me or over my head? Have the figurines and books that I lost over the years dissolved into the air of Mexico City? Have they become the ash that blows through the city from north to south and from east to west? Perhaps. The dark night of the soul advances through the streets of Mexico City sweeping all before it. And now it is rare to hear singing, where once everything was a song. The dust cloud reduces everything to dust. First the poets, then love, then, when it seems to be sated and about to disperse, the cloud returns to hang high over your city or your mind, with a mysterious air that means it has no intention of moving.
Roberto Bolaño (Amulet)
Kansas afternoons in late summer are peculiar and wondrous things. Often they are pregnant, if not over-ripe, with a pensive and latent energy that is utterly incapable of ever finding an adequate release for itself. This results in a palpable, almost frenetic tension that hangs in the air just below the clouds. By dusk, spread thin across the quilt-work farmlands by disparate prairie winds, this formless energy creates an abscess in the fabric of space and time that most individuals rarely take notice of. But in the soulish chambers of particularly sensitive observers, it elicits a familiar recognition—a vague remembrance—of something both dark and beautiful. Some understand it simply as an undefined tranquility tinged with despair over the loss of something now forgotten. For others, it signifies something far more sinister, and is therefore something to be feared.
P.S. Baber (Cassie Draws the Universe)
In early October, the woods begin to come alive again, and that surprises many people, who think of them in autumn as places of decay and dying, falling leaves and animals hiding away for their long winter hibernation. But it is summer there that is the dead time, in summer the air hangs heavy and close and still, nothing flowers, nothing sings, nothing stirs, and no light penetrates. But, now, there is a stirring, a sense of excitement.
Susan Hill (The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year)
Murder in a small town is always more than a paragraph in the local paper. In a place so insulated, where lives are so small and gone about so quietly, violent death hangs in the air—tinting everything crimson, weaving itself into the shimmering heat that rises off the winding asphalt roads at noon. It oozes from taps and runs through the gas pumps. It sits at the dinner table, murmuring in urgent low tones under the clinking of glassware.
Kat Rosenfield (Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone)
Season late, day late, sun just down, and the sky
Cold gunmetal but with a wash of live rose, and she,
From water the color of sky except where
Her motion has fractured it to shivering splinters of silver,
Rises. Stands on the raw grass. Against
The new-curdling night of spruces, nakedness
Glimmers and, at bosom and flank, drips
With fluent silver. The man,
Some ten strokes out, but now hanging
Motionless in the gunmetal water, feet
Cold with the coldness of depth, all
History dissolving from him, is
Nothing but an eye. Is an eye only. Sees
The body that is marked by his use, and Time's,
Rise, and in the abrupt and unsustaining element of air,
Sway, lean, grapple the pond-bank. Sees
How, with that posture of female awkwardness that is,
And is the stab of, suddenly perceived grace, breasts bulge down in
The pure curve of their weight and buttocks
Moon up and, in swelling unity,
Are silver and glimmer. Then
The body is erect, she is herself, whatever
Self she may be, and with an end of the towel grasped in each hand,
Slowly draws it back and forth across back and buttocks, but
With face lifted toward the high sky, where
The over-wash of rose color now fails. Fails, though no star
Yet throbs there. The towel, forgotten,
Does not move now. The gaze
Remains fixed on the sky. The body,
Profiled against the darkness of spruces, seems
To draw to itself, and condense in its whiteness, what light
In the sky yet lingers or, from
The metallic and abstract severity of water, lifts. The body,
With the towel now trailing loose from one hand, is
A white stalk from which the face flowers gravely toward the high sky.
This moment is non-sequential and absolute, and admits
Of no definition, for it
Subsumes all other, and sequential, moments, by which
Definition might be possible. The woman,
Face yet raised, wraps,
With a motion as though standing in sleep,
The towel about her body, under her breasts, and,
Holding it there hieratic as lost Egypt and erect,
Moves up the path that, stair-steep, winds
Into the clamber and tangle of growth. Beyond
The lattice of dusk-dripping leaves, whiteness
Dimly glimmers, goes. Glimmers and is gone, and the man,
Suspended in his darkling medium, stares
Upward where, though not visible, he knows
She moves, and in his heart he cries out that, if only
He had such strength, he would put his hand forth
And maintain it over her to guard, in all
Her out-goings and in-comings, from whatever
Inclemency of sky or slur of the world's weather
Might ever be. In his heart he cries out. Above
Height of the spruce-night and heave of the far mountain, he sees
The first star pulse into being. It gleams there.
I do not know what promise it makes him.
Robert Penn Warren
An eternity later, they reached what he thought might be the end, and King Henry waved his turkey leg in the air, loudly proclaiming, “This land shall be mine, henceforth and forevermore!”
And indeed, it seemed that all was lost for the poor, sweet shepherdess and her strangely changeable flock. But just then, there was a mighty roar—
“Is there a lion?” Richard wondered.
—and the unicorn burst onto the scene!
“Die!” the unicorn shrieked. “Die! Die! Die!”
Richard looked to Iris in confusion. The unicorn had not thus demonstrated an ability to speak.
Henry’s scream of terror was so chilling, the woman behind Richard murmured, “This is surprisingly well acted.”
Richard stole another look at Iris; her mouth was hanging open as Henry leapt over a cow and ran behind the piano, only to trip over the littlest sheep, who was still licking the piano leg.
Henry scrambled for purchase, but the (possibly rabid) unicorn was too fast, and it ran headfirst (and head down) toward the frightened king, plunging its horn into his large, pillowed belly.
Someone screamed, and Henry went down, feathers flying.
“I don’t think this was in the script,” Iris said in a horrified whisper.
Julia Quinn (The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #4))
Secret codes and lore and lingo stretching back into that fluid time before air conditioning dried up the rich, heavy humidity that used to hang over the porches of Louisiana, drenching cotton blouses, beads of sweat tickling the skin, slowing people down so the world entered them in an unhurried way. A thick stew of life that seeped into the very blood of people, so eccentric, languid thoughts simmered inside. Thoughts that would not come again after porches were enclosed, after the climate was controlled, after all windows were shut tight, and the sounds of the neighborhood were drowned out by the noise of the television set.
Rebecca Wells (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood)
Wisteria hangs over the eaves like clumps of ghostly grapes. Euphorbia's pale blooms billow like sea froth. Blood grass twists upward, knifing the air, while underground its roots go berserk, goosing everything in their path. A magnolia, impatient with vulvic flesh, erupts in front of the living room window. The recovering terrorist--holding a watering can filled with equal parts fish fertilizer and water, paisley gloves right up over her freckled forearms, a straw hat with its big brim shading her eyes, old tennis shoes speckled with dew--moves through her front garden. Her face, she tells herself, like a Zen koan. The look of one lip smiling.
Zsuzsi Gartner (Better Living Through Plastic Explosives)
I say is someone in there?’ The voice is the young post-New formalist from
Pittsburgh who affects Continental and wears an ascot that won’t stay tight, with that
hesitant knocking of when you know perfectly well someone’s in there, the
bathroom door composed of thirty-six that’s three times a lengthwise twelve
recessed two-bevelled squares in a warped rectangle of steam-softened wood, not
quite white, the bottom outside corner right here raw wood and mangled from
hitting the cabinets’ bottom drawer’s wicked metal knob, through the door and
offset ‘Red’ and glowering actors and calendar and very crowded scene and pubic
spirals of pale blue smoke from the elephant-colored rubble of ash and little
blackened chunks in the foil funnel’s cone, the smoke’s baby-blanket blue that’s sent
her sliding down along the wall past knotted washcloth, towel rack, blood-flower
wallpaper and intricately grimed electrical outlet, the light sharp bitter tint of a heated
sky’s blue that’s left her uprightly fetal with chin on knees in yet another North
American bathroom, deveiled, too pretty for words, maybe the Prettiest Girl Of All
Time (Prettiest G.O.A.T.), knees to chest, slew-footed by the radiant chill of the
claw-footed tub’s porcelain, Molly’s had somebody lacquer the tub in blue, lacquer,
she’s holding the bottle, recalling vividly its slogan for the past generation was The
Choice of a Nude Generation, when she was of back-pocket height and prettier by
far than any of the peach-colored titans they’d gazed up at, his hand in her lap her
hand in the box and rooting down past candy for the Prize, more fun way too much
fun inside her veil on the counter above her, the stuff in the funnel exhausted though
it’s still smoking thinly, its graph reaching its highest spiked prick, peak, the arrow’s
best descent, so good she can’t stand it and reaches out for the cold tub’s rim’s cold
edge to pull herself up as the white- party-noise reaches, for her, the sort of
stereophonic precipice of volume to teeter on just before the speaker’s blow, people
barely twitching and conversations strettoing against a ghastly old pre-Carter thing
saying ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ Joelle’s limbs have been removed to a distance
where their acknowledgement of her commands seems like magic, both clogs simply
gone, nowhere in sight, and socks oddly wet, pulls her face up to face the unclean
medicine-cabinet mirror, twin roses of flame still hanging in the glass’s corner, hair
of the flame she’s eaten now trailing like the legs of wasps through the air of the
glass she uses to locate the de-faced veil and what’s inside it, loading up the cone
again, the ashes from the last load make the world's best filter: this is a fact. Breathes
in and out like a savvy diver…
–and is knelt vomiting over the lip of the cool blue tub, gouges on the tub’s
lip revealing sandy white gritty stuff below the lacquer and porcelain, vomiting
muddy juice and blue smoke and dots of mercuric red into the claw-footed trough,
and can hear again and seems to see, against the fire of her closed lids’ blood, bladed
vessels aloft in the night to monitor flow, searchlit helicopters, fat fingers of blue
light from one sky, searching.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
T IME'S a circumference
Whereof the segment of our station seems
A long straight line from nothing into naught.
Therefore we say " progress, " " infinity " —
Dull words whose object
Hangs in the air of error and delights
Our boyish minds ahunt for butterflies.
For aspiration studies not the sky
But looks for stars; the victories of faith
Are soldiered none the less with certainties,
And all the multitudinous armies decked
With banners blown ahead and flute before
March not to the desert or th' Elysian fields,
But in the track of some discovery,
The grip and cognizance of something true,
Which won resolves a better distribution
Between the dreaming mind and real truth.
I cannot understand you.
'T is because
You lean over my meaning's edge and feel
A dizziness of the things I have not said.
The story hangs in the night air between them. It is very latem, and if father or daugther stepped to the window, tehyw ould see the Suktara, star of the impending dawn, hanging low in the sky. But they keep sitting at the table, each thinking of the story differently, as teller and listener always must. In the mind of each, different images swirl up and fall away, and each holds on to a different part of the story, thinking it the most important. And if each were to speak what it meant, they would say things so different you would not know it wa sthe same story they were speaking of.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Queen of Dreams)
I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white.
John Grisham (A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1))
What makes Argia different from other cities is that it has earth instead of air. The streets are completely filled with dirt, clay packs the rooms to the ceiling, on every stair another stairway is set in negative, over the roofs of the houses hang layers of rocky terrain like skies with clouds. We do not know if the inhabitants can move about the city, widening the worm tunnels and the crevices where roots twist: the dampness destroys people’s bodies and they have scant strength; everyone is better off remaining still, prone; anyway, it is dark.
From up here, nothing of Argia can be seen; some say, “It’s down below there,” and we can only believe them. The place is deserted. At night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
We pass the apartment we rented five years ago, when I swore off Florence. In summer, wads of tourists clog the city as if it's a Renaissance theme park. Everyone seems to be eating. That year, a garbage strike persisted for over a week and I began to have thoughts of plague when I passed heaps of rot spilling out of bins. I was amazed that long July when waiters and shopkeepers remained as nice as they did, given what they had to put up with. Everywhere I stepped I was in the way. Humanity seemed ugly—the international young in torn T-shirts and backpacks lounging on steps, bewildered bus tourists dropping ice cream napkins in the street and asking, “How much is that in dollars?” Germans in too-short shorts letting their children terrorize restaurants. The English mother and daughter ordering lasagne verdi and Coke, then complaining because the spinach pasta was green. My own reflection in the window, carrying home all my shoe purchases, the sundress not so flattering. Bad wonderland. Henry James in Florence referred to “one's detested fellow-pilgrim.” Yes, indeed, and it's definitely time to leave when one's own reflection is included. Sad that our century has added no glory to Florence—only mobs and lead hanging in the air.
Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun)
Sala called for more drink and Sweep brought four rums, saying they were on the house. We thanked him and sat for another half hour, saying nothing. Down on the waterfront I could hear the slow clang of a ship’s bell as it eased against the pier, and somewhere in the city a motorcycle roared through the narrow streets, sending its echo up the hill to Calle O’Leary. Voices rose and fell in the house next door and the raucous sound of a jukebox came from a bar down the street. Sounds of a San Juan night, drifting across the city through layers of humid air; sounds of life and movement, people getting ready and people giving up, the sound of hope and the sound of hanging on, and behind them all, the quiet, deadly ticking of a thousand hungry clocks, the lonely sound of time passing in the long Caribbean night.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Rum Diary)
Beautiful day out there,” I said, perching on the stool and crossing my legs. “It’s autumn, Sunday, great weather, and crowded everywhere you go. Relaxing indoors like this is the best thing you can do on such a nice day. It’s exhausting to get into those crowds. And the air is bad. I mostly do laundry on Sundays—wash the stuff in the morning, hang it out on the roof of my dorm, take it in before the sun goes down, do a good job of ironing it. I don’t mind ironing at all. There’s a special satisfaction in making wrinkled things smooth. And I’m pretty good at it, too. Of course, I was lousy at it at first. I put creases in everything. After a month of practice, though, I knew what I was doing. So Sunday is my day for laundry and ironing. I couldn’t do it today, of course. Too bad: wasted a perfect laundry day.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
You said it was twenty feet!” “Yeah. You’ll have to trust me. Put your arms around my neck and hang on.” “How can you possibly—” “There!” cried a voice behind them. “Kill the ungrateful tourists!” The children of Nyx had found them. Annabeth wrapped her arms around Percy’s neck. “Go!” With her eyes closed, she could only guess how he managed it. Maybe he used the force of the river somehow. Maybe he was just scared out of his mind and charged with adrenaline. Percy leaped with more strength than she would have thought possible. They sailed through the air as the river churned and wailed below them, splashing Annabeth’s bare ankles with stinging brine. Then—CLUMP. They were on solid ground again. “You can open your eyes,” Percy said, breathing hard. “But you won’t like what you see.” Annabeth blinked. After the darkness of Nyx, even the dim red glow of Tartarus seemed blinding. Before them stretched a valley big enough to fit the San Francisco Bay. The booming noise came from the entire landscape, as if thunder were echoing from beneath the ground. Under poisonous clouds, the rolling terrain glistened purple with dark red and blue scar lines. “It looks like…” Annabeth fought down her revulsion. “Like a giant heart.” “The heart of Tartarus,” Percy murmured. The center of the valley was covered with a fine black fuzz of peppery dots. They were so far away, it took Annabeth a moment to realize she was looking at an army—thousands, maybe tens of thousands of monsters, gathered around a central pinpoint of darkness. It was too far to see any details, but Annabeth had no doubt what the pinpoint was. Even from the edge of the valley, Annabeth could feel its power tugging at her soul. “The Doors of Death.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
But it's all a matter of taste, you say. It's true that among the perfumes reckoned good or great, there are some that will move you more than others, and some that will leave you entirely cold or even sickened, because either they won't say what you're longing to hear or they say what you never want to hear again. All the same, when considering perfume as an art, it's possible to appreciate when something is done exceptionally well.
If you've tried several perfumes, you know things can go wrong. Many compositions smell great in the first few minutes, then fade rapidly to a murmur or an unpleasant twang you can never quite wash off. Some seem to attack with what feels like an icepick in the eye. Others smell nice for an hour in the middle but boring at start and finish. Some veer uncomfortably sweet, and some fall to pieces, with various parts hanging there in the air but not really cooperating in any useful way. Some never get around to being much of anything at all. The way you can love a person for one quality despite myriad faults, you can sometimes love a perfume for one particular moment or effect, even if the rest is trash. Yet in the thousands of perfumes that exist, some express their ideas seamlessly and eloquently from top to bottom and give a beautiful view from any angle. A rare subset of them always seem to have something new and interesting to say, even if you encounter them daily. Those are the greats. By these criteria, one can certainly admire a perfume without necessarily loving it. Love, of course, is personal (but best when deserved).
Tania Sanchez (Perfumes: The Guide)
unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair
When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you gave him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in a bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
One day about a month ago, I really hit bottom. You know, I just felt that in a Godless universe, I didn't want to go on living. Now I happen to own this rifle, which I loaded, believe it or not, and pressed it to my forehead. And I remember thinking, at the time, I'm gonna kill myself. Then I thought, what if I'm wrong? What if there is a God? I mean, after all, nobody really knows that. But then I thought, no, you know, maybe is not good enough. I want certainty or nothing. And I remember very clearly, the clock was ticking, and I was sitting there frozen with the gun to my head, debating whether to shoot.
[The gun fires accidentally, shattering a mirror] All of a sudden, the gun went off. I had been so tense my finger had squeezed the trigger inadvertently. But I was perspiring so much the gun had slid off my forehead and missed me. And suddenly neighbors were, were pounding on the door, and, and I don't know, the whole scene was just pandemonium. And, uh, you know, I-I-I ran to the door, I-I didn't know what to say. You know, I was-I was embarrassed and confused and my-my-my mind was r-r-racing a mile a minute. And I-I just knew one thing.
I-I-I had to get out of that house, I had to just get out in the fresh air and-and clear my head. And I remember very clearly, I walked the streets. I walked and I walked. I-I didn't know what was going through my mind. It all seemed so violent and un-unreal to me. And I wandered for a long time on the Upper West Side, you know, and-and it must have been hours. You know, my-my feet hurt, my head was-was pounding, and-and I had to sit down. I went into a movie house. I-I didn't know what was playing or anything.
I just, I just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and, and be logical and put the world back into rational perspective. And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and, you know, the movie was a-a-a film that I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and-and I always, uh, loved it. And, you know, I'm-I'm watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film, you know. And I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself. I mean isn't it so stupid? I mean, l-look at all the people up there on the screen. You know, they're real funny, and-and what if the worst is true.
What if there's no God, and you only go around once and that's it. Well, you know, don't you want to be part of the experience? You know, what the hell, it's-it's not all a drag. And I'm thinkin' to myself, geez, I should stop ruining my life - searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And, you know, after, who knows? I mean, you know, maybe there is something. Nobody really knows. I know, I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have. And then, I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.
Looking up, she watched the balloons dance at the tops of their strings. Hanging by a ribbon at the end was a little white card.
She wouldn't even open it, she told herself.She knew who they were from anyway. Who else? No,she wasn't going to open it.In fact,she was going to find a pin and pop every last balloon. What were they but a bunch of hot air? It was ridiculous.To prove a point, Shelby let the strings go so the balloons drifted up to the ceiling. If he thought he was going to win her over with silly presents and clever little notes...he was absolutely right, dammit.
Shelby jumped up, swearing when she missed the strings by inches.Hauling over a chair,she climbed into it and grabbed the card.
The yellow's for sunshine, the pink's for spring.Share them with me.
"You drive me crazy," she muttered, standing in the chair with the balloons in one hand and the card in the other. How did he know,how could he know just the sort of thing that would get to her? Strawberries and pigs and balloons-it was hopeless. Shelby stared up at them, wishing she didn't need to smile.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
When he went out it was freezing, and a pale winter sun was rising over Paris.
No thought of escape had as yet crossed Monsieur Monde's mind.
As a matter of fact, it started like an attack of flu. In the car he felt a shiver. He was very susceptible to head colds. Some winters they would hang on for weeks, and his pockets would be stuffed with wet handkerchiefs, which mortified him. Moreover, that morning he ached all over, perhaps from having slept in an awkward position, or was it a touch of indigestion due to last night's supper?
'I'm getting flu,' he thought.
Then, just as they were crossing the Grands Boulevards, instead of automatically checking the time on the electric clock as he usually did, he raised his eyes and noticed the pink chimney pots outlined against a pale blue sky where a tiny white cloud was floating.
It reminded him of the sea. The harmony of blue and pink suddenly brought a breath of Mediterranean air to his mind, and he envied people who, at that time of year, lived in the South and wore white flannels.
Georges Simenon (Monsieur Monde Vanishes)
We are poor
plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit: alas for us, if
we get a few pinches that empty us of that windy self-subsistence! The
very capacity for good would go out of us. For, tell the most impassioned
orator, suddenly, that his wig is awry, or his shirt-lap hanging out, and
that he is tickling people by the oddity of his person, instead of
thrilling them by the energy of his periods, and you would infallibly dry
up the spring of his eloquence. That is a deep and wide saying, that no
miracle can be wrought without faith--without the worker's faith in
himself, as well as the recipient's faith in him. And the greater part of
the worker's faith in himself is made up of the faith that others believe
George Eliot (Amos Barton (Hesperus Classics))
My love, why did you leave me on Lexington Avenue in the Ford that had no brakes?
It stalled in the traffic and broke down outside her window. She was writing a letter: I love you very much: Careful Now in capitals.
That was a different letter.
Yes, but I get confused. One day she saw a golden oriel in the orchard. One day she said, Then have your orgy with Blondie, work out your passion on her.
I see it all, the poop of burnished gold. If I got angry and made a scene?
But No. No.
No, I believe you, of course, I believe you for didn't you say I was the one? Yes, you said, Take care of this girl for she is what makes my blood circulate and all the stars revolve and the seasons return.
This was my dream, and why I had circles under my eyes this morning at breakfast. Everyone noticed it, and I think one of them sniggered.
You don't take much interest in politics, do you? You never read the newspapers? I drank my coffee, but I had a slight feeling of nausea. It's to be expected, I don't mind it at all, it's nothing.
My love, are you feeling better?
He can't talk, he can only mutter.
O my dear, O my dear, drink a little milk, lie down and rest a little. I will comfort you. I can carry love like Saint Christopher. It is heavy, but I can carry it. It's the stones of suspicion I stumble on. Did I say suspicion? No.
No. No. It's nothing. I love you. A slight feeling of nausea, that's all.
After a while I got out into the open air, and his face was the moon hanging in the snowy branches.
Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept)
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling.
Werner’s head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner’s thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home.
Silver and blue, blue and silver.
Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears.
The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.
Werner’s body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed.
“Ernst,” says the man beside him. “Ernst.” But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass.
The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon.
Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater.
“It’s all right,” he told her. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.”
Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat—a more seaworthy one—gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn’t it?
The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass.
Why doesn’t the wind move the light?
Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand.
“Stop,” he calls.
“Halt,” he calls.
But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
This is the way the universe begins. A raindrop (that isn’t really a raindrop) drops, like a word, “rain” drops, into a pool (that isn’t really a pool, more like a pool of listening minds), and tiny waves circle out in an elegant decelerating procession, -cession, -cession. Then, after a time, the pool of listening minds grows still once more.
Now, but backwards, this is the way the universe begins: the still pool of listening minds, the sudden shrinking circles dissolving at the center, conserving at the center until boom, sloop!, up goes the droplet, up towards the voice that raindrops words, up towards the voice and it hangs in the air — remember it there — because that’s the way the universe begins. A little pavilion. A momentary sphere. A word made of stars, dancing.
Craig Wright (The Pavilion - Acting Edition)
He [Pat] pushed a little wheat onto the edge of the shovel, then swung the thing around with such sudden force that the wheat might have actually made it onto the truck, if only he hadn't let go of the shovel. But he did let go of it, and it went sailing through the air like a silver spaceship until my forehead stopped it.
"You've killed me!" I cried. I slipped down onto the pile of wheat, blinking wildly and clutching at my wounded forehead.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" he shouted.
I felt quite numb all over, as if I weren't really there.
"I see three angels with golden trumpets," I informed him.
At this point he began to blubber.
"Don't die!" he cried.
"It's too late. I responded. "You've killed me, and now I'm going to die.
"They'll probably hang you," I added as an afterthought.
Don Lemna (When the Sergeant Came Marching Home)
The missing remained missing and the portraits couldn't change that. But when Akhmed slid the finished portrait across the desk and the family saw the shape of that beloved nose, the air would flee the room, replaced by the miracle of recognition as mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, and cousin found in that nose the son, brother, nephew, and cousin that had been, would have been, could have been, and they might race after the possibility like cartoon characters dashing off a cliff, held by the certainty of the road until they looked down -- and plummeted is the word used by the youngest brother who, at the age of sixteen, is tired of being the youngest and hopes his older brother will return for many reasons, not least so he will marry and have a child and the youngest brother will no longer be youngest; that youngest brother, the one who has nothing to say about the nose because he remembers his older brother's nose and doesn't need the nose to mean what his parents need it to mean, is the one who six months later would be disappeared in the back of a truck, as his older brother was, who would know the Landfill through his blindfold and gag by the rich scent of clay, as his older brother had known, whose fingers would be wound with the electrical wires that had welded to his older brother's bones, who would stand above a mass grave his brother had dug and would fall in it as his older brother had, though taking six more minutes and four more bullets to die, would be buried an arm's length of dirt above his brother and whose bones would find over time those of his older brother, and so, at that indeterminate point in the future, answer his mother's prayer that her boys find each other, wherever they go; that younger brother would have a smile on his face and the silliest thought in his skull a minute before the first bullet would break it, thinking of how that day six months earlier, when they all went to have his older brother's portrait made, he should have had his made, too, because now his parents would have to make another trip, and he hoped they would, hoped they would because even if he knew his older brother's nose, he hadn't been prepared to see it, and seeing that nose, there, on the page, the density of loss it engendered, the unbelievable ache of loving and not having surrounded him, strong enough to toss him, as his brother had, into the summer lake, but there was nothing but air, and he'd believed that plummet was as close as they would ever come again, and with the first gunshot one brother fell within arms' reach of the other, and with the fifth shot the blindfold dissolved and the light it blocked became forever, and on the kitchen wall of his parents' house his portrait hangs within arm's reach of his older brother's, and his mother spends whole afternoons staring at them, praying that they find each other, wherever they go.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
ent. When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is
on the brow;
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my
land is fair!
entwife. When Spring is come to garth and field, and corn is
in the blade;
When blossom like a shining snow is on the orchard
When shower and Sun upon the Earth with
fragrance fill the air,
I’ll linger here, and will not come, because my land is
ent. When Summer lies upon the world, and in a noon of
Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees
When woodland halls are green and cool, and wind
is in the West,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my
land is best!
entwife. When Summer warms the hanging fruit and burns
the berry brown;
622 the two towers
When straw is gold, and ear is white, and harvest
comes to town;
When honey spills, and apple swells, though wind be
in the West,
I’ll linger here beneath the Sun, because my land is
ent. When Winter comes, the winter wild that hill and
wood shall slay;
When trees shall fall and starless night devour the
When wind is in the deadly East, then in the bitter
I’ll look for thee, and call to thee; I’ll come to thee
entwife. When Winter comes, and singing ends; when
darkness falls at last;
When broken is the barren bough, and light and
I’ll look for thee, and wait for thee, until we meet
Together we will take the road beneath the bitter
both. Together we will take the road that leads into the
And far away will find a land where both our hearts
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
Three blind hummingbirds hang in the air like jewels of iridescent scarlet and cobalt; then, one by one, they fade, all color leeched from them, and fall lifeless into the mists, to be eaten by rats.
Despair feels uncomfortable.
In her world there are so many windows. Each opening shows her an existence that's fallen to her - some only for moments, others for lifetimes. Able at this moment neither to savor them, nor to understand her own disquiet, she stares away from all the windows as she walks. Silent rats run unmindfully over her feet, invisible in the mist.
She misses him.
It is over three hundred years since last she and her brother were alone together. Like a flood, the memories come, and she is drowning in them. Against her will her chest heaves, and she begins to weep: deep, helpless, racking sobs...
Despair places the cold metal barb of her hook onto the surface of her eye. And then she pushes, piercing cornea and lens, and ripping free the aqueous humor and vitreous humor to run like tears down her cheek, into her hand...
The pain distracts her, a little. But still, she remembers...
Neil Gaiman (The Sandman Vol. 7: Brief Lives)
It is the sound of the crowd that can be heard in the second, crescendoing rush of the orchestra that follows the final verse, rising from a hum to a gasp to a shout... fusing at last to a shriek (its similarity to the sound of the crowds at Beatle concerts is surely no accident). The onrushing sound of the orchestra at the end of "A Day in the Life" has transcended more than the conventions of Sgt. Pepper's Band. It is the nightmare resolution of the Beatles' show within a show. It is the sound in the eras of the high-wire artist as the ground rushes up from below. There is a blinding flash of silence, then the stunning impact of a tremendous E major piano chord that hangs in the air for a small eternity, slowly fading away, a forty-second meditation on finality that leaves each member if the audience listening with a new kind of attention and awareness to the sound of nothing at all.
Jonathan Gould (Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America)
I hurled myself under the covers, naked and half wet, grabbing my phone on the way. - don't come nevermind - I heard a phone dine from the living room and, soon after, a voice so close it shocked me. "Too late," Jonathan said. "Your front door was open." -go away - a blast of cold air hit me as the covers were moved, and in the next breath, I caught his new scent. He pulled the covers over us just as his phone dinged. He pressed his front to my back, spooning me, this clothes taking on the dampness I hadn't gotten around to toweling off. "I'm sorry Monica. He put his face in my wet hair and draped his arm around me. "Ah. What's this text I have here? It says go away." I sniffled. He slid his arm under my neck and held the phone in front of our faces with both hands. His breath tickled my ear. "Let me text back. Hang on." -I'd rather be here for you - I waited for it to appear on my phone. He nuzzled into the hair pooling at the back of my neck as i typed back. - And then what? - His fingers flew across the glass. - And let's talk about the rest later. Today, you are the goddess my universe revolves around. -
C.D. Reiss (Submit (Songs of Submission, #3))
There is nothing quite as painful as a truly awkward silence. If you have fallen in love and you tell the object of your affection how you feel and she simply stares at you, the air still and empty, that's awkward. Perhaps you finally get up the nerve to ask your boss for a raise and after you master the courage to blurt out your request he lets it hang there in the open air. This can be an awkward silence as well. But for some reason both these examples pale in comparison to the kind of uncomfortable silence a person might experience when trapped in the stomach of a colossal snake, miles under ground, where there is nothing but total darkness and the sound of your own self taking your final hot breathes of musty, stale air, after you've just heard the news that the one person who you believe could save you just because he is so big and powerful is hiding out in the pocket of a friend as a . . . toothpick
Obert Skye (Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, #1))
This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in--an interesting hole I find myself in--fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch-out for. We all know that at some point in the future the universe will come to an end, and at some other point, considerably in advance from that but still not immediately pressing, the sun will explode. We feel there's plenty of time to worry about that, but on the other hand that's a very dangerous thing to say... I think that we need to take a larger perspective on who we are and what we are doing here if we are going to survive in the long term.
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
Four a.m. work duty and I begin
my solitary trudge from outer compound
to main building. A shivering guard,
chilled in his lonely outpost, strip searches
me until content that my inconsequential nudity.
poses no threat and then whispers
the secret code that allows me admittance
into the open quarter-mile walkway.
I chuff my way into another day
as ice glints on the razor wire
and the rifles note my numbed passage,
silent but for my huffs and scuffle
on the cracked, slippery sidewalk
A new moon, veiled in wispy fog
and beringed in glory, hangs over the prison,
its gaudy glow taunting the halogen spotlights.
The moon’s creamy pull upsets
some liquid equilibrium within me
and like tides, wolves and all manner
of madmen, I surrender disturbed by the certainty that under
the bony luminescence of a grinning moon
The lunar deliriums grip me
and I howl--once, then again, and
surely somewhere an unbound sleeper stirs,
penitence is dying a giddy death.
I shake myself sane
and as the echoes hang
in the frigid air I explain
to the wild-eyed guard that convicts,
like all animals under the leash,
must bay at the beauty beyond them.
Jorge Antonio Renaud
O where are you going with your love-locks flowing
On the west wind bellowing along this valley track?”
“The downhill path is easy, come with me an it please ye,
We shall escape the uphill by never turning back.”
So they two went together in glowing August weather,
The honey-breathing heather lay to their left and right;
And dear she was to doat on, her swift feet seemed to float on
The air like soft twin pigeons too sportive to alight.
“Oh, what is that in heaven where grey cloud-flakes are seven,
Where blackest clouds hang riven just at the rainy skirt?”
“Oh, that’s a meteor sent us, a message dumb, portentous,
An undeciphered solemn signal of help or hurt>”
“Oh, what is that glides quickly where velvet flowers grow thickly,
Their scent comes rich and sickly?” “A scaled and hooded worm.”
”Oh, what’s that in the hollow, so pale I quake to follow?”
“Oh, that’s a thin dead body which waits the eternal term.”
“Turn again, O my sweetest,--turn again, false and fleetest:
This beaten way thou beatest, I fear is hell’s own track.”
“Nay, too steep for hill mounting; nay, too late for cost counting:
This downhill path is easy, but there’s no turning back.
Christina Rossetti (Goblin Market, the Prince's Progress and Other Poems)
A Draft of Shadows'
desire turns us into ghosts.
We are vines of air on trees of wind,
a cape of flames
invented and devoured by flame.
The crack in the tree trunk:
sex, seal, serpentine passage
closed to the sun and to my eyes,
open to the ants.
That crack was the portico
of the furthest reaches of the seen and thought:
—there, inside, tides are green,
blood is green, fire green,
green stars burn in the black grass:
the green music of elytra
in the fig tree's pristine night;
—there, inside, fingertips are eyes,
to touch is to see, glances touch,
eyes hear smells;
—there, inside is outside,
it is everywhere and nowhere,
things are themselves and others,
imprisoned in an icosahedron
there is a music weaver beetle
and another insect unweaving
the syllogisms the spider weaves,
hanging from the threads of the moon;
—there, inside, space
is an open hand, a mind
that thinks shapes, not ideas,
shapes that breathe, walk, speak, transform
and silently evaporate;
—there, inside, land of woven echoes,
a slow cascade of light drops
between the lips of the crannies:
light is water; water, diaphanous time
where eyes wash their images;
—there, inside, cables of desire
Octavio Paz (A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems)
But it was no good trying to tell about the beauty. It was just that life was beautiful beyond belief, and that is a kind of joy which has to be lived.
Sometimes, when they came down from the cirrus levels to catch a better wind, they would find themselves among the flocks of cumulus: huge towers of modeled vapor, looking as white as Monday's washing d as solid as meringues. Perhaps one of these piled-up blossoms of the sky, these snow-white droppings of a gigantic Pegasus, would lie before them several miles away. They would set their course toward it, seeing it grow bigger silently and imperceptibly, a motionless growth; and then, when they were at it, when they were about to bang their noses with a shock against its seeming solid mass, the sun would dim. Wraiths of mist suddenly moving like serpents of the air would coil about them for a second. Grey damp would be around them, and the sun, a copper penny, would fade away. The wings next to their own wings would shade into vacancy, until each bird was a lonely sound in cold annihilation, a presence after uncreation. And there they would hang in chartless nothing, seemingly without speed or left or right or top or bottom, until as suddenly as ever the copper penny glowed and the serpents writhed. Then, in a moment of time, they would be in the jeweled world once more: a sea under them like turquoise and all the gorgeous palaces of heaven new created, with the dew of Eden not yet dry.
T.H. White (The Once & Future King)
The Loneliness of the Military Historian
Confess: it's my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary.
I wear dresses of sensible cut
and unalarming shades of beige,
I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's:
no prophetess mane of mine,
complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.
If I roll my eyes and mutter,
if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror
like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,
I do it in private and nobody sees
but the bathroom mirror.
In general I might agree with you:
women should not contemplate war,
should not weigh tactics impartially,
or evade the word enemy,
or view both sides and denounce nothing.
Women should march for peace,
or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,
spit themselves on bayonets
to protect their babies,
whose skulls will be split anyway,
or,having been raped repeatedly,
hang themselves with their own hair.
There are the functions that inspire general comfort.
That, and the knitting of socks for the troops
and a sort of moral cheerleading.
Also: mourning the dead.
Sons,lovers and so forth.
All the killed children.
Instead of this, I tell
what I hope will pass as truth.
A blunt thing, not lovely.
The truth is seldom welcome,
especially at dinner,
though I am good at what I do.
My trade is courage and atrocities.
I look at them and do not condemn.
I write things down the way they happened,
as near as can be remembered.
I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same.
Wars happen because the ones who start them
think they can win.
In my dreams there is glamour.
The Vikings leave their fields
each year for a few months of killing and plunder,
much as the boys go hunting.
In real life they were farmers.
The come back loaded with splendour.
The Arabs ride against Crusaders
with scimitars that could sever
silk in the air.
A swift cut to the horse's neck
and a hunk of armour crashes down
like a tower. Fire against metal.
A poet might say: romance against banality.
When awake, I know better.
Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
or none that could be finally buried.
Finish one off, and circumstances
and the radio create another.
Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
to God all night and meant it,
and been slaughtered anyway.
Brutality wins frequently,
and large outcomes have turned on the invention
of a mechanical device, viz. radar.
True, valour sometimes counts for something,
as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right -
though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,
is decided by the winner.
Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades
and burst like paper bags of guts
to save their comrades.
I can admire that.
But rats and cholera have won many wars.
Those, and potatoes,
or the absence of them.
It's no use pinning all those medals
across the chests of the dead.
Impressive, but I know too much.
Grand exploits merely depress me.
In the interests of research
I have walked on many battlefields
that once were liquid with pulped
men's bodies and spangled with exploded
shells and splayed bone.
All of them have been green again
by the time I got there.
Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.
Sad marble angels brood like hens
over the grassy nests where nothing hatches.
(The angels could just as well be described as vulgar
or pitiless, depending on camera angle.)
The word glory figures a lot on gateways.
Of course I pick a flower or two
from each, and press it in the hotel Bible
for a souvenir.
I'm just as human as you.
But it's no use asking me for a final statement.
As I say, I deal in tactics.
for every year of peace there have been four hundred
years of war.
Margaret Atwood (Morning In The Burned House)
Then Jip went up to the front of the ship and smelt the wind; and he started muttering to himself,
"Tar; Spanish onions; kerosene oil; wet raincoats; crushed laurel-leaves; rubber burning; lace-curtains being washed--No, my mistake, lace-curtains hanging out to dry; and foxes--hundreds of 'em--cubs; and--"
"Can you really smell all those different things in this one wind?" asked the Doctor.
"Why, of course!" said Jip. "And those are only a few of the easy smells--the strong ones. Any mongrel could smell those with a cold in the head. Wait now, and I'll tell you some of the harder scents that are coming on this wind--a few of the dainty ones."
Then the dog shut his eyes tight, poked his nose straight up in the air and sniffed hard with his mouth half-open.
For a long time he said nothing. He kept as still as a stone. He hardly seemed to be breathing at all. When at last he began to speak, it sounded almost as though he were singing, sadly, in a dream.
"Bricks," he whispered, very low--"old yellow bricks, crumbling with age in a garden-wall; the sweet breath of young cows standing in a mountain-stream; the lead roof of a dove-cote--or perhaps a
granary--with the mid-day sun on it; black kid gloves lying in a bureau-drawer of walnut-wood; a dusty road with a horses' drinking-trough beneath the sycamores; little mushrooms bursting
through the rotting leaves; and--and--and--"
"Any parsnips?" asked Gub-Gub.
"No," said Jip. "You always think of things to eat. No parsnips whatever.
Hugh Lofting (The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle, #1))
What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this ? Do they somehow suppose
It's more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember
Who called this morning ? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September ?
Or do they fancy there's really been no change,
And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching light move ? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange:
Why aren't they screaming ?
At death, you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It's only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower
Of being here. Next time you can't pretend
There'll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they're for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines-
How can they ignore it ?
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can't quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a Iamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun' s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give
An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction' s alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet.
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end ? Not at night?
Not when the strangers come ? Never, throughout
The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.
- The Old Fools
The travelers emerged into a spacious square. In the middle of this square were several dozen people on a wooden bandstand like in a public park. They were the members of a band, each of them as different from one another as their instruments. Some of them looked round at the approaching column. Then a grey-haired man in a colorful cloak called out and they reached for their instruments. There was a burst of something like cheeky, timid bird-song and the air – air that had been torn apart by the barbed wire and the howl of sirens, that stank of oily fumes and garbage – was filled with music. It was like a warm summer cloud-burst ignited by the sun, flashing as it crashed down to earth.
People in camps, people in prisons, people who have escaped from prison, people going to their death, know the extraordinary power of music. No one else can experience music in quite the same way.
What music resurrects in the soul of a man about to die is neither hope nor thought, but simply the blind, heart-breaking miracle of life itself. A sob passed down the column. Everything seemed transformed, everything had come together; everything scattered and fragmented -home, peace, the journey, the rumble of wheels, thirst, terror, the city rising out of the mist, the wan red dawn – fused together, not into a memory or a picture but into the blind, fierce ache of life itself. Here, in the glow of the gas ovens, people knew that life was more than happiness – it was also grief. And freedom was both painful and difficult; it was life itself.
Music had the power to express the last turmoil of a soul in whose blind depths every experience, every moment of joy and grief, had fused with this misty morning, this glow hanging over their heads. Or perhaps it wasn't like that at all. Perhaps music was just the key to a man's feelings, not what filled him at this terrible moment, but the key that unlocked his innermost core.
In the same way, a child's song can appear to make an old man cry. But it isn't the song itself he cries over; the song is simply a key to something in his soul.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
By the way, a Bulgarian I met lately in Moscow," Ivan went on, seeming not to hear his brother's words, "told me about the crimes committed by Turks and Circassians in all parts of Bulgaria through fear of a general rising of the Slavs. They burn villages, murder, outrage women and children, they nail their prisoners by the ears to the fences, leave them so till morning, and in the morning they hang them- all sorts of things you can't imagine. People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that's a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel. The tiger only tears and gnaws, that's all he can do. He would never think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it.
These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children, -too; cutting the unborn child from the mothers womb, and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their mothers' eyes. Doing it before the mothers' eyes was what gave zest to the amusement. Here is another scene that I thought very interesting. Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a circle of invading Turks around her. They've planned a diversion: they pet the baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs. At that moment a Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby's face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby's face and blows out its brains. Artistic, wasn't it? By the way, Turks are particularly fond of sweet things, they say.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Want to know the coolest thing about the coming? Not that the One who played marbles with the stars gave it up to play marbles with marbles. Or that the One who hung the galaxies gave it up to hang doorjambs to the displeasure of a cranky client who wanted everything yesterday but couldn't pay until tomorrow.
Not that he, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food, a tub of hot water and salts for his tired feet, and, more than anything, needing somebody - anybody - who was more concerned about where he would spend eternity rather than where he would spend Friday's paycheck.
Or that he resisted the urge to fry the two=bit, self-appointed hall monitors of holiness who dared suggest that he was doing the work of the devil.
Not that he kept his cool while the dozen best friends he ever had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. Or that he gave no command to the angels who begged, "Just give us the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs."
Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin of every slut and sailor since Adam. Or that he stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner's night.
Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer - "Is that your best punch?"
That was cool, incredibly cool.
But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?
He did it for you. Just for you.
Max Lucado (He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart)
Later, I interviewed a prominent psychoanalyst, who told me that trauma destroys the fabric of time. In normal time, you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy, or bouncing about like a rubber ball from now to then and back again. August is June, June is December. What time is it? Guess again. In the traumatic universe, the basic laws of matter are suspended: ceiling fans can be helicopters, car exhaust can be mustard gas. Another odd feature of traumatic time is that it doesn’t just destroy the flow of the present into the future, it corrodes everything that came before, eating at moments and people from your previous life, until you can’t remember why any of them mattered. What I previously found inconceivable is now inescapable: I have been blown up so many times in my mind that it is impossible to imagine a version of myself that has not been blown up. The man on the other side of the soldier’s question is not me. In fact, he never existed. The war is gone now, but the event remains, the happening that nearly erased the life to come and thus erased the life that came before. The soldier’s question hangs in the air the way it always has. The way it always will. Have you ever been blown up before, sir?
David J. Morris (The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
The imaginable had always been problematic. When I was a child the feel of things went into me: deep, narrow, intense. The grittiness of the street, the chalk-white air of the drugstore, the grain of the wooden floor in the storefront library, the blocks of cheese in the grocery-store refrigerator. I took it all so seriously, so literally. I was without imagination. I paid a kind of idiot attention to the look and feel of things, leveling an intent inner stare at the prototypic face of the world. These streets were all streets, these buildings all buildings, these women and men all women and men. I could imagine no other than that which stood before me. That child’s literalness of the emotions continued to exert influence, as though a shock had been administered to the nervous system and the flow of imagination had stopped. I could feel strongly, but I could not imagine. The granite gray of the street, the American-cheese yellow of the grocery store, the melancholy brownish tint of the buildings were all still in place, only now it was the woman on the couch, the girl hanging out the window, the confinement that sealed us off, on which I looked with that same inner intentness that had always crowded out possibility as well as uncertainty. It would be years before I learned that extraordinary focus, that excluding insistence, is also called depression.
Vivian Gornick (Fierce Attachments)
He does not know what caused him to break off from Weston and walk out. Perhaps it was when the boy said 'forty-five or fifty'. As if, past mid-life, there is a second childhood, a new phase of innocence. It touched him, perhaps, the simplicity of it. Or perhaps he just needed air. Let us say you are in a chamber, the windows sealed, you are conscious of the proximity of other bodies, of the declining light. In the room you put cases, you play games, you move your personnel around each other: notional bodies, hard as ivory, black as ebony, pushed on their paths across the squares. Then you say, I can't endure this any more, I must breathe: you burst out of the room amd into a wild garden where the guilty are hanging from trees, no longer ivory, no longer ebony, but flesh; and their wild lamenting tongues proclaim their guilt as they die. In this matter, cause has preceded effect. What you dreamed has enacted itself. You reach for a blade but the blood is already shed. The lambs have butchered and eaten themselves. They have brought knives to the table, carved themselves, and picked their own bones clean.
Hilary Mantel (Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2))
At first she did nothing, waiting for her husband to wake, which he did not, because that wasn’t a thing he ever did. She waited longer than she usually did, waited and waited, the boy wailing while she lay as still as a corpse, patiently waiting for the day when her corpse self would miraculously be reanimated and taken into the Kingdom of the Chosen, where it would create an astonishing art installation composed of many aesthetically interesting beds. The corpse would have unlimited child-care and be able to hang out and go to show openings and drink corpse wine with the other corpses whenever it wanted, because that was heaven. That was it. She lay there as long as she could without making a sound, a movement. Her child’s screams fanned a flame of rage that flickered in her chest. That single, white-hot light at the center of the darkness of herself—that was the point of origin from which she birthed something new, from which all women do. You light a fire early in your girlhood. You stoke it and tend it. You protect it at all costs. You don’t let it rage into a mountain of light, because that’s not becoming of a girl. You keep it secret. You let it burn. You look into the eyes of other girls and see their fires flickering there, offer conspiratorial nods, never speak aloud of a near-unbearable heat, a growing conflagration. You tend the flame because if you don’t you’re stuck, in the cold, on your own, doomed to seasonal layers, doomed to practicality, doomed to this is just the way things are, doomed to settling and understanding and reasoning and agreeing and seeing it another way and seeing it his way and seeing it from all the other ways but your own. And upon hearing the boy’s scream, the particular pitch and slice, she saw the flame behind her closed eyes. For a moment, it quivered on unseen air, then, at once, lengthened and thinned, paused, and dropped with a whump into her chest, then deeper into her belly, setting her aflame
Rachel Yoder (Nightbitch)
And so I make my way across the room steadily, carefully. Hands shaking, I pull the string, lifting my blinds. They rise slowly, drawing more moonlight into the room with every inch
And there he is, crouched low on the roof. Same leather jacket. The hair is his, the cheekbones, the perfect nose . . . the eyes: dark and mysterious . . . full of secrets. . . . My heart flutters, body light. I reach out to touch him, thinking he might disappear, my fingers disrupted by the windowpane.
On the other side, Parker lifts his hand and mouths:
I mouth “Hi” back.
He holds up a single finger, signalling me to hold on. He picks up a spiral-bound notebook and flips open the cover, turning the first page to me. I recognize his neat, block print instantly: bold, black Sharpie. I know this is unexpected . . . , I read. He flips the page.
. . . and strange . . .
I lift an eyebrow.
. . . but please hear read me out.
He flips to the next page.
I know I told you I never lied . . .
. . . but that was (obviously) the biggest lie of all. The truth is: I’m a liar.
I lied to myself . . .
. . . and to you.
Parker watches as I read. Our eyes meet, and he flips the page.
But only because I had to.
I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you, Jaden . . .
. . . but it happened anyway.
I clear my throat, and swallow hard, but it’s squeezed shut again, tight.
And it gets worse.
Not only am I a liar . . .
Selfish enough to want it all.
And I know if I don’t have you . . .
I hold my breath, waiting.
. . . I don’t have anything.
He turns another page, and I read:
I’m not Parker . . .
. . . and I’m not going to give up . . .
. . . until I can prove to you . . .
. . . that you are the only thing that matters. He flips to the next page.
So keep sending me away . . .
. . . but I’ll just keep coming back to you. Again . . .
He flips to the next page.
. . . and again . . .
And the next:
. . . and again.
Goose bumps rise to the surface of my skin. I shiver, hugging myself tightly.
And if you can ever find it in your (heart) to forgive me . . .
There’s a big, black “heart” symbol where the word should be.
I will do everything it takes to make it up to you. He closes the notebook and tosses it beside him. It lands on the roof with a dull thwack. Then, lifting his index finger, he draws an X across his chest. Cross my heart.
I stifle the happy laugh welling inside, hiding the smile as I reach for the metal latch to unlock my window. I slowly, carefully, raise the sash. A burst of fresh honeysuckles saturates the balmy, midnight air, sickeningly sweet, filling the room. I close my eyes, breathing it in, as a thousand sleepless nights melt, slipping away. I gather the lavender satin of my dress in my hand, climb through the open window, and stand tall on the roof, feeling the height, the warmth of the shingles beneath my bare feet, facing Parker. He touches the length of the scar on my forehead with his cool finger, tucks my hair behind my ear, traces the edge of my face with the back of his hand. My eyes close.
“You know you’re beautiful? Even when you cry?”
He smiles, holding my face in his hands, smearing the tears away with his thumbs.
I breathe in, lungs shuddering.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, black eyes sincere. I swallow. “I know why you had to.”
“Doesn’t make it right.”
“Doesn’t matter anymore,” I say, shaking my head. The moon hangs suspended in the sky, stars twinkling overhead, as he leans down and kisses me softly, lips meeting mine, familiar—lips I imagined, dreamed about, memorized a mil ion hours ago. Then he wraps his arms around me, pulling me into him, quelling every doubt and fear and uncertainty in this one, perfect moment.
Katie Klein (Cross My Heart (Cross My Heart, #1))
Lilichka! (Instead of a letter)"
Tobacco smoke eats the air away.
a chapter from Kruchenykh's Inferno.
by the window,
I caressed you ecstatically, with fervor.
Here you sit now,
with your heart in iron armor.
In a day,
you'll scold me perhaps
and tell me to leave.
Frenzied, the trembling arm in the gloomy parlor
will hardly be able to fit the sleeve.
I'll rush out
and hurl my body into the street,--
lashed by despair
There's no need for this,
Let's part tonight and end this madness.
my love is
an arduous weight,
hanging on you
wherever you flee.
Let me bellow out in the final complaint
all of my heartbroken misery.
A laboring bull, if he had enough,
and find cool water to lie in.
But for me,
there's no sea
except for your love,--
from which even tears won't earn me some quiet.
If an elephant wants to relax, he'll lie,
pompous, outside in the sun-baked dune,
Except for your love,
there's no sun
in the sky
and I don't even know where you are and with whom.
If you thus tormented another poet,
would trade in his love for money and fame.
nothing sounds as precious to me
as the ringing sound of your darling name.
I won't drink poison,
or jump to demise,
or pull the trigger to take my own life.
Except for your eyes,
no blade can control me,
no sharpened knife.
Tomorrow you'll forget
that it was I who crowned you,
who burned out the blossoming soul with love
and the days will form a whirling carnival
that will ruffle my manuscripts and lift them above...
Will the dry autumn leaves of my sentences
cause you to pause,
pave a path with the final tenderness
for your footsteps as you depart.
Vladimir Mayakovsky (Backbone Flute: Selected Poetry)
E L James, Party Games
you’re looking kind of smug
inserting that god damn anal plug
giving me your kinky love
after writing Fifty Shades
you’re acting like some kind of renegade
giving me your kinky love
sit me on a dildo and spin me right around
chain me up and hang me upside down
giving me your kinky love
god damn you E L James
making me into some kind of party game
giving me your kinky love
put me in a dream
and wheel in the Fucking Machine
god damn you E L James
spank a hand on my bum
see how much I can cum
god damn you E L James
stand me up and sit me down
lay me out and roll me about
god damn you E L James
electro impulses up my brainstem
god damn you E L James
cast me in a submissive role-play
with my genitals on display
god damn you E L James
suspend me high in the air
slap me around like I don’t care
god damn you E L James
take that whip off the shelf
make me forget myself
god damn you E L James
Why are you wearing oven mittens?
branding iron your name written
inner goddess don’t keep in hidden
god damn you E L James
my mind has snapped
to forget one thing that I have heard
I’m never going to use the safe-word
god damn you E L James
Here, let me do it,” Peter says, coming up close behind me.
I jerk away from him. “No no, I’ll do it,” I say, and he shakes his head and tries to take the measuring cup from me, but I won’t let go, and flour poufs out of the cup and into the air. It dusts us both. Peter starts cracking up and I let out an outraged shriek. “Peter!”
He’s laughing too hard to speak.
I cross my arms. “I’d better still have enough flour.”
“You look like a grandma,” he says, still laughing.
“Well, you look like a grandpa,” I counter. I dump the flour in my mixing bowl back into the flour canister.
“Actually, you’re really a lot like my granny,” Peter says. “You hate cussing. You like to bake. You stay at home on Friday nights. Wow, I’m dating my granny. Gross.”
I start measuring again. One, two. “I don’t stay home every Friday night.” Three.
“I’ve never seen you out. You don’t go to parties. We used to hang out back in the day. Why’d you stop hanging out?”
Four. “I…I don’t know. Middle school was different.” What does he want me to say? That Genevieve decided I wasn’t cool enough so I got left behind? Why is he so clueless?
“I always wondered why you stopped hanging out with us.”
Was I on five or six? “Peter! You made me lose my count again!”
“I have that effect on women.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
Furthermore, Professor Uzzi-Tuzii had begun his oral translation as if he were not quite sure he could make the words hang together, going back over every sentence to iron out the syntactical creases, manipulating the phrases until they were not completely rumpled, smoothing them, clipping them, stopping at every word to illustrate its idiomatic uses and its commutations, accompanying himself with inclusive gestures as if inviting you to be content with approximate equivalents, breaking off to state grammatical rules, etymological derivations, quoting the classics. but just when you are convinced that for the professor philology and erudition mean more than what the story is telling, you realize the opposite is true: that academic envelope serves only to protect everything the story says and does not say, an inner afflatus always on the verge of being dispersed at contact with the air, the echo of a vanished knowledge revealed in the penumbra and in tacit allusions.
Torn between the necessity to interject glosses on multiple meanings of the text and the awareness that all interpretation is a use of violence and caprice against a text, the professor, when faced by the most complicated passages, could find no better way of aiding comprehension than to read them in the original, The pronunciation of that unknown language, deduced from theoretical rules, not transmitted by the hearing of voices with their individual accents, not marked by the traces of use that shapes and transforms, acquired the absoluteness of sounds that expect no reply, like the song of the last bird of an extinct species or the strident roar of a just-invented jet plane that shatters the sky on its first test flight.
Then, little by little, something started moving and flowing between the sentences of this distraught recitation,. The prose of the novel had got the better of the uncertainties of the voice; it had become fluent, transparent, continuous; Uzzi-Tuzii swam in it like a fish, accompanying himself with gestures (he held his hands open like flippers), with the movement of his lips (which allowed the words to emerge like little air bubbles), with his gaze (his eyes scoured the page like a fish's eyes scouring the seabed, but also like the eyes of an aquarium visitor as he follows a fish's movement's in an illuminated tank).
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
I am constantly mystified by what John ends up remembering… I just don’t understand why he’s able to hang on to information like that, while so many other more important memories evaporate.
Then again, I suppose so much of what stays with us is often insignificant. The memories we take to the ends of our lives have no real rhyme or reason, especially when you think of the endless things that you do over the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. All the cups of coffee, hand-washings, changes of clothes, lunches, goings to the bathroom, headaches, naps, walks to school, trips to the grocery store, conversations about the weather—all the things so unimportant they should be immediately forgotten.
Yet they aren’t. I often think of the Chinese red bathrobe I had when I was twenty-seven years old; the sound of our first cat Charlie’s feet on the linoleum of our old house; the hot rarefied air around aluminum pot the moment before the kernels of popcorn burst open. I think of these things as often as I think about getting married or giving birth or the end of the Second World War.
What is truly amazing is that before you know it, sixty years go by and you can remember maybe eight or nine important events, along with a thousand meaningless ones. How can that be?
You want to think there’s a pattern to it all because it makes you feel better, gives you some sense of a reason why we’re here, but there really isn’t any. People look for God in these patterns, these reasons, but only because they don’t know where else to look.
Things happen to us: some of it important, most of it not, and a little of it stays with us till the end. What stays after that? I’ll be damned if I know.
Michael Zadoorian (The Leisure Seeker)
Few things are harder to visualise than that a cold snowbound landscape, so marrow-chillingly quiet and lifeless, will, within mere months, be green and lush and warm, quivering with all manner of life, from birds warbling and flying through the trees to swarms of insects hanging in scattered clusters in the air. Nothing in the winter landscape presages the scent of sun-warmed heather and moss, trees bursting with sap and thawed lakes ready for spring and summer, nothing presages the feeling of freedom that can come over you when the only white that can be seen is the clouds gliding across the blue sky above the blue water of the rivers gently flowing down to the sea, the perfect, smooth, cool surface, broken now and then by rocks, rapids and bathing bodies. It is not there, it does not exist, everything is white and still, and if the silence is broken it is by a cold wind or a lone crow caw-cawing. But it is coming ... it is coming... One evening in March the snow turns to rain, and the piles of snow collapse. One morning in April there are buds on the trees, and there is a trace of green in the yellow grass. Daffodils appear, white and blue anemones too. Then the warm air stands like a pillar among the trees on the slopes. On sunny inclines buds have burst, here and there cherry trees are in blossom. If you are sixteen years old all of this makes an impression, all of this leaves its mark, for this is the first spring you know is spring, with all your sense you know this is spring, and it is the last, for all coming springs pale in comparison with your first. If, moreover, you are in love, well, then ... then it is merely a question of holding on. Holding on to all the happiness, all the beauty, all the future that resides in everything.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 2 (Min kamp #2))
A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil
When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze
When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse
When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets
Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
Maya Angelou (A Brave and Startling Truth)
How happily we explored our shiny new world! We lived like characters from the great books I curled up with in the big Draylon armchair. Like Jack Kerouak, like Gatsby, we created ourselves as we went along, a raggle-taggle of gypsies in old army overcoats and bell-bottoms, straggling through the fields that surrounded our granite farmhouse in search of firewood, which we dragged home and stacked in the living room. Ignorant and innocent, we acted as if the world belonged to us, as though we would ever have taken the time to hang the regency wallpaper we damaged so casually with half-rotten firewood, or would have known how to hang it straight, or smooth the seams. We broke logs against the massive tiled hearth and piled them against the sooty fire back, like the logs were tradition and we were burning it, like chimney fires could never happen, like the house didn't really belong to the poor divorcee who paid the rates and mortgage even as we sat around the flames like hunter gatherers, smoking Lebanese gold, chanting and playing the drums, dancing to the tortured music of Luke's guitar. Impelled by the rhythm, fortified by poorly digested scraps of Lao Tzu, we got up to dance, regardless of the coffee we knocked over onto the shag carpet. We sopped it up carelessly, or let it sit there as it would; later was time enough. We were committed to the moment.
Everything was easy and beautiful if you looked at it right. If someone was angry, we walked down the other side of the street, sorry and amused at their loss of cool. We avoided newspapers and television. They were full of lies, and we knew all the stuff we needed. We spent our government grants on books, dope, acid, jug wine, and cheap food from the supermarket--variegated cheese scraps bundled roughly together, white cabbage and bacon ends, dented tins of tomatoes from the bargain bin. Everything was beautiful, the stars and the sunsets, the mold that someone discovered at the back of the fridge, the cows in the fields that kicked their giddy heels up in the air and fled as we ranged through the Yorkshire woods decked in daisy chains, necklaces made of melon seeds and tie-dye T-shirts whose colors stained the bath tub forever--an eternal reminder of the rainbow generation. [81-82]
Claire Robson (Love in Good Time: A Memoir)
The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession.
Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure.
Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk.
Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party.
Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy.
After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars.
Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Have you lost your teeny tiny mind, you too-tall, too-skinny, too-crazy jerk?”
“Oh, look who’s talking, Miss Let’s Blunder Around the Time Stream and Hang the Consequences! Thanks to you, we’ve got a dead Marc and a
live Marc in the same timeline . . . in the same house! Thanks to you, I got chomped on by a dim, blonde, undead, selfish, whorish, blood-sucking
leech when I was minding my own business in the past.”
“Don’t you call me dim!”
“Um. Everyone. Perhaps we should—” Tina began.
“Wait, when did this happen?” Marc asked. He had the look of a man desperately trying to buy a vowel. “Past, an hour ago? Past, last year? Help
“Oh, biiiiig surprise!” Laura threw her (perfectly manicured) hands in the air. “Let me guess, you were soooo busy banging your dead husband
that you haven’t had time to tell anybody anything.”
“I was getting to it,” I whined.
“Then after not telling anyone anything and not being proactive—or even active!—you grow up to destroy the world and bring about eternal
nuclear winter or whatever the heck that was and how do you deal with your foreknowledge of terrible events to come? Have sex!”
“An affirmation of life?” Sinclair suggested. Never, I repeat, never had I loved him more. I was torn between slugging my sister and blowing my
husband. Hmm. Laura might have a point about my priorities . . . but jeez. Look at him. Yum.
“—even do it and what do you have to say for yourself? Huh?”
“You’re just uptight, repressed, smug, antisex, and jealous, you Antichristing morally superior, fundamentally evil bitch.”
Laura and Marc gasped. My husband groaned.
MaryJanice Davidson (Undead and Undermined (Undead, #10))
But where should he begin? - Well, then, the trouble with the English was their:
In a word, Gibreel solemnly pronounced, their weather.
Gibreel Farishta floating on his cloud formed the opinion that the moral fuzziness of the English was meteorologically induced. 'When the day is not warmer than the night,' he reasoned, 'when the light is not brighter than the dark, when the land is not drier than the sea, then clearly a people will lose the power to make distinctions, and commence to see everything - from political parties to sexual partners to religious beliefs - as much-the-same, nothing-to-choose, give-or-take. What folly! For truth is extreme, it is so and not thus, it is him and not her; a partisan matter, not a spectator sport. It is, in brief, heated. City,' he cried, and his voice rolled over the metropolis like thunder, 'I am going to tropicalize you.'
Gibreel enumerated the benefits of the proposed metamorphosis of London into a tropical city: increased moral definition, institution of a national siesta, development of vivid and expansive patterns of behaviour among the populace, higher-quality popular music, new birds in the trees (macaws, peacocks, cockatoos), new trees under the birds (coco-palms, tamarind, banyans with hanging beards). Improved street-life, outrageously coloured flowers (magenta, vermilion, neon-green), spider-monkeys in the oaks. A new mass market for domestic air-conditioning units, ceiling fans, anti-mosquito coils and sprays. A coir and copra industry. Increased appeal of London as a centre for conferences, etc.: better cricketeers; higher emphasis on ball-control among professional footballers, the traditional and soulless English commitment to 'high workrate' having been rendered obsolete by the heat. Religious fervour, political ferment, renewal of interest in the intellegentsia. No more British reserve; hot-water bottles to be banished forever, replaced in the foetid nights by the making of slow and odorous love. Emergence of new social values: friends to commence dropping in on one another without making appointments, closure of old-folks' homes, emphasis on the extended family. Spicier foods; the use of water as well as paper in English toilets; the joy of running fully dressed through the first rains of the monsoon.
Disadvantages: cholera, typhoid, legionnaires' disease, cockroaches, dust, noise, a culture of excess.
Standing upon the horizon, spreading his arms to fill the sky, Gibreel cried: 'Let it be.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
When he got out, I rolled my window down. “You look like you’re going to throw up.”
He grimaced, pressing a hand to his stomach. “I don’t know if it’s from this, or if I actually am sick. I think Avery got sick from the weekend. She was puking this morning when I left.”
“Avery, huh? At your place?”
He rolled his eyes. “Don’t even start.”
“But you see, I have to. I have to start. Avery’s my friend. I’m hanging out with your brother. You and I are classmates. I think we can develop our friendship to the stage where I give you shit. We should even start sitting next to each other in class.”
“Don’t press your luck.”
I kept going, “It’s a natural progression. Don’t fight it, Marcus. It’s like evolution. Don’t fight evolution. You’ll never win. Mother nature is a bitch. She’s always going to win.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“How I get to give you shit. It’s an amazing experience in life, like giving birth. It’s painful for one person, but breathtaking for another. I’m the baby here. I get to feel air for the first time on my skin. Let me breathe, Marcus. Let me put my baby lungs to work and scream.”
“I swear you’re making me even sicker.”
“If you gotta puke, don’t suppress. It’s a natural body process.”
He eyed me a moment. “Did you rhyme that on purpose?”
“Maybe. Or I might be crazy?” I winked. “Or just a classy lady?”
“Stop. I’m really going to puke now.” He groaned, pressing his arm against his forehead. “I was going to tease you back about Caden, but forget it. I don’t think I have the energy to deal with your rhyming.”
“I’ve been told I’m amazing like that.”
“Who told you that?”
“Who hasn’t is the real question.”
“You’re not making sense.”
“I do that too. That’s very true.” I wondered if I should find him a bag, in case he actually was going to upchuck.
The wind rose, whipping at Gregori's solid form, lashing his body,ripping at the waves of black hair so that it streamed around his face. His expression was impassive, the pale silver eyes cold and merciless, unblinking and fixed on his prey. The attack came from sky and ground simultaneously; slivers of sharpened wood shot through the air on the wild winds,aimed directly at Gregori. The wolves leapt for him,eyes glowing hotly in the night. The army of the dead moved relentlessly forward, pressing toward Gregori's lone figure.
His hands moved, a complicated pattern drected at the approaching army;then he was whirling, a flowing wind of motion beautiful to the eye,so fast that he blurred. Yelps and howls accompanied bodies flying through the air. Wolves landed to lie motionless at his feet. His expression never changed. There was no hint of anger or emotion,no sign of fear,no break in concentration. He simply acted as the need arose. The skeletons were mowed down by a wall of flame, an orange-red conflagration that rose in the night sky and danced furiously for a brief moment. The army withered into ashes, leaving only a pile of blackened dust that spewed across the street in the ferocious onslaught of the wind.
Savannah felt Gregori wince, the pain that sliced though him just before he shut out all sensation.She whirled to face him and saw a sharpened stake portruding from his right shoulder. Even as she saw it, Gregori jerked it free.Blood gushed,spraying the area around him.Just as quickly it stopped,as if cut off midstream.
The winds rose to a thunderous pitch, a whirling gale of debris above their heads like the funnel cloud of a tornado. The black cloud spun faster and paster,threatening to suck everything and everyone up into its center where the malevolent red eye stared at them with hatred. The tourists screamed in fear,and even the guide grabbed for a lamppost to hang on grimly.Gregori stood alone,the winds assaulting him,tearing at him, reaching for him.As the whirling column threatened him from above, sounding like the roar of a freight train, he merely clapped his hands, then waved to send a backdraft slamming into the dark entity.The vampire screamed his rage.
The thick black cloud sucked in on itself with an audible soumd, hovering in the air, waiting, watching, silent. Evil.No one moved.No one dared to breathe. Suddenly the churning black entity gathered itself and streamed across the night sky,racing away from the hunter over the French Quarter and toward the swamp.Gregori launched himself into the air,shape-shifting as he did so,ducking the bolts of white-hot energy and slashing stakes flying in the turbulant air.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
The Chinese ideograph for forbearance is a heart with a sword dangling over it, another instance of language's brilliant way of showing us something surprising and important fossilized inside the meaning of a word. Vulnerability is built into our hearts, which can be sliced open at any moment by some sudden shift in the arrangements, some pain, some horror, some hurt. We all know and instinctively fear this, so we protect our hearts by covering them against exposure. But this doesn't work. Covering the heart binds and suffocates it until, like a wound that has been kept dressed for too long, the heart starts to fester and becomes fetid. Eventually, without air, the heart is all but killed off, and there's no feeling, no experiencing at all.
To practice forbearance is to appreciate and celebrate the heart's vulnerability, and to see that the slicing or piercing of the heart does not require defense; that the heart's vulnerability is a good thing, because wounds can make us more peaceful and more real—if, that is, we are willing to hang on to the leopard of our fear, the serpent of our grief, the boar of our shame without running away or being hurled off. Forbearance is simply holding on steadfastly with whatever it is that unexpectedly arises: not doing anything; not fixing anything (because doing and fixing can be a way to cover up the heart, to leap over the hurt and pain by occupying ourselves with schemes and plans to get rid of it.) Just holding on for hear life. Holding on with what comes is what makes life dear.
...Simply holding on this way may sound passive. Forbearance has a bad reputation in our culture, whose conventional wisdom tells us that we ought to solve problems, fix what's broken, grab what we want, speak out, shake things up, make things happen. And should none of this work out, then we are told we ought to move on, take a new tack, start something else. But this line of thinking only makes sense when we are attempting to gain external satisfaction. It doesn't take into account internal well-being; nor does it engage the deeper questions of who you really are and what makes you truly happy, questions that no one can ignore for long... Insofar as forbearance helps us to embrace transformative energy and allow its magic to work on us... forbearance isn't passive at all. It's a powerfully active spiritual force, (67-70).
Norman Fischer (Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls)
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?
- Ode to a Nightingale
John Keats (The Complete Poems)
I once read the most widely understood word in the whole world is ‘OK’, followed by ‘Coke’, as in cola. I think they should do the survey again, this time checking for ‘Game Over’.
Game Over is my favorite thing about playing video games. Actually, I should qualify that. It’s the split second before Game Over that’s my favorite thing.
Streetfighter II - an oldie but goldie - with Leo controlling Ryu. Ryu’s his best character because he’s a good all-rounder - great defensive moves, pretty quick, and once he’s on an offensive roll, he’s unstoppable. Theo’s controlling Blanka. Blanka’s faster than Ryu, but he’s really only good on attack. The way to win with Blanka is to get in the other player’s face and just never let up. Flying kick, leg-sweep, spin attack, head-bite. Daze them into submission.
Both players are down to the end of their energy bars. One more hit and they’re down, so they’re both being cagey. They’re hanging back at opposite ends of the screen, waiting for the other guy to make the first move. Leo takes the initiative. He sends off a fireball to force Theo into blocking, then jumps in with a flying kick to knock Blanka’s green head off. But as he’s moving through the air he hears a soft tapping. Theo’s tapping the punch button on his control pad. He’s charging up an electricity defense so when Ryu’s foot makes contact with Blanka’s head it’s going to be Ryu who gets KO’d with 10,000 volts charging through his system.
This is the split second before Game Over.
Leo’s heard the noise. He knows he’s fucked. He has time to blurt ‘I’m toast’ before Ryu is lit up and thrown backwards across the screen, flashing like a Christmas tree, a charred skeleton. Toast.
The split second is the moment you comprehend you’re just about to die. Different people react to it in different ways. Some swear and rage. Some sigh or gasp. Some scream. I’ve heard a lot of screams over the twelve years I’ve been addicted to video games.
I’m sure that this moment provides a rare insight into the way people react just before they really do die. The game taps into something pure and beyond affectations. As Leo hears the tapping he blurts, ‘I’m toast.’ He says it quickly, with resignation and understanding. If he were driving down the M1 and saw a car spinning into his path I think he’d in react the same way.
Personally, I’m a rager. I fling my joypad across the floor, eyes clenched shut, head thrown back, a torrent of abuse pouring from my lips.
A couple of years ago I had a game called Alien 3. It had a great feature. When you ran out of lives you’d get a photo-realistic picture of the Alien with saliva dripping from its jaws, and a digitized voice would bleat, ‘Game over, man!’
I really used to love that.
I never wanted it to end. I wondered if it felt like this the first time. Seeing him. Really seeing him.
He wiped his eyes. “You really want to know, don’t you.”
I gave in. I couldn’t not. I reached over and put my hand on his knee. He tensed briefly but settled when I curled my fingers over his leg, just letting my hand rest there. I couldn’t look at him. I thought my face was on fire.
He said, “That’s….” His voice broke. He cleared his throat. “After the hunters came, something shifted. Between us. I don’t know how or why exactly. You stopped being weird around me.”
“Seems like I’ve picked that right up again.”
He chuckled. “A little. It’s okay, though. It’s like… a beginning. You came to me one day. You were sweating. I remember thinking something bad had happened because you kept wringing your hands until I thought you were going to break your bones. I asked you what was wrong. And you know what you said?
“Probably something stupid.”
“You said that you didn’t think you could ever give up on me. That no matter how long it took, you would be there until I told you otherwise. That you weren’t going to push me for anything but you thought I should know that you had… intentions.”
“Oh dear god,” I said in horror. “And that worked?”
Kelly snorted, and I felt his hand on the back of mine. “Not quite. But what you said next did.”
I looked over at him. “What did I say?”
He was watching me with human eyes, and I thought I could love him. I saw how easy it could be. I didn’t, not yet, but oh, I wanted to. “You said you thought the world of me. That we’d been through so much and you couldn’t stand another day if I didn’t know that. You told me that you were a good wolf, a strong wolf, and if I’d only give you a chance, you’d make sure I’d never regret it.”
I had to know. “Have you?”
“No,” he whispered. “Not once. Not ever.” He looked away. “It was good between us. We took it slow. You smiled all the time. You brought me flowers once. Mom was pissed because you ripped them up from her flower bed and there were still roots and dirt hanging from the bottom, but you were so damn proud of yourself. You said it was romantic. And I believed you.” He plucked a blade of grass and held it in the palm of his hand. “There was something… I don’t know. Endless. About you and me.” He took my hand off his knee and turned it over. He set the blade of grass in my palm and closed his hand over mine. He looked toward the sky and the stars through the canopy of leaves. “We came here sometimes. Just the two of us. And you would pretend to know all the stars. You would make up stories that absolutely weren’t true, and I remember looking at you, thinking how wonderful it was to be by your side. And if we were lucky, there’d be—ah. Look. Again.” His voice was wet and soft, and it cracked me right down the middle.
Fireflies rose around us, pulsing slowly. At first there were only two or three, but then more began to hang heavy in the air. They were yellow-green, and I wondered how this could be real. Here. Now. This moment. How I ever could have forgotten this.
It had to have been the strongest magic the world had ever known.
That was the only way I’d have ever left his side.
He reached out with his other hand, quick and light, and snatched a firefly out of the air. He was careful not to crush it. He leaned his head toward mine like he was about to tell me a great secret.
Instead he opened his hand between us.
The firefly lay near the bottom of his ring finger. Its shell was black with a stripe down the middle. It barely moved.
“Just wait,” Kelly whispered.
It only took a moment.
The firefly pulsed in his hand.
“There it is,” he said. He pulled away and lifted his hand. The firefly took to its wings, lifting off and flying away.
He stared after it.
I only had eyes for him.
T.J. Klune (Heartsong (Green Creek, #3))
told me more about what happened the other night?” she asked, deciding to air her worst fears. “Am I under suspicion or something?” “Everyone is.” “Especially ex-wives who are publicly humiliated on the day of the murder, right?” Something in Montoya’s expression changed. Hardened. “I’ll be back,” he promised, “and I’ll bring another detective with me, then we’ll interview you and you can ask all the questions you like.” “And you’ll answer them?” He offered a hint of a smile. “That I can’t promise. Just that I won’t lie to you.” “I wouldn’t expect you to, Detective.” He gave a quick nod. “In the meantime if you suddenly remember, or think of anything, give me a call.” “I will,” she promised, irritated, watching as he hurried down the two steps of the porch to his car. He was younger than she was by a couple of years, she guessed, though she couldn’t be certain, and there was something about him that exuded a natural brooding sexuality, as if he knew he was attractive to women, almost expected it to be so. Great. Just what she needed, a sexy-as-hell cop who probably had her pinned to the top of his murder suspect list. She whistled for the dog and Hershey bounded inside, dragging some mud and leaves with her. “Sit!” Abby commanded and the Lab dropped her rear end onto the floor just inside the door. Abby opened the door to the closet and found a towel hanging on a peg she kept for just such occasions, then, while Hershey whined in protest, she cleaned all four of her damp paws. “You’re gonna be a problem, aren’t you?” she teased, then dropped the towel over the dog’s head. Hershey shook herself, tossed off the towel, then bit at it, snagging one end in her mouth and pulling backward in a quick game of tug of war. Abby laughed as she played with the dog, the first real joy she’d felt since hearing the news about her ex-husband. The phone rang and she left the dog growling and shaking the tattered piece of terry cloth. “Hello?” she said, still chuckling at Hershey’s antics as she lifted the phone to her ear. “Abby Chastain?” “Yes.” “Beth Ann Wright with the New Orleans Sentinel.” Abby’s heart plummeted. The press. Just what she needed. “You were Luke Gierman’s wife, right?” “What’s this about?” Abby asked warily as Hershey padded into the kitchen and looked expectantly at the back door leading to her studio. “In a second,” she mouthed to the Lab. Hershey slowly wagged her tail. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Beth Ann said, sounding sincerely rueful. “I should have explained. The paper’s running a series of articles on Luke, as he was a local celebrity, and I’d like to interview you for the piece. I was thinking we could meet tomorrow morning?” “Luke and I were divorced.” “Yes, I know, but I would like to give some insight to the man behind the mike, you know. He had a certain public persona, but I’m sure my readers would like to know more about him, his history, his hopes, his dreams, you know, the human-interest angle.” “It’s kind of late for that,” Abby said, not bothering to keep the ice out of her voice. “But you knew him intimately. I thought you could come up with some anecdotes, let people see the real Luke Gierman.” “I don’t think so.” “I realize you and he had some unresolved issues.” “Pardon me?” “I caught his program the other day.” Abby tensed, her fingers holding the phone in a death grip. “So this is probably harder for you than most, but I still would like to ask you some questions.” “Maybe another time,” she hedged and Beth Ann didn’t miss a beat. “Anytime you’d like. You’re a native Louisianan, aren’t you?” Abby’s neck muscles tightened. “Born and raised, but you met Luke in Seattle when he was working for a radio station . . . what’s the call sign, I know I’ve got it somewhere.” “KCTY.” It was a matter of public record. “Oh, that’s right. Country in the City. But you grew up here and went to local schools, right? Your
Lisa Jackson (Lisa Jackson's Bentz & Montoya Bundle: Shiver, Absolute Fear, Lost Souls, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, Malice & Devious (A Bentz/Montoya Novel))