[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o’clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.
Ishmael Reed (Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down)
You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!
I wonder what Matthias would have to say about that outfit.”
“He wouldn’t approve.”
“He doesn’t approve of anything about you. But when you laugh, he perks up like a tulip in fresh water.”
Nina snorted. “Matthias the tulip.”
“The big, brooding, yellow tulip.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
He smelled the garden, the yellow shield of light smote his eyes, and he whispered, "Life is so beautiful."
Yes, he thought, if I can die saying, "Life is so beautiful," then nothing else is important.
Mario Puzo (The Godfather (The Godfather, #1))
What do you think?" I ask.
"Your suit looks like mine." Kenji frowns. "I'm supposed to be the one with the black suit. Why can't you have a pink suit? Or a yellow suit-"
"Because we're not the freaking Power Rangers," Winston says, rolling his eyes.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
Tris," Tobias says, crouching next to me. His face is pale, almost yellow.
There is too much I want to say. The first thing that comes out is, "Beatrice."
He laughs weakly.
"Beatrice," he amends, and touches his lips to mine. I curl my fingers into his shirt.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
But I MUST say what I feel and think in some way — it is such a relief! But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wall-Paper)
The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)
He moved to sniff some white-and-yellow flowers.
A nightmare. This was a nightmare. “You can’t really like flowers.”
Again those dark eyes shifted to her. Blinked once.
I most certainly do, he seemed to say.
Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3))
I let my head fall back, and I gazed into the Eternal Blue Sky. It was morning. Some of the sky was yellow, some the softest blue. One small cloud scuttled along. Strange how everything below can be such death and chaos and pain while above the sky is peace, sweet blue gentleness. I heard a shaman say once, the Ancestors want our souls to be like the blue sky.
Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days)
Say I feel all sad and self-indulgent, then get stung by a wasp, my misery feels quite abstract and I long just to be in spiritual pain once more - 'damn you tiny assassin, clad in yellow and black, how I crave my former innocence where melancholy was my only trial'.
Russell Brand (Articles of Faith)
He started to say something, maybe an apology and maybe not, and then he stopped, he leaned over and pulled me toward him - like by gravitational force. He kissed me, hard, and his skin was stubbly and rough against my cheek. My first thought was, I guess he didn't have time to shave this morning, and then - I was kissing him back, my fingers winding through his soft yellow hair and my eyes closed. He kissed like he was drowning and I was air. It was passionate, and desperate, and like nothing I had ever experienced before.
This was what people meant when they said the earth stopped turning. It felt like a world outside of that car, that moment, didn't exist. It was just us.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
As for mother Eve - I wasn't there and can't deny the story, but I will say this. If she brought evil into the world, we men have had the lion's share of keeping it going ever since.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings)
Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn't work, 2) didn't do what the expensive advertisements said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighborhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches. Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: 'Learn, guys...
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
She never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm 'i th' bud, feed on her damask cheek. She pinned in thought; and, with a green and yellow melancholy, she sat like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed? We men may say more, swear more; but indeed our shows are more than will; for we still prove much in our vows but little in our love.
William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)
Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the
computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department
that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached
just saying: "Learn, guys.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
When I take you to the Valley, you’ll see the blue hills on the left and the blue hills on the right, the rainbow and the vineyards under the rainbow late in the rainy season, and maybe you’ll say, “There it is, that’s it!” But I’ll say. “A little farther.” We’ll go on, I hope, and you’ll see the roofs of the little towns and the hillsides yellow with wild oats, a buzzard soaring and a woman singing by the shadows of a creek in the dry season, and maybe you’ll say, “Let’s stop here, this is it!” But I’ll say, “A little farther yet.” We’ll go on, and you’ll hear the quail calling on the mountain by the springs of the river, and looking back you’ll see the river running downward through the wild hills behind, below, and you’ll say, “Isn’t that the Valley?” And all I will be able to say is “Drink this water of the spring, rest here awhile, we have a long way yet to go and I can’t go without you.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Always Coming Home)
Party lights hang over the street, yellow and red and green. Sadie stumbles over someone’s chair, but I’m ready for this and I catch her easily by the arm.
“Sorry, clumsy,” she says.
“You always were, Sadie. One of your more endearing traits.”
Before she can ask about that I slip my arm around her waist. She slips hers around mine, still looking up at me. The lights skate across her cheeks and shine in her eyes. We clasp hands, fingers folding together naturally, and for me the years fall away like a coat that’s too heavy and too tight. In that moment, I hope on thing above all others: that she was not too busy to find at least one good man …
She speaks in a voice almost too low to be heard over the music. But I hear her – I always did. “Who are you, George?”
“Someone you knew in another life, honey.
Stephen King (11/22/63)
Your suit looks just like mine.” Kenji frowns. “I’m supposed to be the one with the black suit. Why can’t you have a pink suit? Or a yellow suit—”
“Because we’re not the freaking Power Rangers,” Winston says, rolling his eyes.
“What the hell is a Power Ranger?” Kenji shoots back.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
Smiling, I say, "Edward, tell me secret."
He says, "I love you.
It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.
Laura McBride (We Are Called to Rise)
I'm Crusty," he said, with a tartar-yellow smile.
I resisted the urge to say, Yes, you are.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
Every morning the maple leaves.
Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts
from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big
and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out
You will be alone always and then you will die.
So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog
of non-definitive acts,
something other than the desperation.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party
and seduced you
and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing.
You want a better story. Who wouldn’t?
A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing.
Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on.
What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon.
Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly
I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure,
I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
glass, but that comes later.
Let me do it right for once,
for the record, let me make a thing of cream and stars that becomes,
you know the story, simply heaven.
Inside your head you hear a phone ringing
and when you open your eyes
only a clearing with deer in it. Hello deer.
Inside your head the sound of glass,
a car crash sound as the trucks roll over and explode in slow motion.
Hello darling, sorry about that.
Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we
lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell
and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud.
Especially that, but I should have known.
Inside your head you hear
a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up
in a stranger’s bathroom,
standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away
from the dirtiest thing you know.
All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly
suddenly only darkness.
In the living room, in the broken yard,
in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport
bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of
my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away.
I arrived in the city and you met me at the station,
smiling in a way
that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade,
up the stairs of the building
to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things,
I looked out the window and said
This doesn’t look that much different from home,
because it didn’t,
but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights.
We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too,
smiling and crying in a way that made me
even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I
just couldn’t say it out loud.
Actually, you said Love, for you,
is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s
terrifying. No one
will ever want to sleep with you.
Okay, if you’re so great, you do it—
here’s the pencil, make it work …
If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window
is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing
Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently
we have had our difficulties and there are many things
I want to ask you.
I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again,
years later, in the chlorinated pool.
I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have
I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together.
I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes.
Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you.
Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
It's like this," Nana says. "All your life you're yellow. Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you're green.
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives.
To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates.
'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic.
They've served their purpose.
Nature is unsentimental.
Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search For Who We Are)
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
Don't be away from me." Over her lips I say softly, "It's a rule, remember? You'll never pull away. Remember, B?
You ask yourself: where are your dreams now? And you shake your head and say how swiftly the years fly by! And you ask yourself again: what have you done with your best years, then? Where have you buried the best days of your life? Have you lived or not? Look, you tell yourself, look how cold the world is becoming. The years will pass and after them will come grim loneliness, and old age, quaking on its stick, and after them misery and despair. Your fantasy world will grow pale, your dreams will fade and die, falling away like the yellow leaves from the trees… Ah, Nastenka! Will it not be miserable to be left alone, utterly alone, and have nothing even to regret — nothing, not a single thing… because everything I have lost was nothing, stupid, a round zero, all dreaming and no more!
If you can fight, you don’t have to fight. And you don’t have to cower. And girls like that, whatever they say.
Martin Amis (Yellow Dog)
I wanted something that I could look back on and say, yes, you were fighting too, you burned to be alive, and whatever failure or accident of nature caused you to be killed could be explained by something other than the fact that I'd missed your giving up.
Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds)
You digest and absorb your life by turning it into stories,' he says, 'the same way this theater seems to digest people.' With one hand, he points to a carpet stain, this dark stain sticky and growing mold, branched with arms and legs.
Other events—the ones you can’t digest—they poison you. Those worst parts of your life, those moments you can’t talk about, they rot you from the inside out. Until you’re Cassandra’s wet shadow on the ground. Sunk in your own yellow protein mud.
But the stories that you can digest, that you can tell—you can take control of those past moments. You can shape them, craft them. Master them. And use them to your own good. Those are stories as important as food. Those are stories you can use to make people laugh or cry or sick. Or scared. To make people feel the way you felt. To help exhaust that past moment for them and for you. Until that moment is dead.
Consumed. Digested. Absorbed.
Chuck Palahniuk (Haunted)
But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
I have notes in my bathroom, yellow notes, and I stick 'em on the mirror, things that happened that were uplifting boosters for me. Notes that say, "Today is special, make today count." And then I have one note on the mirror in the middle that says, "Look at the other notes.
Just So You Know
You fall in love with every book you touch. You never break the spine or tear the pages. That would be cruel. You have secret favorites but, when asked, you say that you could never choose. But did you know that books fall in love with you, too?
They watch you from the shelf while you sleep. Are you dreaming of them, they wonder, in that wistful mood books are prone to at night when they’re bored and there’s nothing else to do but tease the cat.
Remember that pale yellow book you read when you were sixteen? It changed your world, that book. It changed your dreams. You carried it around until it was old and thin and sparkles no longer rose from the pages and filled the air when you opened it, like it did when it was new. You should know that it still thinks of you. It would like to get together sometime, maybe over coffee next month, so you can see how much you’ve both changed.
And the book about the donkey your father read to you every night when you were three, it’s still around – older, a little worse for wear. But it still remembers the way your laughter made its pages tremble with joy.
Then there was that book, just last week, in the bookstore. It caught your eye. You looked away quickly, but it was too late. You felt the rush. You picked it up and stroked your hand over its glassy cover. It knew you were The One. But, for whatever reason, you put it back and walked away. Maybe you were trying to be practical. Maybe you thought there wasn’t room enough, time enough, energy enough.
But you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?
You fall in love so easily.
But just so you know, they do, too.
Sarah Addison Allen
For they imagined as they wished--that it was a wild shot,/ an unintended killing--fools, not to comprehend/ they were already in the grip of death./ But glaring under his brows Odysseus answered:
'You yellow dogs, you thought I'd never make it/ home from the land of Troy. You took my house to plunder,/ twisted my maids to serve your beds. You dared/ bid for my wife while I was still alive./ Contempt was all you had for the gods who rule wide heaven,/ contempt for what men say of you hereafter./ Your last hour has come. You die in blood.
Homer (The Odyssey)
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn't the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans. And then one day, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl, sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no-one would have to get nalied to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and so the idea was lost forever.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Grandpapa used to say, about difficulties he had gone through, 'It did not kill me, it made me knowledgeable.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)
What about a teakettle? What if the spout opened and closed when the steam came out, so it would become a mouth, and it could whistle pretty melodies, or do Shakespeare, or just
crack up with me? I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad’s voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of “Yellow Submarine,” which is a song by the Beatles, who I love, because entomology is one of my raisons d’être, which
is a French expression that I know. Another good thing is that I could train my anus to talk when I farted. If I wanted to be extremely hilarious, I’d train it to say, “Wasn’t me!” every time I made an incredibly bad fart. And if I ever made an incredibly bad fart in the Hall of Mirrors, which is in Versailles, which is outside of Paris, which is in France, obviously, my anus would say, “Ce n’étais pas moi!”
What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? When you skateboard down the street at night you could hear everyone's heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. One weird thing is, I wonder if everyone's hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which I know about, but don't really want to know about. That would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn't have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. And at the finish line at the end of the New York City Marathon it would sound like war.
Jonathan Safran Foer
And then everything went on very quietly for a fortnight, says Dr. Jordan. He is reading aloud from my confession.
Yes Sir, it did, I say. More or less quietly.
What is everything? How did it go on?
I beg your pardon, Sir?
What did you do everyday?
Oh, the usual, Sir, I say. I performed my duties.
You will forgive me, says Dr. Jordan. Of what did those duties consist?
I look at him. He is wearing a yellow cravat with small white squares, he is not making a joke. He really does not know. Men such as him do not have to clean up the messes they make, but we have to clean up our own messes, and theirs into the bargain. In that way they are like children, they do not have to think ahead, or worry about the consequences of what they do. But it's not their fault, it is only how they are brought up.
Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)
At first it's bliss. It's drunken, heady, intoxicating. It swallows the people we were - not particuarly wonderful people, but people who did our best, more or less - and spits out the monsters we are becoming.
Our friends despise us. We are an epic. Everything is grand, crashing, brilliant, blinding. It's the Golden Age of Hollywood, and we are a legend in our own minds, and no one outside can fail to see that we are headed for hell, and we won't listen, we say they don't understand, we pour more wine, go to the parties, we sparkle, fly all over the country, we're on an adventure, unstoppable, we've found each other and we race through our days like Mr. Toad in his yellow motorcar, with no idea where the brakes are and to hell with it anyway, we are on fire, drunk with something we call love.
Marya Hornbacher (Madness: A Bipolar Life)
The only thing I'll never have is what I have lost for ever and ever... As long as I live, until I draw my last breath, I shall remember Asel and all those beautiful things that were ours. The day I was to leave I went to the lake and stood on the rise above it. I was saying good-bye to the Tien Shan mountains, to Issyk-Kul. Good-bye, Issyk-Kul, my unfinished song! How I wish I could take you with me, your blue waters and your yellow shores, but I can't, just as I can't take the woman I love with me. Goodbye, Asel. Good-bye, my pretty poplar in a red kerchief! Good-bye, my love, I want you to be happy...
Chingiz Aitmatov (Piebald Dog Running Along the Shore and Other Stories)
To say what happened, the mere facts, the disposition of events in time, would come to seem like a kind of treachery. The dominoes of moments, lined up symmetrically, then tumbling backward against the hazy and unsure push of cause, showed only that a fall is every object's destiny. It is not enough to say what happened. Everything happened. Everything fell.
Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds)
It's like this," Nana says. "All your life you're yellow. Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you’re green.
Tess Callahan (April & Oliver)
Woolsey quirked an eyebrow. “You are a funny thing,” he said. “I would say I could see what those boys see in you, but …” He shrugged. His yellow dressing gown had a long, bloody tear in it now. “Women are not something I have ever understood.”
“What about them do you find mysterious, sir?”
“The point of them, mainly.”
“Well, you must have had a mother,” said Tessa.
“Someone whelped me, yes,” said Woolsey without much enthusiasm. “I remember her little.”
“Perhaps, but you would not exist without a woman, would you? However little use you may find us, we are cleverer and more determined and more patient than men. Men may be stronger, but it is women who endure.”
“Is that what you are doing? Enduring? Surely an engaged woman should be happier.” His light eyes raked her. “A heart divided against itself cannot stand, as they say. You love them both, and it tears you apart.”
“House,” said Tessa.
He raised an eyebrow. “What was that?”
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. Not a heart. Perhaps you should not attempt quotations if you cannot get them correct.
Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #3))
It stunned me. I had never said it before. I knew that I would never say it again, not really; that you only get one shot at in a lifetime. I got mine out of nowhere on a misty autumn evening, under a street lamp shining yellow streaks on the wet pavement, with Rosie's strong pliable fingers woven through mine.
Tana French (Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3))
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSED
It is impossible for my mother to do even
the simplest things for herself anymore
so we do it together,
get her dressed.
I choose the clothes without
zippers or buckles or straps,
clothes that are simple
but elegant, and easy to get into.
Otherwise, it's just like every other day.
After bathing, getting dressed.
The stockings go on first.
This time, it's the new ones,
the special ones with opaque black triangles
that she's never worn before,
bought just two weeks ago
at her favorite department store.
We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toes
into the stocking tip
then a smooth yank past the knob of her ankle
and over her cool, smooth calf
then the other toe
cool ankle, smooth calf
up the legs
and the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist.
You're doing great, Mom,
I tell her
as we ease her body
against mine, rest her whole weight against me
to slide her black dress
with the black empire collar
over her head
struggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve.
I reach from the outside
deep into the dark for her hand,
grasp where I can't see for her touch.
You've got to help me a little here, Mom
I tell her
then her fingertips touch mine
and we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouth
together, then we rest, her weight against me
before threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep
and now over the head.
I gentle the black dress over her breasts,
thighs, bring her makeup to her,
put some color on her skin.
Green for her eyes.
Coral for her lips.
I get her black hat.
She's ready for her company.
I tell the two women in simple, elegant suits
waiting outside the bedroom, come in.
They tell me, She's beautiful.
Yes, she is, I tell them.
I leave as they carefully
zip her into
the black body bag.
Three days later,
I dream a large, green
When I unzip it,
my mother is inside.
Her dress matches
her eyeshadow, which matches
perfectly. She's wearing
"I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, waving
and I wake up.
Four days later, she comes home
in a plastic black box
that is heavier than it looks.
In the middle of a meadow,
I learn a naked
more than naked.
I learn a new way to hug
as I tighten my fist
around her body,
my hand filled with her ashes
and the small stones of bones.
I squeeze her tight
then open my hand
and release her
into the smallest, hottest sun,
a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
People say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. They say that when you been through something terrible ... But it doesn't. It breaks your bones, leaving everything splintered and held together with grubby bandages and yellowing sticky tape. Creaking along the fault lines, Fragile and exhausting to hold together. Sometimes you wish it had killed you.
Fiona Barton (The Child (Kate Waters, #2))
It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing.
What is most beautiful, is least acknowledged.
What is worth dying for is barely noticed.
Laura McBride (We Are Called to Rise)
Cowards say it can't be done, critics say it shouldn't have been done, creator say well done.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
I think it’s bullshit that the only meaningful stories are the ones that are deep and pondering and boring, saying all this nonsense without ever saying anything, and you’re supposed to, like, read meaning into the yellow wallpaper or something.” She rolls her eyes. “You know what I think? I think sometimes the stories we need are the ones about taking the hobbits to Isengard and dog-human dudes with space heelies and trashy King Arthurs and gay ice-skating animes and Zuko redemption arcs and space princesses with found families and galaxies far, far away. We need those stories, too. Stories that tell us that we can be bold and brash and make mistakes and still come out better on the other side. Those are the kinds of stories I want to see, and read, and tell. ‘Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite’—that means something to me, you know?
Ashley Poston (The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con, #2))
I had seen him on campus before. He was always wearing this yellow sweatshirt and giant headphones. The kind of headphones that say, “I may not take my clothes seriously. I may not have brushed or even washed my hair today. But I pronounce the word ‘music’ with a capital ‘M.
Rainbow Rowell (Attachments)
Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
I was woundering what he would say, what word could sum me up right then, when i saw the lights come across his face, blaringly yellow, and suddenly he was brighter, and brighter, and i asked him what was happening, what was wrong. I remember only that light, so strong it spilled across my shoulders, and lit up his face, and how scared he looked as something big and loud hit my door, sending glass shattering across me, little sparks catching the light like diamonds, as they fell, with me, into the dark.
Look, I get it. I’m a white, heterosexual man. It’s really easy for me to say, ‘Oh, wow, wasn’t the nineteenth century terrific?’ But try this. Imagine the scene: It’s pouring rain against a thick window. Outside, on Baker Street, the light from the gas lamps is so weak that it barely reaches the pavement. A fog swirls in the air, and the gas gives it a pale yellow glow. Mystery brews in every darkened corner, in every darkened room. And a man steps out into that dim, foggy world, and he can tell you the story of your life by the cut of your shirtsleeves. He can shine a light into the dimness, with only his intellect and his tobacco smoke to help him. Now. Tell me that’s not awfully romantic?
Graham Moore (The Sherlockian)
I suppose we all see colors outside our usual spectrum in certain people. And the saddest part of life is having known what it looks like and saying goodbye while a quiet part of you hopelessly searches for it forever in shades of blue, red, and yellow. Perhaps all my writing is just a telling to others of the color I saw.
Karl Kristian Flores (Cardiac Ablation)
The black, the white, the brown, the red, the yellow, the hetero, the homo, the trans, the poor, the rich, the literate, the illiterate, the weak, the strong – all are my sisters and brothers. My life is their life. And till the last breath in my body, I shall be serving you all with all the power in my veins. And beyond death, my ideas shall be serving you for eternity.
Abhijit Naskar (I Am The Thread: My Mission)
As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.
If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting.
A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing.
Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.
A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her.
Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know.
A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart.
Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.
Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress.
Ladies, I apologize.
For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage.
If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,--
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,--
Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?
William Carlos Williams
I will,” I say quietly. Popping open the box, I see the black-and-yellow plastic of the barrel. The whole thing is incredibly light, and only about ten inches long. Whispering down into the box reverently, I murmur, “I shall call you Glamdring, Foe-hammer that the king of Gondol—” “Charlotte! Don’t name your Taser.
Jake Burt (Greetings from Witness Protection!)
My mom says, "Do you know what the AIDS memorial quilt is all about?"
Jump to how much I hate my brother at this moment.
I bought this fabric because I thought it would make a nice panel for Shane," Mom says. "We just ran into some problems with what to sew on it."
Give me amnesia.
Give me new parents.
Your mother didn't want to step on any toes," Dad says. He twists a drumstick off and starts scraping the meat onto a plate. "With gay stuff you have to be so careful since everything means something in secret code. I mean, we didn't want to give people the wrong idea."
My Mom leans over to scoop yams onto my plate, and says, "Your father wanted a black border, but black on a field of blue would mean Shane was excited by leather sex, you know, bondage and discipline, sado and masochism." She says, "Really, those panels are to help the people left behind."
Strangers are going to see us and see Shane's name," my dad says. "We didn't want them thinking things."
The dishes all start their slow clockwise march around the table. The stuffing. The olives. The cranberry sauce. "I wanted pink triangles but all the panels have pink triangles," my mom says. "It's the Nazi symbol for homosexuals." She says,"Your father suggested black triangles, but that would mean Shane was a lesbian. It looks like female pubic hair. The black triangle does."
My father says, "Then I wanted a green border, but it turns out that would mean Shane was a male prostitute."
My mom says, "We almost chose a red border, but that would mean fisting. Brown would mean either scat or rimming, we couldn't figure which."
Yellow," my father says, "means watersports."
A lighter shade of blue," Mom says, "would mean just regular oral sex."
Regular white," my father says, "would mean anal. White could also mean Shane was excited by men wearing underwear." He says, "I can't remember which."
My mother passes me the quilted chicken with the rolls still warm inside.
We're supposed to sit and eat with Shane dead all over the table in front of us.
Finally we just gave up," my mom says, "and I made a nice tablecloth out of the material."
Between the yams and the stuffing, Dad looks down at his plate and says, "Do you know about rimming?"
I know it isn't table talk.
And fisting?" my mom asks.
I say, I know. I don't mention Manus and his vocational porno magazines.
We sit there, all of us around a blue shroud with the turkey more like a big dead baked animal than ever, the stuffing chock full of organs you can still recognize, the heart and gizzard and liver, the gravy thick with cooked fat and blood. The flower centerpiece could be a casket spray.
Would you pass the butter, please?" my mother says. To my father she says, "Do you know what felching is?
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.
When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,
He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.
But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.
Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.
But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.
Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken and Other Poems)
Mrs. Forbes said that hating yellow and brown is just being silly. And Siobhan said that she shouldn't say things like that and everyone has favorite colors. And Siobhan was right. But Mrs. Forbes was a bit right, too. Because it is sort of being silly. But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don't take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do. So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others. It is like being in a restaurant like when Father takes me out to a Berni Inn sometimes and you look at the menu and you have to choose what you are going to have. But you don't know if you are going to like something because you haven't tasted it yet, so you have favorite foods and you choose these, and you have foods you dno't like and you don't choose these, and then it is simple.
Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
Let us say that science fiction is a kind of conceptual disorientation of the familiar.
Adam Roberts (Yellow Blue Tibia)
John is a physician, and perhaps--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wall-Paper)
That was it. Shogo stopped breathing. The dim yellow light falling from the ceiling of the pilothouse shone on his pale face. He seemed at ease.
"Shogo!" Shuya yelled. He still had more to say. "You'll see Keiko! You'll be happy with her! You're--"
It was too late. Shogo couldn't hear anything anymore. But his face just looked so damned peaceful.
"Damn it." Shuya's lips trembled along with his words. "Damn it."
Holding Shogo's hands, Noriko was crying.
Shuya also put his hand on Shogo's thick hand. A thought occured to him. He searched through Shogo's pockets and found the red bird call. He pressed it into Shogo's right hand and closed his hands over it so he could hold it. Shuya then finally burst into tears.
Koushun Takami (Battle Royale)
What’s flattery?” “Flattery,” Wendy told him, “is when your daddy says he likes my new yellow slacks even if he doesn’t or when he says I don’t need to take off five pounds.” “Oh. Is it lying for fun?” “Something very like that.” He had been looking at her closely and now said: “You’re pretty, Mommy.” He frowned in confusion when they exchanged a glance and then burst into laughter.
Stephen King (The Shining (The Shining, #1))
If you want. It’s not really your kind of thing,” Perry said. “It’s a snow globe. You know, a big old house and lots of Vermont snow. I thought it might remind you of me.”
“I don’t need a snow globe to remind me of you,” Nick said, which was probably the most romantic thing he had ever heard himself say. It made him blush.
Josh Lanyon (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks, #1))
You will never be alone, you hear so deep a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums, or in the silence after lightning before it says its names-and then the clouds' wide-mouthed apologies. You were aimed from birth: you will never be alone. Rain will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon, long aisles-you never heard so deep a sound, moss on rock, and years. You turn your head- that's what the silence meant: you're not alone. The whole wide world pours down.
The art of happiness is being content with what you have,' she would say, looking with apparent satisfaction out of the dusty windows at the garden, yellowing like an uncut hayfield in the October sunshine.
Philippa Gregory (The Favored Child (The Wideacre Trilogy, #2))
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
Cora Carmack (Finding It (Losing It, #3))
There's nothing else in this world the color of a school bus. They call it yellow but it's not quite yellow, and it's not orange either. I'd say it's something somewhere in between margarine and Velveeta. It's not a natural color. Then again I guess if we wanted kids to grow up natural we wouldn't put them on a school bus in the first place.
Jon Clinch (Kings of the Earth)
She don’t speak,” said the big man in the yellow cloak. “You bloody bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers.” He turned to the dead woman and said, “What do you say, m’lady? Was he part of it?” Lady Catelyn’s eyes never left him. She nodded.
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3))
Old people only say that life happens quickly to make themselves feel better. The truth is that it all happens in tiny increments like now now now now now now and it only takes twenty to thirty consecutive nows to realize that you’re aimed straight at a bench in Singleton Park. Fair play though, if I was old and had forgotten to do something worthwhile with my life, I would spend those final few years on a bench in the botanical gardens, convincing myself that time is so quick that even plants – who have no responsibilities whatsoever – hardly get a chance to do anything decent with their lives except, perhaps, produce one or two red or yellow flowers and, with a bit of luck and insects, reproduce. If the old man manages to get the words father and husband on his bench plaque then he thinks he can be reasonably proud of himself.
Joe Dunthorne (Submarine)
Move along,” Hines said. “Last room down.”
I spotted a fish tank halfway down the aisle. Dug into my pocket.
“Hi,” I whispered. “Distraction in five. Four. Three...”
I broke off as we neared the tank.
Hi spun. “Yo, warden. When do we eat around here? I'm hypoglycemic, plus I've got a hernia. And rabies simplex D. Basically, I need a ton of pills or my arms will fall off.”
“Boy, you're on my last nerve.”
As Hines glared at Hiram, I palmed the flash drive and dumped it into the fish tank. The yellow-and-black rectangle tumbled to the bottom.
So long, friend. Let's hope Shelton's email went through.
“It's a cultural thing,” Hi was saying. “I think you're being very insensitive.”
Hines snorted. “Do you want me to cuff you?”
“Hi.” I nodded.
Kathy Reichs (Exposure (Virals, #4))
Come on," he says. "I'm like the yellow Starburst of this group."
My lips twitch. "You're at least the orange Starburst.
Emma Mills (This Adventure Ends)
Dusk had fallen,
While the sky was gray,
Red flowers bloomed,
And the yellow fade away,
Night was to fall,
But the sun had to stay,
Moon of fourteen,
For the lover had to pray,
Life gave up hope,
Yet the heart had to say,
Lover wrote a letter,
But the pigeon lost it's way.
I gather you yellow-skinned men, despite your triumphs in sewage, drinking water, and Olympic gold medals, still don't have democracy. Some politician on the radio was saying that that's why we Indian are going to beat you: we may not have sewage, drinking water, and Olympic gold medals, but we do have democracy.
If I were making a country, I'd get the sewage pipes first, then the democracy, then I'd go about giving pamphlets and statues of Gandhi to other people, but what do I know? I am just a murderer!
Oh, look, the lights are so pretty,” I said dreamily, having just noticed
I smiled at the way the lights were dancing overhead, pink and yellow and
blue. I felt some pressure on my arm and thought, I should look over and see
what’s going on, but then the thought was gone, sliding away like Jell-O off a
hot car hood.
“Yeah. I’m here.”
I struggled to focus on him. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I peered up at him, trying to see
past the too-bright lights.
“You’d be fine,” he muttered.
“No,” I said, suddenly struck by how unfine I would be. “I would be totally
unfine. Totally.” It seemed very urgent that he understand this.
Again I felt some tugging on my arm, and I really wondered what that was
about. Was Ella’s mom going to start this procedure any time soon?
“It’s okay. Just relax.” He sounded stiff and nervous. “Just...relax. Don’t
try to talk.”
“I don’t want my chip anymore,” I explained groggily, then frowned.
“Actually, I never wanted that chip.”
“Okay,” said Fang. “We’re taking it out.”
“I just want you to hold my hand.”
“I am holding your hand.”
“Oh. I knew that.” I drifted off for a few minutes, barely aware of
anything, but feeling Fang’s hand still in mine.
“Do you have a La-Z-Boy somewhere?” I roused myself to ask, every word an
“Um, no,” said Ella’s voice, somewhere behind my head.
“I think I would like a La-Z-Boy,” I mused, letting my eyes drift shut
again. “Fang, don’t go anywhere.”
“I won’t. I’m here.”
“Okay. I need you here. Don’t leave me.”
“Fang, Fang, Fang,” I murmured, overwhelmed with emotion. “I love you. I
love you sooo much.” I tried to hold out my arms to show how much, but I
couldn’t move them.
“Oh, jeez,” Fang said, sounding strangled.
James Patterson (Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3))
What is the colour of Christmas?
The red of the toyshops on a dark winter’s afternoon,
Of Father Christmas and the robin’s breast?
Green of holly and spruce and mistletoe in the house,
dark shadow of summer in leafless winter?
One might plainly add a romance of white,
fields of frost and snow;
thus white, green, red- reducing the event to the level of a Chianti bottle.
But many will say that the significant colour is gold,
gold of fire and treasure, of light in the winter dark; and this gets closer,
For the true colour of Christmas is Black.
Black of winter, black of night, black of frost and of the east wind,
black of dangerous shadows beyond the firelight.
I am not sure who wrote this. I got it from page nine of “A Book of Christmas” by William Sansom. Google didn’t help. It is rather true I think, that the true color of Christmas is black. For like the author said in succeeding sentences “The table yellow with electric light, the fire by which stories are told, the bright spangle of the tree- they all blazé out of shadow and out of a darkness of winter
I went down not long ago
to the Mad River, under the willows
I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow, call it
what madness you will, there's a sickness
worse than the risk of death and that's
forgetting what we should never forget.
Tecumseh lived here.
The wounds of the past
are ignored, but hang on
like the litter that snags among the yellow branches,
newspapers and plastic bags, after the rains.
Where are the Shawnee now?
Do you know? Or would you have to
write to Washington, and even then,
whatever they said,
would you believe it? Sometimes
I would like to paint my body red and go into
the glittering snow
His name meant Shooting Star.
From Mad River country north to the border
he gathered the tribes
and armed them one more time. He vowed
to keep Ohio and it took him
over twenty years to fail.
After the bloody and final fighting, at Thames,
it was over, except
his body could not be found,
and you can do whatever you want with that, say
his people came in the black leaves of the night
and hauled him to a secret grave, or that
he turned into a little boy again, and leaped
into a birch canoe and went
rowing home down the rivers. Anyway
this much I'm sure of: if we meet him, we'll know it,
he will still be
To tell the truth, sir, I believe I had rather sit in the shelter for a while. The cabbage seems to have turned my inward parts to water.’
Nonsense,’ said Stephen, ‘it is the most wholesome cabbage I have ever come across in the whole of my career. I hope, Mr. Herapath, that you are not going to join in the silly weak womanish unphilosophical mewling and puling about the cabbage. So it is a little yellow in certain lights, so it is a little sharp, so it smells a little strange: so much the better, say I. At least that will stop the insensate Phaeacian hogs from abusing it, as they abuse the brute creation, stuffing themselves with flesh until what little brain they have is drowned in fat. A virtuous esculent! Even its boldest detractors, ready to make the most hellish declarations and to swear through a nine-inch plank that the cabbage makes them fart and rumble, cannot deny that it cured their purpurae. Let them rumble till the heavens shake and resound again; let them fart fire and brimstone, the Gomorrhans, I will not have a single case of scurvy on my hands, the sea-surgeon’s shame, while there is a cabbage to be culled.
Patrick O'Brian (Desolation Island (Aubrey & Maturin, #5))
If you take someone's thoughts and feelings away bit by bit, consistently then they have nothing left, except some gritty, gnawing, shitty little instinct, down there, somewhere worming round the gut, but so far down, so hidden, its impossible to find. Imagine, if you will, a worldwide conspiracy to deny the colour yellow. And whenever you say yellow, they told you, no, that isn't yellow, what the fuck's yellow? Eventually, whenever you saw yellow, you would say; that isn't yellow, course it isn't blue or green or purple, or... you'd say it, yes it is, its yellow and become increasingly hysterical and then go quite berserk.
Travis nursed his beer silently, looking out over the water.
“What are you thinking about?” Laird asked.
“It’s not important.”
“What is it?”
Travis turned toward him. “Did you ever notice how some colours are used for people’s names but others aren’t?”
“What are you talking about?”
“White and Black. Like Mr. White, the guy who owns the tire store. And Mr. Black, our third-grade teacher. Or even Mr. Green from the game Clue. But you never hear of someone named Mr. Orange or Mr. Yellow. It’s like some colours make good names, but other colours just sound stupid. You know what I mean?”
“I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it.”
“Me neither. Not until just a minute ago, I mean. But it’s kind of strange, isn’t it?”
“Sure,” Laird finally agreed.
Both men were quiet for a moment. “I told you it wasn’t important.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Was I right?”
Nicholas Sparks (The Choice)
But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them. What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to? And their assignment is to report on the experiences they collected during their time on earth. The hardware store their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till the tears streamed down their cheeks, and the Saturdays when their grandchildren sat next to them gluing Popsicle sticks. The spring mornings they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoons with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night. ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like. What it was like to be alive.
Anne Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread)
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead
with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always
be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.
It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine
right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile.
. . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial
as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
. . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only
a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you,
or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful.
Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses.
You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth
while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you!
Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism--
that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met
you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are,
of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is
such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars.
But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us
at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
She would suddenly stop in front of that painting, and whatever she was saying or doing at that precise moment came to an abrupt halt in the presence of the colour yellow. It was her solace. Her inspiration and confessional.
Sarah Winman (Tin Man)
Greenlights can also be disguised as yellow and red lights. A caution, a detour, a thoughtful pause, an interruption, a disagreement, indigestion, sickness, and pain. A full stop, a jackknife, an intervention, failure, suffering, a slap in the face, death. We don’t like yellow and red lights. They slow us down or stop our flow. They’re hard. They’re a shoeless winter. They say no, but sometimes give us what we need.
Matthew McConaughey (Greenlights)
Lot of damn mixin' things up and saying, hey, what'll happen if we add a drop of the yellow stuff, and then goin' around without yer eyebrows for a fortnight.
Terry Pratchett (Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1))
Don't you miss it?" I'd ask Aidan. "All that Hollywood sunshine?"
"It's like hating the color yellow," she'd say, "and living in a golden age.
Amber Dermont (The Starboard Sea)
In a universe, on a continent, in a country, in a state, in a county, on a river, in a small yellow boat,' I said. 'That's what Mary used to say to explain the odds of us meeting. And you have to be born in roughly the same period. Those are the odds. And probably you need to speak the same language.'-- Cobb
Joseph Monninger (Eternal on the Water)
The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with the nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
What will your help cost me?”
“Did I say I would help you?” His eyes went to the cream ribbons trailing up from her shoes to wrap around her ankles until they disappeared under the hem of her eyelet dress. It was one of her mother’s old gowns, covered in a stitched pattern of pale purple thistles, tiny yellow flowers, and little foxes.
Stephanie Garber (Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #1))
There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they're honest men or dishonest men.
"Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes--honest and dishonest.
"Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.
Now there are some, and I don't just mean Communists like you, but thinking men of all political parties, who think that not many of these gods actually exist. Some believe that none of them exist. There's just us and an ocean of darkness around us. I'm no philosopher or poet, how would I know the truth? It's true that all these gods seem to do awfully little work - much like our politicians - and yet keep winning reelection to their golden thrones in heaven, year after year. That's not to say I don't respect them, Mr. Premier! Don't you ever let that blasphemous idea into your yellow skull. My country is the kind where it pays to play it both ways: the Indian entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere, at the same time.
Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger)
They say women have no conscience about laws, don't they?" Mrs. MacAvelly suggested.
"Why should we?" answered her friend. "We don't make 'em—nor God—nor nature. Why on earth should we respect a set of silly rules made by some men one day and changed by some more the next?"
(from According to Solomon)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories)
the toilet is an intimacy
only shared with parents when you are young
and once again when they are older
and with lovers when say on a Sunday
morning stretching into the bathroom
you wake to the sound of stream into bowl
and go to hug the naked body
stood with its back to you and kiss the neck
and taste the whole of the night on there
and smell the morning’s pale yellow loss
and take the whole of him in your hand
and feel the water moving through him
and knowing that this is love the prone flesh
what we expel from the body and what we let inside
Andrew McMillan (Physical)
But it will make mistakes," she says. "Hadoop will probably get us from a hundred thousand buildings down to, like, five thousand."
"So we're down to five days instead of five years."
"Wrong!" Kat says. "Because guess what--we have ten thousand friends. It's called"--she clicks a tab triumphantly and fat yellow letters appear on the screen--"Mechanical Turk. Instead of sending jobs to computers, like Hadoop, it sends jobs to real people. Lots of them. Mostly Estonians."
She commands King Hadoop and ten thousand Estonian footmen. She is unstoppable.
Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1))
...it was one of the best meals we ever ate.
Perhaps that is because it was the first conscious one, for me at least; but the fact that we remember it with such queer clarity must mean that it had other reasons for being important. I suppose that happens at least once to every human. I hope so.
Now the hills are cut through with superhighways, and I can't say whether we sat that night in Mint Canyon or Bouquet, and the three of us are in some ways even more than twenty-five years older than we were then. And still the warm round peach pie and the cool yellow cream we ate together that August night live in our hearts' palates, succulent, secret, delicious.
M.F.K. Fisher (The Gastronomical Me)
My opinion is, that all these old podestas, these ancient condottieri, — for the Cavalcanti have commanded armies and governed provinces, — my opinion, I say, is, that they have buried their millions in corners, the secret of which they have transmitted only to their eldest sons, who have done the same from generation to generation; and the proof of this is seen in their yellow and dry appearance, like the florins of the republic, which, from being constantly gazed upon, have become reflected in them.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
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)
I’ve always wanted to go to England. I just never thought it would be after I was dead, on a quest, on a bright yellow warship.” “England?” “That’s where we’re heading. Didn’t you know?” When I thought about England, which wasn’t very often, I thought of the Beatles, Mary Poppins, and guys wearing bowler hats, carrying umbrellas, and saying pip, pip cheerio.
Rick Riordan (The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3))
Inside your head you hear
a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up
in a stranger’s bathroom,
standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away
from the dirtiest thing you know.
All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly
suddenly only darkness.
In the living room, in the broken yard,
in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport
bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of
my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away.
For thirty years now I have been studying my fellow-men. I do not know very much about them. I should certainly hesitate to engage a servant on his face, and yet I suppose it is on the face that for the most part we judge the persons we meet. We draw our conclusions from the shape of the jaw, the look in the eyes, the contour of the mouth. I wonder if we are more often right than wrong. Why novels and plays are so often untrue to life is because their authors, perhaps of necessity, make their characters all of a piece. They cannot afford to make them self-contradictory, for then they become incomprehensible, and yet self-contradictory is what most of us are. We are a haphazard bundle of inconsistent qualities. In books on logic they will tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air; but in that mixture of incongruities that makes up the self yellow may very well be a horse and cart and gratitude the middle of the week. I shrug my shoulders when people tell me that their first impressions of a person are always right. I think they must have small insight or great vanity. For my own part I find that the longer I know people the more they puzzled me: my oldest friends are just these of whom I can say that I don't know the first thing about them.
W. Somerset Maugham
That night our new husbands took us quickly. They took us calmly. They took us gently, but firmly, and without saying a word. They assumed we were the virgins the matchmakers had promised them we were and they took us with exquisite care. Now let me know if it hurts.
They took us flat on our backs on the bare floor of the Minute Motel. They took us downtown, in second-rate rooms at the Kumamoto Inn. They took us in the best hotels in San Francisco that a yellow man could set foot in at the time. The Kinokuniya Hotel. The Mikado. The Hotel Ogawa. They took us for granted and assumed we would do for them whatever it was we were told. Please turn toward the wall and drop down on your hands and knees (...)
They took us violently, with their fists, whenever we tried to resist. They took us even though we bit them. They took us even though we hit them (...).
They took us cautiously, as though they were afraid we might break. You’re so small. They took us coldly but knowledgeably — In 20 seconds you will lose all control —
and we knew there had been many others before us. They took us as we stared up blankly at the ceiling and waited for it to be over, not realizing that it would not be over for years.
Julie Otsuka (The Buddha in the Attic)
Let us consider letters - how they come at breakfast, and at night, with their yellow stamps and their green stamps, immortalized by the postmark - for to see one's own envelope on another's table is to realize how soon deeds sever and become alien. Then at last the power of the mind to quit the body is manifest, and perhaps we fear or hate or wish annihilated this phantom of ourselves, lying on the table. Still, there are letters that merely say how dinner's at seven; others ordering coal; making appointments. The hand in them is scarcely perceptible, let alone the voice or the scowl. Ah, but when the post knocks and the letter comes always the miracle seems repeated - speech attempted. Venerable are letters, infinitely brave, forlorn, and lost.
Virginia Woolf (Jacob's Room)
I am thinking of a certain September: Wood pigeon Red Admiral Yellow Harvest Orange Night. You said, ‘I love you.’ Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? ‘I love you’ is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them. I did worship them but now I am alone on a rock hewn out of my own body.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
Fortune favours the brave, sir," said Carrot cheerfully.
"Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis a vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?"
"Oh, no–one's ever heard of Fortune favouring them, sir."
"According to General Tacticus, it's because they favour themselves," said Vimes. He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks. "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "'Don't Have a Battle.'"
"Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. He pointed to the yellow horizon.
"See all that stuff in the air?" he said. "What do you think that is?"
"Mist?" said Vimes.
"Hah, yes. Klatchian mist! It's a sandstorm! The sand blows about all the time. Vicious stuff. If you want to sharpen your sword, just hold it up in the air."
"And it's just as well because otherwise you'd see Mount Gebra. And below it is what they call the Fist of Gebra. It's a town but there's a bloody great fort, walls thirty feet thick. 's like a big city all by itself. 's got room inside for thousands of armed men, war elephants, battle camels, everything. And if you saw that, you'd want me to turn round right now. Whats your famous general got to say about it, eh?"
"I think I saw something..." said Vimes. He flicked to another page. "Ah, yes, he says, 'After the first battle of Sto Lat, I formulated a policy which has stood me in good stead in other battles. It is this: if the enemy has an impregnable stronghold, see he stays there.'"
"That's a lot of help," said Jenkins.
Vimes slipped the book into a pocket.
"So, Constable Visit, there's a god on our side, is there?"
"But probably also a god on their side as well?"
"Very likely, sir. There's a god on every side."
"Let's hope they balance out, then.
Terry Pratchett (Jingo (Discworld, #21; City Watch, #4))
But if you ask me what I remember (about 1945),
I will say it was the year Franklin D. Roosevelt died and I got one of his flowers.
I will tell you that yellow rose give me the courage to do the right thing even if it was hard.
I will say it was the time in my life when I learned all of us is fragile as a mimosa blossom.
But the miracle of all is,
When push comes to shove, we can be just as tough as Hickory.
It mostly hurts at first. After a while it starts to feel better.
Joyce Moyer Hostetter (Blue (Ann Fay Honeycutt, #1))
But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
It takes just one, he says over and over. You hear that all the time in this business. One big case, and you can retire. That's one reason lawyers do so many sleazy things, like full-color ads in the yellow pages, and billboards, and placards on city buses, and telephone solicitation. You hold your nose, ignore the stench of what you're doing, ignore the snubs and snobbery of big-firm lawyers, because it takes only one.
John Grisham (The Rainmaker)
Why say 'the world is complicated' and stop there? I say the world is complicated but not incomprehensible. Only you have to look at it steadily. Isn't it true a person's shoulder hurts sometimes because they've got a disorder in their stomach? And then what does a stupid doctor do? Order massages for the shoulder. What does a wise doctor do? He takes time to think about it, watches the patient carefully, gives him some medicine for his stomach, and the pain in his shoulder goes away. Better yet, he explains to his patients what they have to do to keep their stomach from getting out of order. One day his patient's going to get old and die, just like himself, just like us, and one day, incredible as it may seem, the Empire's going to die, and how foolish people are who whine about it, and whine about how complicated the world is. A seamstress's room is complicated too, but even at night, with the lights out, she can reach out in the darkness and find the yellow thread, the needles, the pincushion. We couldn't, because we don't know the order things are in, in the seamstress's room. And we can't see the order the world is in. But all the same it's there, right under our eyes.
Angélica Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was)
It was she made me acquainted with love. She went by the peaceful name of Ruth I think, but I can't say for certain. Perhaps the name was Edith. She had a hole between her legs, oh not the bunghole I had always imagined, but a slit, and in this I put, or rather she put, my so-called virile member, not without difficulty, and I toiled and moiled until I discharged or gave up trying or was begged by her to stop. A mug's game in my opinion and tiring on top of that, in the long run. But I lent myself to it with a good enough grace, knowing it was love, for she had told me so. She bent over the couch, because of her rheumatism, and in I went from behind. It was the only position she could bear, because of her lumbago. It seemed all right to me, for I had seen dogs, and I was astonished when she confided that you could go about it differently. I wonder what she meant exactly. Perhaps after all she put me in her rectum. A matter of complete indifference to me, I needn't tell you. But is it true love, in the rectum? That's what bothers me sometimes. Have I never known true love, after all? She too was an eminently flat woman and she moved with short stiff steps, leaning on an ebony stick. Perhaps she too was a man, yet another of them. But in that case surely our testicles would have collided, while we writhed. Perhaps she held hers tight in her hand, on purpose to avoid it. She favoured voluminous tempestuous shifts and petticoats and other undergarments whose names I forget. They welled up all frothing and swishing and then, congress achieved, broke over us in slow cascades. And all I could see was her taut yellow nape which every now and then I set my teeth in, forgetting I had none, such is the power of instinct. We met in a rubbish dump, unlike any other, and yet they are all alike, rubbish dumps. I don't know what she was doing there. I was limply poking about in the garbage saying probably, for at that age I must still have been capable of general ideas, This is life. She had no time to lose, I had nothing to lose, I would have made love with a goat, to know what love was. She had a dainty flat, no, not dainty, it made you want to lie down in a corner and never get up again. I liked it. It was full of dainty furniture, under our desperate strokes the couch moved forward on its castors, the whole place fell about our ears, it was pandemonium. Our commerce was not without tenderness, with trembling hands she cut my toe-nails and I rubbed her rump with winter cream. This idyll was of short duration. Poor Edith, I hastened her end perhaps. Anyway it was she who started it, in the rubbish dump, when she laid her hand upon my fly. More precisely, I was bent double over a heap of muck, in the hope of finding something to disgust me for ever with eating, when she, undertaking me from behind, thrust her stick between my legs and began to titillate my privates. She gave me money after each session, to me who would have consented to know love, and probe it to the bottom, without charge. But she was an idealist. I would have preferred it seems to me an orifice less arid and roomy, that would have given me a higher opinion of love it seems to me. However. Twixt finger and thumb tis heaven in comparison. But love is no doubt above such contingencies. And not when you are comfortable, but when your frantic member casts about for a rubbing-place, and the unction of a little mucous membrane, and meeting with none does not beat in retreat, but retains its tumefaction, it is then no doubt that true love comes to pass, and wings away, high above the tight fit and the loose.
Samuel Beckett (Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable)
Quick dinner with ... Ang [Lee] and his wife Jane who's visiting with the children for a while. We talked about her work as a microbiologist and the behaviour of the epithingalingie under the influence of cholesterol. She's fascinated by cholesterol. Says it's very beautiful: bright yellow. She says Ang is wholly uninterested. He has no idea what she does.
I check this out for myself. 'What does Jane do?' I ask.
'Science,' he says vaguely.
Emma Thompson (The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film)
Your name is Do Kyungsoo. You have short-term memory loss, antesomething amnesia, so you won’t remember what happened last night. But let me help you out.
Last night I put my head on this pillow and my arms around your waist. My name’s Kim Jongin. I call you hyung. Yesterday you loved me. Today you’ll love me again.
This is where you undressed me.
This is where I undressed you.
And here I pushed you up against the wall and kissed you really hard (approximately, it was kind of dark) and we thought we should have sex.
Here you sat, dangling your legs. I put my palm on your kneecap and you bent forward and kissed me first.
We talked about ballet. You hummed a tune and my fingers did an arabresque here, grand jeté onto the floor, fouetté en tourant and then sissonne on the back of your hand. Pas de valse fast up your arm and you smiled.
I leaned on this and read your green sticky notes while you went around cleaning up invisible messes. It came to me that all the green looks like grass, and grass is boring without daisies. So I hope you like yellow?
And here’s Kim Jongin. Say hello to me?
Changdictator (Anterograde Tomorrow)
Wheeling around, he went blindly for the doors, messing up the piles, nearly knocking himself over on the coffee table.
Saxton got there first, blocking the way out with his body.
Blay's eyes locked on the males face." Get out of my way. Right now. You don't want to be around me."
"Is that not for me to decide."
Blay shifted his focus to those lips he knew so well. "Don't push me."
"If you don't get the fuck out of my way, I'm going to bend you over that desk of your-"
Wrong thing to say. In the wrong tone. At the wrong time.
Blay let out a roar that rattled the diamond-paned windows. Then he grabbed his lover by the back of the head and all but threw Saxton across the room. As the male caught himself of the desk, papers went flying, the confetti of yellow legal pad and computer printouts falling down like snow.
Saxton's torso curled around as he looked behind at what was coming at him.
"Too late to run." Blay growled as he ripped open his button fly.
Falling upon the male, he was rough with his hands, tearing the the layers that kept him from what he was going to take. When there were no barriers, he bared his fangs and bit down on Saxton's shoulder through his clothes, locking the male beneath him even as he grabbed those wrist and all but nailed them to the leather blotter.
And then he pushed in hard and let out everything he had, his body taking over .. . even as his heart stayed far, far away.
J.R. Ward (Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10))
Between the sleeping and the waking, it is there.
Between the rising and the resting, it is there.
It is always there.
It gnaws on my heart. It chews on my soul.
I turn aside and see it. I stop my ears and hear it. I cover myself and feel it.
There are no human words for what I mean.
It is the language of the bare bough and the cold stone, pronounced in the fell wind's sullen whisper and the metronomic drip-drip of the rain. It is the song the falling snow sings and the discordant clamour of sunlight ripped apart by the canopy and miserly filtered down.
It is what the unseeing eye sees. It is what the deaf ear heres.
It is the romantic ballad of death's embrace; the solemn hymn of offal dripping from bloody teeth; the lamentation of the bloated corpse rotting in the sun; the graceful ballet of maggots twisting in the ruins of God's temple.
Here in this gray land, we have no name. We are the carcasses reflected in the yellow eye.
Our bones are bleached within our skin; our empty sockets regard the crow.
Here in this shadow country, our tiny voices scratch like a fly's wing against unmoving air.
Ours is the language of imbeciles, the gibberish of idiots. The root and the vine have more to say than us.
So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof, a downpouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed, could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness which creeping in at keyholes and crevices, stole round window blinds, came into bedrooms, swallowed up here a jug and basin, there a bowl of red and yellow dahlias, there the sharp edges and firm bulk of a chest of drawers. Not only was furniture confounded; there was scarcely anything left of body or mind by which one could say, 'This is he,' or, 'This is she.
What if he could see this, his own skull, yellow and eroded? Two centuries old. Would he still speak? Would he speak, if he could see it, the grinning, aged skull? What would there be for him to say, to tell the people? What message could he bring?
What action would not be futile, when a man could look upon his own aged, yellowed skull?
Philip K. Dick (The Skull)
The nice thing about poetry is that you’re always stretching the definitions of words. Lawyers and scientists and scholars of one sort or another try to restrict the definitions, hoping that they can prevent people from fooling each other. But that doesn’t stop people from lying.
Cezanne painted a red barn by painting it ten shades of color: purple to yellow. And he got a red barn. Similarly, a poet will describe things many different ways, circling around it, to get to the truth.
My father also had a nice little simile. He said, “The truth is a rabbit in a bramble patch. And you can’t lay your hand on it. All you do is circle around and point, and say, ‘It’s in there somewhere.
For the Wife Beater's Wife
With blue irises her face is blossomed. Blue
Circling to yellow, circling to brown on her cheeks.
The long bone of her jaw untracked
She hides in our kitchen.
He sleeps it off next door.
Her chicken legs tucked under her
She's frantic with lies, animated
Before the swirling smoke.
On her cigarette she leaves red prints, red
Like a cut on the white cup.
Like a skin she pulls her sweater around her.
She brings the cold in with her.
In our kitchen she hides.
He sleeps it off next door, his great
Belly heaving with booze.
Again and again she tells the story
As if the details ever changed,
As if blows to the face were somehow
Different beating to beating.
We reach for her but can't help.
She retreats into her cold love of him
And looks across the table at us
As if across a sea.
Next door he claws out of sleep.
She says she thinks she'll do something
After all, with her hair tonight.
Walt, at about eleven, had a routine of looking at Seymour's wrists and telling him to take off his sweater. "Take off your sweater, hey, Seymour. Go ahead, hey. It's warm in here." S. would beam back at him, shine back at him. He loved that kind of horseplay from any of the kids. I did, too, but only off and on. He did invariably. He thrived, too, waxed strong, on all tactless or underconsidered remarks directed at him by family minors. In 1959, in fact, when on occasion I hear rather nettling news of the doings of my youngest brother and sister, I think on the quantities of joy they brought S. I remember Franny, at about four, sitting on his lap, facing him, and saying, with immense admiration, "Seymour, your teeth are so nice and yellow!" He literally staggered over to me to ask if I'd heard what she said.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
The Danube is not blue, as Karl Isidore Beck calls it in the lines which suggested to Strauss the fetching, mendacious title of his waltz. The Danube is blond, 'a szöke Duna', as the Hungarians say, but even that 'blond' is a Magyar gallantry, or a French one, since in 1904 Gaston Lavergnolle called it Le Beau Danube blond. More down to earth, Jules Verne thought of entitling a novel Le Beau Danube jaune. Muddy yellow is the water that grows murky at the bottom of these [the Strudlhof] steps.
Claudio Magris (Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea)
All that we can say is that everything is arranged in this life as though we entered it carrying the burden of obligations contracted in a former life; there is no reason inherent in the conditions of life on this earth that can make us consider ourselves obliged to do good, to be fastidious, to be polite even, nor make the talented artist consider himself obliged to begin over again a score of times a piece of work the admiration aroused by which will matter little to his body devoured by worms, like the patch of yellow wall painted with so much knowledge and skill by an artist who must for ever remain unknown and is barely identified under the name Vermeer. All these obligations which have not their sanction in our present life seem to belong to a different world, founded upon kindness, scrupulosity, self-sacrifice, a world entirely different from this, which we leave in order to be born into this world, before perhaps returning to the other to live once again beneath the sway of those unknown laws which we have obeyed because we bore their precepts in our hearts, knowing not whose hand had traced them there — those laws to which every profound work of the intellect brings us nearer and which are invisible only — and still! — to fools.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time [volumes 1 to 7])
The three of us exchanged glances but said nothing. After all, what was there to say? The truth was that hookers did take credit cards—or at least ours did! In fact, hookers were so much a part of the Stratton subculture that we classified them like publicly traded stocks: Blue Chips were considered the top-of-the-line hooker, zee crème de la crème. They were usually struggling young models or exceptionally beautiful college girls in desperate need of tuition or designer clothing, and for a few thousand dollars they would do almost anything imaginable, either to you or to each other. Next came the NASDAQs, who were one step down from the Blue Chips. They were priced between three and five hundred dollars and made you wear a condom unless you gave them a hefty tip, which I always did. Then came the Pink Sheet hookers, who were the lowest form of all, usually a streetwalker or the sort of low-class hooker who showed up in response to a desperate late-night phone call to a number in Screw magazine or the yellow pages. They usually cost a hundred dollars or less, and if you didn’t wear a condom, you’d get a penicillin shot the next day and then pray that your dick didn’t fall off. Anyway, the Blue Chips took credit cards, so what was wrong with writing them off on your taxes? After all, the IRS knew about this sort of stuff, didn’t they? In fact, back in the good old days, when getting blasted over lunch was considered normal corporate behavior, the IRS referred to these types of expenses as three-martini lunches! They even had an accounting term for it: It was called T and E, which stood for Travel and Entertainment. All I’d done was taken the small liberty of moving things to their logical conclusion, changing T and E to T and A: Tits and Ass!
Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street)
We commonly speak as though a single 'thing' could 'have' some characteristic. A stone, we say, is 'hard,' 'small,' 'heavy,' 'yellow,' 'dense,' etc.
That is how our language is made: 'The stone is hard.' And so on. And that way of talking is good enough for the marketplace: 'That is a new brand.' 'The potatoes are rotten.' 'The container is damaged.' ... And so on.
But this way of talking is not good enough in science or epistemology. To think straight, it is advisable to expect all qualities and attributes, adjectives, and so on to refer to at least -two- sets of interactions in time. ...
Language continually asserts by the syntax of subject and predicate that 'things' somehow 'have' qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the 'things' are produced, are seen as separate from other 'things,' and are made 'real' by their internal relations and by their behaviour in relationship with other things and with the speaker.
It is necessary to be quite clear about the universal truth that whatever 'things' may be in their pleromatic and thingish world, they can only enter the world of communication and meaning by their names, their qualities and their attributes (i.e., by reports of their internal and external relations and interactions).
Gregory Bateson (Mind and Nature)
We're made of good stuff, but you have to work to get it. Our good stuff is cased under hard shells that will cut your fingers and burn your hands if you try to break through them. Our good stuff is hidden under layers of guts and gross yellow goo that will make you say "yuck" the whole time your cleaning it away with a paper towel. And just when you think you have gotten all the bad stuff out of the way, there's more guts, more shells, and more goo. But we're made of really good stuff. If you work really, really hard.
Caela Carter (Forever, or a Long, Long Time)
Lilies of the field did not threaten to uproot themselves if they didn't like where they were planted. On the slopes of the mountains, saplings struggled to grow in the shallowest puddles of soil that collected on bald rocks. Along the side of the valley's single road, chicory and yellow trefoil had learned to thrive in waste spaces, where passing cars blew exhaust against them all day long. Like Olivia, they had no say over where their seeds took hold: When they could not change their surroundings, they themselves had to change.
Lisa Van Allen (The Night Garden)
What would you like to be?" Nina asks.
Nathaniel tosses his magical tablecloth. "A superhero," he says. "A new one."
Caleb is sure they could muster up Superman on short notice. "What's wrong with the old ones?"
Everything it turns out. Nathaniel doesn't like Superman because he can be felled by Kryptonite. Green Lantern's ring doesn't work on anything yellow. The Incredible Hulk is too stupid. Even Captain Marvel runs the risk of being tricked into saying the word Shazam! and turning himself back into young Billy Batson.
"How about Ironman?" Caleb suggests.
Nathaniel shakes his head. "He could rust."
"Nathaniel," Nina says gently, "nobody's perfect."
"But they are supposed to be." Nathaniel explains, an d Caleb understands. Tonight, Nathaniel needs to be invincible.
Jodi Picoult (Perfect Match)
What is toast?” says Snowman to himself, once they’ve run off. Toast is when you take a piece of bread – What is bread? Bread is when you take some flour – What is flour?
We’ll skip that part, it’s too complicated. Bread is something you can eat, made from a ground-up plant and shaped like a stone. You cook it . . . Please, why do you cook it?
Why don’t you just eat the plant? Never mind that part – Pay attention. You cook it, and then you cut it into slices, and you put a slice into a toaster, which is a metal box that heats up with electricity – What is electricity? Don’t worry about that. While the slice is in the toaster, you get out the butter – butter is a yellow grease, made from the mammary glands of – skip the butter. So, the toaster turns the slice of bread black on both sides with smoke coming out, and then this “toaster” shoots the slice up into the air, and it falls onto the floor . . .
Forget it,” says Snowman. “Let’s try again.” Toast was a pointless invention from the Dark Ages. Toast was an implement of torture that caused all those subjected to it to regurgitate in verbal form the sins and crimes of their past lives. Toast was a ritual item devoured by fetishists in the belief that it would enhance their kinetic and sexual powers.
Toast cannot be explained by any rational means.
Toast is me.
I am toast.
It’s only sixteen ninety-five," I say with a flutter of my lashes.
I prop my hands on my waist and stick out a hip, striking a pose worthy of a supermodel. "Look at me. Don’t I look serious?"
She collapses into the chair outside the dressing room in a fit of giggles so cute they make my insides fizz. "No! You must be stopped," she says.
"Why?" I strut down an aisle of yellowed lingerie, swiveling my hips, batting bras with flicks of my fingers. "I will be the king of the disco. I will be—" I spin and strike another pose. "An inspiration."
She sniffs and swipes at her eyes. "The real Dylan would die before he’d be seen in public in something like that."
"The real Dylan is boring." I brace my hands on the arms of her chair and lean down until our faces are a whisper apart. "And he’s not one fourth the kisser I am."
"Is that right?" Her lips quirk.
"You know it is."
Her smile melts, and her breath comes faster. "Yeah. I do.
Stacey Jay (Romeo Redeemed (Juliet Immortal, #2))
Knowing, above all, that I would come looking, and find what he had left for me, all that remained of The Jungle Book in the pocket of his doctor’s coat, that folder-up, yellowed page torn from the back of the book, with a bristle of thick, coarse hairs clenced inside. Galina, says my grandfather’s handwriting, above and below a child’s drawing of the tiger, who is curved like the blade of a scimitar across the page. Galina, it says, and that is how I know to find him again, in Galina, in the story he hadn’t told me but perhaps wished he had.
No one’s there,” I whisper, and no sooner have the words left my lips than someone knocks.
I startle violently enough that I knock over a candle. The silk rug catches almost instantly, yellow fire eating a quick path across the antique pattern. I’m still stamping out sparks when someone says, “What are you doing?”
I look up. Alex’s replacement stands in my doorway. And although it’s past three in the morning, she’s dressed as if she’s about to walk into a law school interview. She’s even wearing collar studs.
“Summoning the devil. What does it look like?
Victoria Lee (A Lesson in Vengeance)
ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they dont know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near
lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are
flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life
and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I
saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get
round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he
asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the
sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey
and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the
sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they
called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with
the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish
girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in
the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who
else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all
clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep
and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and
the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of
years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like
kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with
the old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her
lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the
castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman
going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and
the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and
the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets
and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the
jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was
a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the
Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me
under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then
I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I
yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes
and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and
his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
I walked past the lady in yellow robes and the maid bringing her a letter, past the soldier with a magnificent hat and the girl smiling at him, thinking of warm lips, brown eyes, blue eyes. Her brown eyes stopped me.
It's the painting from whose frame a girl looks out, ignoring her beefy music teacher, whose proprietary hand rests on her chair. The light is muted, winter light, but her face is bright.
I looked into her brown eyes and I recoiled. She was warning me of something-- she had looked up from her work to warn me. Her mouth was slightly open, as if she had just drawn a breath in order to say to me, "Don't!"
I moved backward, trying to get beyond the range of her urgency. But her urgency filled the corridor. "Wait," she was saying, "wait! Don't go!"
She had changed a lot in sixteen years. She was no longer urgent. In fact, she was sad. She was young and distracted, and her teacher was bearing down on her, trying to get her to pay attention. But she was looking out, looking for someone who would see her.
This time I read the title of the painting: Girl Interrupted at Her Music.
Interrupted at her music.- as my life had been, interrupted in the music of being seventeen, as her life had been, snatched and fixed on canvas: one moment made to stand still and to stand for all the other moments, whatever they would be or might have been. What life can recover from that?
I had something to tell her now "I see you," I said.
My boyfriend found me crying in the hallway.
"What's the matter with you?" he asked.
"Don't you see, she's trying to get out," I said, pointing at her.
Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
Say you have a dog, but you need to create a duck on the financial statements. Fortunately, there are specific accounting rules for what constitutes a duck: yellow feet, white covering, orange beak. So you take the dog and paint its feet yellow and its fur white and you paste an orange plastic beak on its nose, and then you say to your accountants, ‘This is a duck! Don’t you agree that it’s a duck?’ And the accountants say, ‘Yes, according to the rules, this is a duck.’ Everybody knows that it’s a dog, not a duck, but that doesn’t matter, because you’ve met the rules for calling it a duck.
Bethany McLean (The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron)
Paths of the mirror"
And above all else, to look with innocence. As if nothing was happening, which is true.
But you, I want to look at you until your face escapes from my fear like a bird from the sharp
edge of the night.
Like a girl made of pink chalk on a very old wall that is suddenly washed away by the rain.
Like when a flower blooms and reveals the heart that isn’t there.
Every gesture of my body and my voice to make myself into the offering,
the bouquet that is abandoned by
the wind on the porch.
Cover the memory of your face with the mask of who you will be and scare the girl you once were.
The night of us both scattered with the fog. It’s the season of cold foods.
And the thirst, my memory is of the thirst, me underneath, at the bottom, in the hole,
I drank, I remember.
To fall like a wounded animal in a place that was meant to be for revelations.
As if it meant nothing. No thing. Mouth zipped. Eyelids sewn. I forgot.
Inside, the wind. Everything closed and the wind inside.
Under the black sun of the silence the words burned slowly.
But the silence is true. That’s why I write. I’m alone and I write. No, I’m not alone.
There’s somebody here shivering.
Even if I say sun and moon and star I’m talking about things that happen to me. And what did I wish for? I wished for a perfect silence.
That’s why I speak.
The night is shaped like a wolf’s scream.
Delight of losing one-self in the presaged image. I rose from my corpse, I went looking for who I am.
Migrant of myself, I’ve gone towards the one who sleeps in a country of wind.
My endless falling into my endless falling where nobody waited for me –because when I saw who was waiting for me I saw no one but myself.
Something was falling in the silence. My last word was “I” but I was talking about the luminiscent dawn.
Yellow flowers constellate a circle of blue earth. The water trembles full of wind.
The blinding of day, yellow birds in the morning. A hand untangles the darkness, a hand drags
the hair of a drowned woman that never stops going through the mirror. To return to the memory of the body,
I have to return to my mourning bones, I have to understand what my voice is saying.
Alejandra Pizarnik (Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962 - 1972)
Idiot!" he cried, "that from you! Here I sit, young Anthony, as I'll sit for a generation or more and watch such gay souls as you and Dick and Gloria Gilbery go past me, dancing and singing and loving and hating one another and being moved, being eternally moved. And I am moved only by my lack of emotion. I shall sit and the snow will come--oh, for a Caramel to take notes--and another winter and I shall be thirty and you and Dick and Gloria will go on being eternally moved and dancing by me and singing. But after you've all gone I'll be saying things for new Dicks to write down, and listening to the disillusions and cynicisms and emotions of new Anthonys--yes, and talking to new Glorias about the tans of summers yet to come."
The firelight flurried up on the hearth. Maury left the window, stirred the blaze with a poker, and dropped a log upon the andirons. Then he sat back in his chair and the remnants of his voice faded in the new fire that spit red and yellow along the bark.
"After all, Anthony, it's you who are very romantic and young. It's you who are infinitely more susceptible and afraid of your calm being broken. It's me who tries again and again to be moved--let myself go a thousand times and I'm always me. Nothing--quite--stirs me.
"Yet," he murmured after another long pause, "there was something about that little girl with her absurd tan that was eternally old--like me.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Who is John Galt?"
The light was ebbing, and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face. The bum had said it simply, without expression. But from the sunset far at the end of the street, yellow glints caught his eyes, and the eyes looked straight at Eddie Willers, mocking and still - as if the question had been addressed to the causeless uneasiness within him.
"Why did you say that?" asked Eddie Willers, his voice tense.
The bum leaned against the side of the doorway; a wedge of broken glass behind him reflected the metal yellow of the sky.
"Why does it bother you?" he asked.
"It doesn't," snapped Eddie Willers.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Arms and legs thrashing. The hammer of blood.
I’m coming, says Jude.
And holds her breath. Orgasm is brief, nonviolent.
What color? I say
Devastating blue, she says. The pale blue eyes of a murdered boy.
You remembered, she says.
Jude comes in colors. How could I forget. Trembling blond orgasms that seem to piss her off and rare pink orgasms that never end. Chemical red orgasms that fill her with guilt and perfect orgasms black as fresh earth. Orgasms shadowy and gray that may or may not cause her to weep and orgasms the color of bruised skin, orgasms that fade from purple to yellow and remain visible for days.
Will Christopher Baer
Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies:
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers yellow'd with their age
Be scorn'd like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme.
So long time has passed since those days, and since that story, which is still vivid in my memory, and even more vivid than all the rest. Some times I stay alone in my work - room here, in my father's old mansion in Pasadena, and I look through the old, yellow pages again and again. Then I go back to the north part which is furnished in my style, with many colored Bulgarian carpets and blankets (special kind of Bulgarian blankets with long fur), I make my coffee in a cooper coffee - pot, which has been brought from there, and my thoughts wonder to those absurd memories of mine...
Very often some friends ask me - what is that unusual memories of yours? I can't explain to them, better say I don't want to, and I always avoid the answer by saying - a la Bulgaro - in a Bulgarian way..."Oh, yes, yes"...
Alexandar Tomov (A la bulgaro)
Anna?" Someone knocks on my door, and it startles me out of my seat.
No.Not someone. St. Clair.
I'm wearing an old Mayfield Dairy T-shirt, complete with yellow-and-brown cow logo,and hot pink flannel pajama bottoms covered in giant strawberries. I am not even wearing a bra.
"Anna,I know you're in there. I can see your light."
"Hold on a sec!" I blurt. "I'll be right there." I grab my black hoodie and zip it up over the cow's face before wrenching open the door. "Hisorryaboutthat. Come in."
I open the door wide but he stands there for a moment, just staring at me. I can't read the expression on his face. Then he breaks into a mischievous smile and brushes past me.
"No,I mean it. Cute."
And even though he doesn't mean it like I-want-to-leave-my-girlfriend-and-start-dating-you cute,something flickers inside of me. The "force of strength and destruction" Tita de la Garza knew so well.St. Clair stands in the center of my room.He scratches his head, and his T-shirt lifts up on one side, exposing a slice of bare stomach.
Foomp! My inner fire ignites.
"It's really...er...clean," he says.
Fizz. Flames extinguished.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
If he wasn't angry, he certainly did a good imitation. His voice was clipped and as hard as stone. She wrung her hands together. "I love you. Clay."
"No, you don't."
Meg felt as though he'd just slapped her. "Yes, I do. When you leave this town, I'll go with you."
Narrowing his eyes, he studied her. "Will you marry me?"
"Will you give me children?"
"If I can. Kirk and I were never able to conceive, but if I can have children, I want to have yours."
"In this town that we move to, wherever it is, will you walk down the street with me?"
"Holding my hand?"
"And the hands of my children?"
He unfolded his arms and took a step toward her. She wanted to fling herself into his embrace, but something hard in his eyes stopped her.
"And what happens, Mrs. Warner, when someone you know rides through town and points at me and calls me a yellow-bellied coward? What will you do then? Will you let go of my hand and take my children to the other side of the street? Will you pretend that you haven't kissed me, that you haven't lain with me beneath the stars?" With disgust marring his features, he turned away. "You think I'm a coward. Go home."
"I don't think that. I love you."
He spun around. "You don't believe in that love, you don't believe in me."
"Yes, I do."
He stalked toward her. She backed into the corner and bent her head to meet his infuriated gaze.
"How strongly do you believe in our love?" he asked, his voice ominously low. "If they threatened to strip off your clothes unless you denied our love, would you deny our love?"
He gave her no chance to respond, but continued on, his voice growing deeper and more ragged, as though he were dredging up events from the past.
"If they wouldn't let you sleep until you denied our love, would you deny our love so you could lay your head on a pillow?
"If they stabbed a bayonet into your backside every time your eyes drifted closed, would you deny our love so your flesh wouldn't be pierced?
"If they applied a hot brand to your flesh until you screamed in agony, would you deny our love so they'd take away the iron?
"If they placed you before a firing squad, would you say you didn't love me so they wouldn't shoot you?"
He stepped back and plowed his hands through his hair. "You think I'm a coward. You don't think I have the courage to stand beside you and risk the anger of your father. I'd die before I turned away from anyone or anything I believed in. You won't even walk by my side."
He looked the way she imagined soldiers who had lost a battle probably looked: weary, tired of the fight, disillusioned.
"You don't believe in me," he said quietly. "How can you believe in our love?
Lorraine Heath (Always to Remember)
How much such a little moon can do. There are days when everything about one is bright, light, scarcely stated in the clear air and yet distinct. Even what lies nearest has tones of distance, has been taken away and is only shown, not proffered; and everything related to expanse–the river, the bridges, the longs streets, and the squares that squander themselves–has taken that expanse in behind itself, is painted on it as on silk. It is not possible to say what a bright green wagon on the Pont-Neuf can then become, or some red that is not to be held in, or even a simple placard on the party wall of a pearl-grey group of houses. Everything is simplified, brought into a few right, clear planes, like the face in a Manet portrait. And nothing is trivial and superfluous. The booksellers on the quai open their stalls, and the fresh or worn yellow of their books, the violet brown of the bindings, the bigger green of an album–everything harmonizes, counts, takes part, creating a fulness in which nothing lacks
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
Couldn’t we camp down by the lakes?” Nynaeve asked, patting her face with her kerchief. “It must be cooler down by the water.”
“Light,” Mat said, “I’d just like to stick my head in one of them. I might never take it out.”
Just then something roiled the waters of the nearest lake, the dark water phosphorescing as a huge body rolled beneath the surface. Length on man-thick length sent ripples spreading, rolling on and on until at last a tail rose, waving a point like a wasp’s stinger for an instant in the twilight, at least five spans into the air. All along that length fat tentacles writhed like monstrous worms, as many as a centipede’s legs. It slid slowly beneath the surface and was gone, only the fading ripples to say it had ever been.
Rand closed his mouth and exchanged a look with Perrin. Perrin’s yellow eyes were as disbelieving as he knew his own must be. Nothing that big could live in a lake that size. Those couldn’t have been hands on those tentacles. They couldn’t have been.
“On second thought,” Mat said faintly, “I like it right here just fine.
Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1))
How do we exorcise one of the Jinn?"
He shrugged. "You got Yellow Pages?"
Jai snorted. "Yes, Ari. There are Aissawa Exorcists in the Yellow Pages."
Huffing, Ari walked away from him. "You really need to work on intonation when you use sarcasm. That way people will know when you're being an asshole."
"And you need to work on your gullibility."
"Well, I was under the impression you have no sense of humour so forgive me for believing everything you say."
"Well that should be fun."
"See!" she threw over her shoulder. "No intonation.
Samantha Young (Smokeless Fire (Fire Spirits, #1))
One went to the door of the Beloved and knocked.
A voice asked: “Who is there?” He answered: “It is I.”
The voice said: “There is no room here for me and thee.”
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation
this man returned to the door of the Beloved.
A voice from within asked: “Who is there?”
The man said: “It is Thou.”
The door was opened for him.
The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.
Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test.
When your chest is free of your limiting ego,
Then you will see the ageless Beloved.
You can not see yourself without a mirror;
Look at the Beloved, He is the brightest mirror.
Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky
And you lift me up out of the two worlds.
I want your sun to reach my raindrops,
So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.
There is a candle in the heart of man, waiting to be kindled.
In separation from the Friend, there is a cut waiting to be
O, you who are ignorant of endurance and the burning
fire of love–
Love comes of its own free will, it can’t be learned
in any school.
There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.
With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.
There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.
This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.
Paris has a child, and the forest has a bird; the bird is called the sparrow; the child is called the gamin. Couple these two ideas which contain, the one all the furnace, the other all the dawn; strike these two sparks together, Paris, childhood; there leaps out from them a little being. Homuncio, Plautus would say. This little being is joyous. He has not food every day, and he goes to the play every evening, if he sees good. He has no shirt on his body, no shoes on his feet, no roof over his head; he is like the flies of heaven, who have none of these things. He is from seven to thirteen years of age, he lives in bands, roams the streets, lodges in the open air, wears an old pair of trousers of his father's, which descend below his heels, an old hat of some other father, which descends below his ears, a single suspender of yellow listing; he runs, lies in wait, rummages about, wastes time, blackens pipes, swears like a convict, haunts the wine-shop, knows thieves, calls gay women thou, talks slang, sings obscene songs, and has no evil in his heart. This is because he has in his heart a pearl, innocence; and pearls are not to be dissolved in mud. So long as man is in his childhood, God wills that he shall be innocent. If one were to ask that enormous city: "What is this?" she would reply: "It is my little one.
Victor Hugo (Works of Victor Hugo. Les Miserables, Notre-Dame de Paris, Man Who Laughs, Toilers of the Sea, Poems & More)
Two lovers went to the museum and
rooms. He saw a painting and stood in front
for too long. It was a few minutes before she
realized he had gotten stuck. He was stuck
at a painting. She stood next to him, looking
face and then the face in the painting. What
see? she asked. I don't know, he said. He didn't know. She was disappointed, then bored. He
looking at a face and she was looking at her watch.
This is where everything changed. There was
a distance between them. He was looking at
but it might as well have been a cabbage or a sugar beet. Perhaps it was something about
near pink. He didn't know how to say it.
he still didn't know how to say it, and she was gone.
Richard Siken (War of the Foxes)
He gives her his Art History lecture.
‘Then you get Mo-net and Ma-net, that’s a little tricky, Mo-net was the one did all the water lilies and shit, his colors were blues and greens, Ma-net was the one did Bareass on the Grass and shit, his colors were browns and greens. Then you get Bonnard, he did all the interiors and shit, amazing light, and then you get Van Guk, he’s the one with the ear and shit, and Say-zanne, he’s the one with the apples and shit, you get Kandinsky, a bad mother, all them pick-up-sticks pictures, you get my man Mondrian, he’s the one with the rectangles and shit, his colors were red yellow and blue, you get Moholy-Nagy, he did all the plastic thingummies and shit, you get Mar-cel Du-champ, he’s the devil in human form….’
He looks up.
Our eyes lock,and he breaks into a slow smile. My heart beats faster and faster. Almost there.He sets down his book and stands.And then this-the moment he calls my name-is the real moment everything changes.
He is no longer St. Clair, everyone's pal, everyone's friend.
He is Etienne. Etienne,like the night we met. He is Etienne,he is my friend.
He is so much more.
Etienne.My feet trip in three syllables. E-ti-enne. E-ti-enne, E-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate. He is so beautiful, so perfect.
My throat catches as he opens his arms and wraps me in a hug.My heart pounds furiously,and I'm embarrassed,because I know he feels it. We break apart, and I stagger backward. He catches me before I fall down the stairs.
"Whoa," he says. But I don't think he means me falling.
I blush and blame it on clumsiness. "Yeesh,that could've been bad."
Phew.A steady voice.
He looks dazed. "Are you all right?"
I realize his hands are still on my shoulders,and my entire body stiffens underneath his touch. "Yeah.Great. Super!"
"Hey,Anna. How was your break?"
John.I forget he was here.Etienne lets go of me carefully as I acknowledge Josh,but the whole time we're chatting, I wish he'd return to drawing and leave us alone. After a minute, he glances behind me-to where Etienne is standing-and gets a funny expression on hs face. His speech trails off,and he buries his nose in his sketchbook. I look back, but Etienne's own face has been wiped blank.
We sit on the steps together. I haven't been this nervous around him since the first week of school. My mind is tangled, my tongue tied,my stomach in knots. "Well," he says, after an excruciating minute. "Did we use up all our conversation over the holiday?"
The pressure inside me eases enough to speak. "Guess I'll go back to the dorm." I pretend to stand, and he laughs.
"I have something for you." He pulls me back down by my sleeve. "A late Christmas present."
"For me? But I didn't get you anything!"
He reaches into a coat pocket and brings out his hand in a fist, closed around something very small. "It's not much,so don't get excited."
"Ooo,what is it?"
"I saw it when I was out with Mum, and it made me think of you-"
"Etienne! Come on!"
He blinks at hearing his first name. My face turns red, and I'm filled with the overwhelming sensation that he knows exactly what I'm thinking. His expression turns to amazement as he says, "Close your eyes and hold out your hand."
Still blushing,I hold one out. His fingers brush against my palm, and my hand jerks back as if he were electrified. Something goes flying and lands with a faith dink behind us. I open my eyes. He's staring at me, equally stunned.
"Whoops," I say.
He tilts his head at me.
"I think...I think it landed back here." I scramble to my feet, but I don't even know what I'm looking for. I never felt what he placed in my hands. I only felt him. "I don't see anything! Just pebbles and pigeon droppings," I add,trying to act normal.
Where is it? What is it?
"Here." He plucks something tiny and yellow from the steps above him. I fumble back and hold out my hand again, bracing myself for the contact. Etienne pauses and then drops it from a few inches above my hand.As if he's avoiding me,too.
It's a glass bead.A banana.
He clears his throat. "I know you said Bridgette was the only one who could call you "Banana," but Mum was feeling better last weekend,so I took her to her favorite bead shop. I saw that and thought of you.I hope you don't mind someone else adding to your collection. Especially since you and Bridgette...you know..."
I close my hand around the bead. "Thank you."
"Mum wondered why I wanted it."
"What did you tell her?"
"That it was for you,of course." He says this like, duh.
I beam.The bead is so lightweight I hardly feel it, except for the teeny cold patch it leaves in my palm.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Do you ever wear leather?" the guy asks.
"Leather. Do you like leather?"
"It doesn't exactly wipe me out."
"I like to see boys in leather."
I look at him cool. "Okay," I say, "what is it you want and how much are you willing to pay for it?"
"I've got a leather jacket upstairs...Would you put it on?"
"Just put it on?"
"I'll go and get it."
He leaves the horror hole and returns a few minutes later holding a leather flying jacket with a lambswool collar. There are tears in the jacket's sleeves, and the lambswool is yellow with age. John Wayne could've worn it in one of those crappy war films he made. "Put it on," the guy says.
I give him a spiky smile and put on the jacket. "Okay, where's the plane, and what time's take-off?"
"Drop your jeans and turn around.
The savage rushing of the river seemed to be inside her head, inside her body. Even when the oarswomen, their guides, were speaking to her, she had the impression she couldn't quite hear them because of the roar. Not of the river that did indeed roar, just behind them, close to the simple shelter they'd made for her, but because of an internal roar as of the sound of a massive accumulation of words, spoken all at once, but collected over a lifetime, now trying to leave her body. As they rose to her lips, and in response to the question: Do you want to go home? she leaned over a patch of yellow grass near her elbow and threw up.
All the words from decades of her life filled her throat. Words she had said or had imagined saying or had swallowed before saying to her father, dead these many years. All the words to her mother. To her husbands. Children. Lovers. The words shouted back at the television set, spreading its virus of mental confusion.
Once begun, the retching went on and on. She would stop, gasping for breath, rest a minute, and be off again. Draining her body of precious fluid... Soon, exhausted, she was done.
No, she had said weakly, I don't want to go home. I'll be all right now.
Alice Walker (Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart)
What Greenspan was saying, in other words, was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with bidding up to $100 million in share value some hot-air Internet stock, because the lack of that company’s “physical value” (i.e., the actual money those three employees weren’t earning) could be overcome by the inherent value of their “ideas.” To say that this was a radical reinterpretation of the entire science of economics is an understatement—economists had never dared measure “value” except in terms of actual concrete production. It was equivalent to a chemist saying that concrete becomes gold when you paint it yellow. It was lunacy.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
Dear Pen Pal,
I know it’s been a few years since I last wrote you. I hope you’re still there. I’m not sure you ever were. I never got any letters back from you when I was a kid. But in a way it was always therapeutic. Everyone else judges everything I say. And here you are: some anonymous person who never says “boo.” Maybe you just read my letters and laughed or maybe you didn’t read my letters or maybe you don’t even exist. It was pretty frustrating when I was young, but now I’m glad that you won’t respond. Just listen. That’s what I want.
My dog died. I don’t know if you remember, but I had a beagle. He was a good dog. My best friend. I’d had him as far back as I could remember, but one day last month he didn’t come bounding out of his red doghouse like usual. I called his name. But no response. I knelt down and called out his name. Still nothing. I looked in his doghouse. There was blood everywhere. Cowering in the corner was my dog. His eyes were wild and there was an excessive amount of saliva coming out of his mouth. He was unrecognizable. Both frightened and frightening at the same time. The blood belonged to a little yellow bird that had always been around. My dog and the bird used to play together. In a strange way, it was almost like they were best friends. I know that sounds stupid, but… Anyway, the bird had been mangled. Ripped apart. By my dog. When he saw that I could see what he’d done, his face changed to sadness and he let out a sound that felt like the word ‘help.’ I reached my hand into his doghouse. I know it was a dumb thing to do, but he looked like he needed me. His jaws snapped. I jerked my hand away before he could bite me.
My parents called a center and they came and took him away. Later that day, they put him to sleep. They gave me his corpse in a cardboard box. When my dog died, that was when the rain cloud came back and everything went to hell…
Bert V. Royal (Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead)
I remembered during puberty, through the anorexic mists of intermittent menstrual cycles, that man, my father, lifting Shirley's nightdress over her head and asking her in his mocking way to choose what colour condom she wanted. 'Red or yellow?' Which did she choose? I can't remember. Perhaps she alternated. Perhaps there were other colours. It didn't happen once. It happened again and again. I had no power to stop it. That man, my father, had some control over me. I was drugged by the black silence in that big house, the vile whiff of aftershave, the crushing torment of inevitability. My father fucked Shirley using red or yellow condoms and it was those condoms that brought it all to an end. It was my last realization of the day; any more would have been too much to contemplate.
That time when my mother had found used condoms in bedroom, he had admitted, after a pointless burst my father's of denial, that he had been going to prostitutes. That was no doubt true but I can't imagine clients take used condoms away with them; prostitutes would surely get rid of the things. No. My father kept those used condoms as a prize. He was fucking his fourteen-year-old-daughter. He was proud of it.
Rebecca welled up with tears. Poor thing, she kept saying. Poor thing.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
Say you could view a time lapse film of our planet: what would you see?
Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.”
The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting, and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up- mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back.
A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash-frames.
Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and crumble, like paths of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any image but the hunched shadowless figures of ghosts.
Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
This afternoon I walked through the city, making for a café where I was to meet Raphael. It was about half-past two on a day that had never really got light. It began to snow. The low clouds made a grey ceiling for the city; the snow muffled the noise of the cars until it became almost rhythmical; a steady, shushing noise, like the sound of tides beating endlessly on marble walls. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. There was a park. I entered it and followed a path through an avenue of tall, ancient trees with wide, dusky, grassy spaces on either side of them. The pale snow sifted down through bare winter branches. The lights of the cars on the distant road sparkled through the trees: red, yellow, white. It was very quiet. Though it was not yet twilight the streetlights shed a faint light. People were walking up and down on the path. An old man passed me. He looked sad and tired. He had broken veins on his cheeks and a bristly white beard. As he screwed up his eyes against the falling snow, I realised I knew him. He is depicted on the northern wall of the forty-eighth western hall. He is shown as a king with a little model of a walled city in one hand while the other hand he raises in blessing. I wanted to seize hold of him and say to him: In another world you are a king, noble and good! I have seen it! But I hesitated a moment too long and he disappeared into the crowd. A woman passed me with two children. One of the children had a wooden recorder in his hands. I knew them too. They are depicted in the twenty-seventh southern hall: a statue of two children laughing, one of them holding a flute. I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in the snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
Show me the telegrams they sent you, one every day for six days while they were walking six hundred miles on their pigeon toes."
1. Feet are as good as wings if you have to. Chickamauga. ...
3. In the night sleeping you forget whether you have wings or feet or neither. Chattahoochee. ...
6. Pity me. Far is far. Near is near. and there is no place like home when the yellow roses climb up the ladders and sing in the early summer. Pity me. Wednesday Evening In The Twilight And The Gloaming.
Well, Wednesday Evening was the only one I noticed making any mention of the yellow roses in her telegram," Hatrack the Horse explained.
Then the old man and the girl sat on the cracker box saying nothing, only listening to the yellow roses all on fire with early summer climbing up th ecrooked ladders, up and down and crossways, some of them leaning out and curving and nearly falling.
Carl Sandburg (Rootabaga Stories)
In historical terms women, black people in general, were very attracted to very bright-colored clothing. Most people are frightened by color anyway...They just are. In this culture quiet colors are considered elegant. Civilized Western people wouldn’t buy bloodred sheets or dishes. There may be something more to it than what I am suggesting. But the slave population had no access even to what color there was, because they wore slave clothes, hand-me-downs, work clothes made out of burlap and sacking. For them a colored dress would be luxurious; it wouldn’t matter whether it was rich or poor cloth . . . just to have a red or a yellow dress. I stripped Beloved of color so that there are only the small moments when Sethe runs amok buying ribbons and bows, enjoying herself the way children enjoy that kind of color. The whole business of color was why slavery was able to last such a long time. It wasn’t as though you had a class of convicts who could dress themselves up and pass themselves off. No, these were people marked because of their skin color, as well as other features. So color is a signifying mark. Baby Suggs dreams of color and says, “Bring me a little lavender.” It is a kind of luxury. We are so inundated with color and visuals. I just wanted to pull it back so that one could feel that hunger and that delight.
To remember, for instance, that here just a year ago, just at this time, at this hour, on this pavement, I wandered just as lonely, just as dejected as to-day.
And one remembers that then one’s dreams were sad, and though the past was no better one feels as though it had somehow been better, and that life was more peaceful, that one was free from the black thoughts that haunt one now; that one was free from the gnawing of conscience — the gloomy, sullen gnawing which now gives me no rest by day or by night.
And one asks oneself where are one’s dreams. And one shakes one’s head and says how rapidly the years fly by! And again one asks oneself what has one done with one’s years.
Where have you buried your best days? Have you lived or not?
Look, one says to oneself, look how cold the world is growing. Some more years will pass, and after them will come gloomy solitude; then will come old age trembling on its crutch, and after it misery and desolation.
Your fantastic world will grow pale, your dreams will fade and die and will fall like the yellow leaves from the trees. . . .
Oh, Nastenka! you know it will be sad to be left alone, utterly alone, and to have not even anything to regret — nothing, absolutely nothing . . . for all that you have lost, all that, all was nothing, stupid, simple nullity, there has been nothing but dreams!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (White Nights)
sheets of yellow flowers glow in the fields, and Jutta wonders if any of them grow over the bones of her brother. Before dark, a well-dressed man with a prosthetic leg boards the train. He sits beside her and lights a cigarette. Jutta clutches her bag between her knees; she is certain that he was wounded in the war, that he will try to start a conversation, that her deficient French will betray her. Or that Max will say something. Or that the man can already tell. Maybe she smells German. He’ll say, You did this to me. Please. Not in front of my son. But the train jolts into motion, and the man finishes his cigarette and gives her a preoccupied smile and promptly falls asleep.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
Or should I have said that I wanted to die, not in the sense of wanting to throw myself off of that train bridge over there, but more like wanting to be asleep forever because there isn’t any making up for killing women or even watching women get killed, or for that matter killing men and shooting them in the back and shooting them more times than necessary to actually kill them and it was like just trying to kill everything you saw sometimes because it felt like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone and knowing from being taught your whole life that there is no making up for what you are doing, you’re taught that your whole life, but then even your mother is so happy and proud because you lined up your sign posts and made people crumple and they were not getting up ever and yeah they might have been trying to kill you too, so you say, What are you goona do?, but really it doesn’t matter because by the end you failed at the one good thing you could have done, and the one person you promised would live is dead, and you have seen all things die in more manners than you’d like to recall and for a while the whole thing fucking ravaged your spirit like some deep-down shit, man, that you didn’t even realize you had until only the animals made you sad, the husks of dogs filled with explosives and old arty shells and the fucking guts of everything stinking like metal and burning garbage and you walk around and the smell is deep down into you now and you say, How can metal be so on fire? and Where is all this fucking trash coming from? and even back home you’re getting whiffs of it and then that thing you started to notice slipping away is gone and now it’s becoming inverted, like you have bottomed out in your spirit but yet a deeper hole is being dug because everybody is so fucking happy to see you, the murderer, the fucking accomplice, that at-bare-minimum bearer of some fucking responsibility, and everyone wants to slap you on the back and you start to want to burn the whole goddamn country down, you want to burn every yellow ribbon in sight, and you can’t explain it but it’s just, like, Fuck you, but then you signed up to go so it’s your fault, really, because you went on purpose, so you are in the end doubly fucked, so why not just find a spot and curl up and die and let’s make it as painless as possible because you are a coward and, really, cowardice got you into this mess because you wanted to be a man and people made fun of you and pushed you around in the cafeteria and the hallways in high school because you liked to read books and poems sometimes and they’d call you a fag and really deep down you know you went because you wanted to be a man and that’s never gonna happen now and you’re too much of a coward to be a man and get it over with so why not find a clean, dry place and wait it out with it hurting as little as possible and just wait to go to sleep and not wake up and fuck ‘em all.
Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds)
While endowed with the morose temper of genius, he [Lakes, Arts Professor] lacked originality and was aware of that lack; his own paintings always seemed beautifully clever imitations, although one could never quite tell whose manner he mimicked. His profound knowledge of innumerable techniques, his indifference to 'schools' and 'trends', his detestation of quacks, his conviction that there was no difference whatever between a genteel aquarelle of yesterday and, say, conventional neoplasticism or banal non-objectivism of today, and that nothing but individual talent mattered--these views made of him an unusual teacher. St Bart's was not particularly pleased either with Lake's methods or with their results, but kept him on because it was fashionable to have at least one distinguished freak on the staff. Among the many exhilarating things Lake taught was that the order of the solar spectrum is not a closed
circle but a spiral of tints from cadmium red and oranges through a strontian yellow and a pale paradisal green to cobalt blues and violets, at which point the sequence does not grade into red again but passes into another spiral, which starts with a kind of lavender grey and goes on to Cinderella shades transcending human perception. He taught that there is no such thing as the Ashcan School or the Cache Cache School or the Cancan School. That the work of art created with string, stamps, a Leftist newspaper, and the droppings of doves is based on a series of dreary platitudes. That there is nothing more banal and more bourgeois than paranoia. That Dali is really Norman Rockwell's twin brother kidnapped by gipsies in babyhood. That Van Gogh is second-rate and Picasso supreme, despite his commercial foibles; and that if Degas could immortalize a calèche, why could not Victor Wind do the same to a motor car?
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
One of my Norwegian teachers once asked me a question.
'If you were a flower, Bjørn, what kind of flower would you be?'
She always came up with the strangest questions. I think she liked messing around with me. I was an appreciative victim. I was seventeen. She was twice that.
'A flower, Bjørn?' she repeated. Her voice was compassionate, pleasant. She leaned over my desk. I still remember her scent: warm, spicy, full of moist secrets.
Everyone was quiet. Everyone was wondering what kind of flower Bjørn would be. Or they were all hoping i would stammer and blush, as i was wont to do whenever she leaned over me with all her scents and heady temptations.
But for once i had an answer to one of her incessant questions.
I told her about the Haleakala Silversword.
It grows only in and around the Haleakala volcano on Maui. It spends twenty years as a modest ball covered with shimmering silver hairs storing up its energy, and then suddenly one summer it explodes extravagantly into bloom in yellows and purples. Then it dies.
My answer flummoxed her. For a long while she just stood there by my desk, staring at me.
What the heck had she been expecting me to say? a cactus?
Tom Egeland (Cirklens Ende (Bjørn Beltø, #1))
First, I see her catch the scent. It's a combination of many things; the Christmas tree in the corner; the musty aroma of old house; orange and clove; ground coffee; hot milk; patchouli; cinnamon- and chocolate, of course; intoxicating, rich as Croesus, dark as death.
She looks around, sees wall hangings, pictures, bells, ornaments, a dollhouse in the window, rugs on the floor- all in chrome yellow and fuchsia-pink and scarlet and gold and green and white. It's like an opium den in here, she almost says, then wonders at herself for being so fanciful. In fact she has never seen an opium den- unless it was in the pages of the Arabian Nights- but there's something about the place, she thinks. Something almost- magical.
Joanne Harris (The Girl with No Shadow (Chocolat, #2))
Alex was right in front of the mantel now, bent forward, his nose mere inches from a picture of me.
"Oh,God. Don't look at that!"
It was from the year-end recital of my one and only year of ballet class. I was six: twig legs, a huge gap where my two front teeth had recently been, and a bumblebee costume. Nonna had done her best, but there was only so much she could do with yellow and black spandex and a bee butt. Dad had found one of those headbands with springy antennai attached. I'd loved the antennae. The more enthusiastic my jetes, the more they bounced. Of course, I'd also jeted my flat-chested little self out of the top of my costume so many times that, during the actual recital itself,I'd barely moved at all, victim to the overwhelming modesty of the six-year-old. Now, looking at the little girl I'd been, I wished someone had told her not to worry so much, that within a year, that smooth, skinny, little bare shoulder would have turned into the bane of her existence. That she was absolutely perfect.
"Nice stripes," Alex said casually, straightening up.
That stung. It should't have-it was just a photo-but it did. I don't know what I'd expected him to say about the picture. It wasn't that. But then, I didn't expect the wide grin that spread across his face when he got a good look at mine, either.
"Those," he announced, pointing to a photo of my mulleted dad leaning against the painted hood of his Mustang "are nice stripes. That-" he pointed to the me-bee- "Is seriously cute."
"You're insane," I muttered, insanely pleased.
"Yeah,well, tell me something I don't know." He took the bottle and plate from me. "I like knowing you have a little vanity in there somewhere." He stood, hands full, looking expectant and completely beautiful.
The reality of the situation hadn't really been all that real before. Now, as I started up the stairs to my bedroom, Alex Bainbridge in tow, it hit me. I was leading a boy, this boy, into my very personal space.
Then he started singing.
"You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you. You're sooo vain....!" He had a pretty good voice. It was a truly excellent AM radio song.
And just like that, I was officially In Deep
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
Fawcett also shared with me a passion for words and we would trawl the dictionary together and simply howl and wriggle with delight at the existence of such splendours as ‘strobile’ and ‘magniloquent’, daring and double-daring each other to use them to masters in lessons without giggling. ‘Strobile’ was a tricky one to insert naturally into conversation, since it means a kind of fir-cone, but magniloquent I did manage.
I, being I, went always that little bit too far of course. There was one master who had berated me in a lesson for some tautology or other. He, as what human being wouldn’t when confronted with a lippy verbal show-off like me, delighted in seizing on opportunities to put me down. He was not, however, an English teacher, nor was he necessarily the brightest man in the world.
‘So, Fry. “A lemon yellow colour” is precipitated in your test tube is it? I think you will find, Fry, that we all know that lemons are yellow and that yellow is a colour. Try not to use thee words where one will do. Hm?’
I smarted under this, but got my revenge a week or so later.
‘Well, Fry? It’s a simple enough question. What is titration?’
‘Well, sir…, it’s a process whereby…’
‘Come on, come on. Either you know or you don’t.’
‘Sorry sir, I am anxious to avoid pleonasm, but I think…’
‘Anxious to avoid what?’
‘And what do you mean by that?’
‘I’m sorry, sir. I meant that I had no wish to be sesquipedalian.’
‘What are you talking about?’
I allowed a note of confusion and bewilderment to enter my voice. ‘I didn’t want to be sesquipedalian, sir! You know, pleonastic.’
‘Look, if you’ve got something to say to me, say it. What is this pleonastic nonsense?’
‘It means sir, using more words in a sentence than are necessary. I was anxious to avoid being tautologous, repetitive or superfluous.’
‘Well why on earth didn’t you say so?’
‘I’m sorry, sir. I’ll remember in future, sir.’ I stood up and turned round to face the whole form, my hand on my heart. ‘I solemnly promise in future to help sir out by using seven words where one will do. I solemnly promise to be as pleonastic, prolix and sesquipedalian as he could possibly wish.’
It is a mark of the man’s fundamental good nature that he didn’t whip out a knife there and then, slit my throat from ear to ear and trample on my body in hobnailed boots. The look he gave me showed that he came damned close to considering the idea.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir, #1))
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you.
In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh.
Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
And yet, in Raissa, at every moment there is a child in a window who laughs seeing a dog that has jumped on a shed to bite into a piece of polenta dropped by a stonemason who has shouted from the top of the scaffolding, "Darling, let me dip into it," to a young servant-maid who holds up a dish of ragout under the pergola, happy to serve it to the umbrella-maker who is celebrating a successful transaction, a white lace parasol bought to display at the races by a great lady in love with an officer who has smiled at her taking the last jump, happy man, and still happier his horse, flying over the obstacles, seeing a francolin flying in the sky, happy bird freed from its cage by a painter happy at having painted it feather by feather, speckled with red and yellow in the illumination of that page in the volume where the philosopher says: "Also in Raissa, city of sadness, there runs an invisible thread that binds one living being to another for a moment, then unravels, then is stretched again between moving points as it draws new and rapid patterns so that at every second the unhappy city contains a happy city unaware of its own existence.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
Once my father told me: When a Jew prays, he is asking God a question that has no end.
Darkness fell. Rain fell.
I never asked: What question?
And now it's too late. Because I lost you, Tateh. One day, in the spring of 1938, on a rainy day that gave way to a break in the clouds, I lost you. You'd gone out to collect specimens for a theory you were hatching about rainfall, instinct, and butterflies. And then you were gone. We found you lying under a tree, your face splashed with mud. We knew you were free then, unbound by disappointing results. And we buried you in the cemetery where your father was buried, and his father, under the shade of the chestnut tree. Three years later, I lost Mameh. The last time I saw her she was wearing her yellow apron. She was stuffing things in a suitcase, the house was a wreck. She told me to go into the woods. She'd packed me food, and told me to wear my coat, even though it was July. "Go," she said. I was too old to listen, but like a child I listened. She told me she'd follow the next day. We chose a spot we both knew in the woods. The giant walnut tree you used to like, Tateh, because you said it had human qualities. I didn't bother to say goodbye. I chose to believe what was easier. I waited. But. She never came.
Since then I've lived with the guilt of understanding too late that she thought she would have been a burden to me. I lost Fitzy. He was studying in Vilna, Tateh—someone who knew someone told me he'd last been seen on a train. I lost Sari and Hanna to the dogs. I lost Herschel to the rain. I lost Josef to a crack in time. I lost the sound of laughter. I lost a pair of shoes, I'd taken them off to sleep, the shoes Herschel gave me, and when I woke they were gone, I walked barefoot for days and then I broke down and stole someone else's. I lost the only woman I ever wanted to love. I lost years. I lost books. I lost the house where I was born. And I lost Isaac. So who is to say that somewhere along the way, without my knowing it, I didn't also lose my mind?
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
The figs we ate wrapped in bacon.
The gelato we consumed greedily:
coconut milk, clove, fresh pear.
How we’d dump hot espresso on it
just to watch it melt, licking our spoons
clean. The potatoes fried in duck fat,
the salt we’d suck off our fingers,
the eggs we’d watch get beaten
’til they were a dizzying bright yellow,
how their edges crisped in the pan.
The pink salt blossom of prosciutto
we pulled apart with our hands, melted
on our eager tongues. The green herbs
with goat cheese, the aged brie paired
with a small pot of strawberry jam,
the final sour cherry we kept politely
pushing onto each other’s plate, saying,
No, you. But it’s so good. No, it’s yours.
How I finally put an end to it, plucked it
from the plate, and stuck it in my mouth.
How good it tasted: so sweet and so tart.
How good it felt: to want something and
pretend you don’t, and to get it anyway.
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
Today, and let us celebrate this fact, We can eat the light of our beloved, warmed by compassion or cooled by intellectual feeling. And if we are surprised, and some of us disappointed, that the light is now only green - well, such was the vital probability awaiting us. We have, after all, an increase in the energy available for further evolution; we can use the energy of our position relative to the probabilities in the future to reach the future we desire. The full use of this energy is just beginning to be explored, and we have the opportunity open to few generations to create our best opportunities. We must not slacken in our desire now if we desire a future. The pressure of probabilities on the present increases the momentum of evolution, and as the voluble helix turns, and turns us away from our improbable satiation, we can see that the shadow cast on the present from the future is not black but rainbowed, brilliant with lemon yellow, plum-purple, and cherry-red. I have no patience with those who say that their desire for light is satisfied. Or that they are bored. I have myself a still unsatisfied appetite for green: eucalyptus, celadon, tourmaline, and apple. ("Desire")
William S. Wilson (Why I Don't Write Like Franz Kafka)
Monet Refuses the Operation"
Doctor, you say that there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
Lisel Mueller (Second Language: Poems)
It was one of those great iron afternoons in London: the yellow sun being teased apart by a thoasand chimneys breathing, fawning upward without shame. This smoke is more than the day’s breath, more than dark strength--it is an imperial presence that lives and moves. People were crossing the streets and squares, going everywhere. Busses were grinding off, hundreds of them, down the long concrete viaducts, smeared with years’ pitiless use and no pleasure, into haze-gray, grease black, red lead and pale aluminum, between scrap heaps that towered high as blocks of flats, down side-shoving curves into roads clogged with Army convoys, other tall busses and canvas lorries, bicycles and cars, hitching now and then, over it all the enormous gas ruin of the sun among the smokestacks, the barrage balloons, power lines and chimneys brown as aging indoor wood, brown growing deeper, approaching black through an instant-- perhaps the true turn of the sunset-- that is wine to you, wine and comfort.
The Moment was 6:43:16 British Double Summer Time: the sky beaten like Death’s drum, still humming, and Slothrop’s cock--say what? yes lookit inside his GI undershorts here’s a sneaky hardon stirring, ready to jump-- well great God where’d that come from?
There is in his history, and likely, God help him, in his dossier, a peculiar sensitivity to what is revealed in the sky. (But a harden?)
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
I will say this about the upper echelon in France: they know how to spend money. From what I saw living in America, wealth is dedicated to elevating the individual experience. If you’re a well-off child, you get a car, or a horse. You go to summer camps that cost as much as college. And everything is monogrammed, personalized, and stamped, to make it that much easier for other people to recognize your net worth.
…The French bourgeois don’t pine for yachts or garages with multiple cars. They don’t build homes with bowling alleys or spend their weekends trying to meet the quarterly food and beverage limit at their country clubs: they put their savings into a vacation home that all their family can enjoy, and usually it’s in France. They buy nice food, they serve nice wine, and they wear the same cashmere sweaters over and over for years. I think the wealthy French feel comfortable with their money because they do not fear it. It’s the fearful who put money into houses with even bedrooms and fifteen baths. It’s the fearful who drive around in yellow Hummers during high-gas-price months becasue if they’re going to lose their money tomorrow, at least other people will know that they are rich today. The French, as with almost all things, privilege privacy and subtlety and they don’t feel comfortable with excess. This is why one of their favorite admonishments is tu t’es laisse aller. You’ve lost control of yourself. You’ve let yourself go.
Courtney Maum (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You)
The morning grass was damp and cool with dew. My yellow rain slicker must have looked sharp contrasted against the bright green that spring provided. I must have looked like an early nineteenth century romantic poet (Walt Whitman, perhaps?) lounging around a meadow celebrating nature and the glory of my existence. But don’t make this about me. Don’t you dare. This was about something bigger than me (by at least 44 feet).
I was there to unselfishly throw myself in front of danger (nothing is scarier than a parked bulldozer), in the hopes of saving a tree, and also procuring a spot in a featured article in my local newspaper. It’s not about celebrity for me, it’s about showing that I care. It’s not enough to just quietly go about caring anymore. No, now we need the world to see that we care. I was just trying to do my part to show I was doing my part.
But no journalists or TV news stations came to witness my selfless heroics. In fact, nobody came at all, not even Satan’s henchmen (the construction crew). People might scoff and say, “But it was Sunday.” Yes, it was Sunday. But if you’re a hero you can’t take a day off.
I’d rather be brave a day early than a day late. Most cowards show up late to their destiny. But I always show up early, and quite often I leave early too, but at least I have the guts to lay down my life for something I’d die for. Now I only laid down my life for a short fifteen-minute nap, but I can forever hold my chin high as I loudly tell anyone who will listen to my exploits as an unsung hero (not that I haven’t written dozens of songs dedicated to my bravery).
Most superheroes hide anonymously behind masks. That’s cowardly to me. I don’t wear a mask. And the only reason I’m anonymous is that journalists don’t respond to my requests for interviews, and when I hold press conferences nobody shows up, not even my own mother.
The world doesn’t know all the good I’ve done for the world. And that’s fine with me. Not really. But if I have to go on being anonymous to make this world a better place, I will. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about changing my hours of altruism from 7-8 am Sunday mornings to 9-5 am Monday through Friday, and only doing deeds of greatness in crowded locations.
Jarod Kintz (Gosh, I probably shouldn't publish this.)
Putting It into Practice: Neutralizing Negativity Use the techniques below anytime you’d like to lessen the effects of persistent negative thoughts. As you try each technique, pay attention to which ones work best for you and keep practicing them until they become instinctive. You may also discover some of your own that work just as well. ♦ Don’t assume your thoughts are accurate. Just because your mind comes up with something doesn’t necessarily mean it has any validity. Assume you’re missing a lot of elements, many of which could be positive. ♦ See your thoughts as graffiti on a wall or as little electrical impulses flickering around your brain. ♦ Assign a label to your negative experience: self-criticism, anger, anxiety, etc. Just naming what you are thinking and feeling can help you neutralize it. ♦ Depersonalize the experience. Rather than saying “I’m feeling ashamed,” try “There is shame being felt.” Imagine that you’re a scientist observing a phenomenon: “How interesting, there are self-critical thoughts arising.” ♦ Imagine seeing yourself from afar. Zoom out so far, you can see planet Earth hanging in space. Then zoom in to see your continent, then your country, your city, and finally the room you’re in. See your little self, electrical impulses whizzing across your brain. One little being having a particular experience at this particular moment. ♦ Imagine your mental chatter as coming from a radio; see if you can turn down the volume, or even just put the radio to the side and let it chatter away. ♦ Consider the worst-case outcome for your situation. Realize that whatever it is, you’ll survive. ♦ Think of all the previous times when you felt just like this—that you wouldn’t make it through—and yet clearly you did. We’re learning here to neutralize unhelpful thoughts. We want to avoid falling into the trap of arguing with them or trying to suppress them. This would only make matters worse. Consider this: if I ask you not to think of a white elephant—don’t picture a white elephant at all, please!—what’s the first thing your brain serves up? Right. Saying “No white elephants” leads to troops of white pachyderms marching through your mind. Steven Hayes and his colleagues studied our tendency to dwell on the forbidden by asking participants in controlled research studies to spend just a few minutes not thinking of a yellow jeep. For many people, the forbidden thought arose immediately, and with increasing frequency. For others, even if they were able to suppress the thought for a short period of time, at some point they broke down and yellow-jeep thoughts rose dramatically. Participants reported thinking about yellow jeeps with some frequency for days and sometimes weeks afterward. Because trying to suppress a self-critical thought only makes it more central to your thinking, it’s a far better strategy to simply aim to neutralize it. You’ve taken the first two steps in handling internal negativity: destigmatizing discomfort and neutralizing negativity. The third and final step will help you not just to lessen internal negativity but to actually replace it with a different internal reality.
Olivia Fox Cabane (The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism)
Then it was horn time. Time for the big solo.
Sonny lifted the trumpet - One! Two! - He got it into sight - Three!
We all stopped dead. I mean we stopped.
That wasn't Sonny's horn. This one was dented-in and beat-up and the tip-end was nicked. It didn't shine, not a bit.
Lux leaned over-you could have fit a coffee cup into his mouth. "Jesus God," he said. "Am I seeing right?"
I looked close and said: "Man, I hope not."
But why kid? We'd seen that trumpet a million times.
It was Spoof's.
Rose-Ann was trembling. Just like me, she remembered how we'd buried the horn with Spoof. And she remembered how quiet it had been in Sonny's room last night...
I started to think real hophead thoughts, like - where did Sonny get hold of a shovel that late? and how could he expect a horn to play that's been under the ground for two years? and -
That blast got into our ears like long knives.
Spoof's own trademark!
Sonny looked caught, like he didn't know what to do at first, like he was hypnotized, scared, almighty scared. But as the sound came out, rolling out, sharp and clean and clear - new-trumpet sound - his expression changed. His eyes changed: they danced a little and opened wide.
Then he closed them, and blew that horn. Lord God of the Fishes, how he blew it! How he loved it and caressed it and pushed it up, higher and higher and higher. High C? Bottom of the barrel. He took off, and he walked all over the rules and stamped them flat.
The melody got lost, first off. Everything got lost, then, while that horn flew. It wasn't only jazz; it was the heart of jazz, and the insides, pulled out with the roots and held up for everybody to see; it was blues that told the story of all the lonely cats and all the ugly whores who ever lived, blues that spoke up for the loser lamping sunshine out of iron-gray bars and every hop head hooked and gone, for the bindlestiffs and the city slicers, for the country boys in Georgia shacks and the High Yellow hipsters in Chicago slums and the bootblacks on the corners and the fruits in New Orleans, a blues that spoke for all the lonely, sad and anxious downers who could never speak themselves...
And then, when it had said all this, it stopped and there was a quiet so quiet that Sonny could have shouted:
'It's okay, Spoof. It's all right now. You get it said, all of it - I'll help you. God, Spoof, you showed me how, you planned it - I'll do my best!'
And he laid back his head and fastened the horn and pulled in air and blew some more. Not sad, now, not blues - but not anything else you could call by a name. Except... jazz. It was Jazz.
Hate blew out of that horn, then. Hate and fury and mad and fight, like screams and snarls, like little razors shooting at you, millions of them, cutting, cutting deep...
And Sonny only stopping to wipe his lip and whisper in the silent room full of people: 'You're saying it, Spoof! You are!'
God Almighty Himself must have heard that trumpet, then; slapping and hitting and hurting with notes that don't exist and never existed. Man! Life took a real beating! Life got groined and sliced and belly-punched and the horn, it didn't stop until everything had all spilled out, every bit of the hate and mad that's built up in a man's heart. ("Black Country")
Charles Beaumont (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
These last weeks, since Christmas, have been odd ones. I have begun to doubt that I knew you as well as I thought. I have even wondered if you wished to keep some part of yourself hidden from me in order to preserve your privacy and your autonomy. I will understand if you refuse to give me an answer tonight, and although I freely admit I will be hurt by such a refusal, you must not allow my feelings to influence your answer." I looked up into his face. "The question I have for you, then is this: How are the fairies in your garden?"
By the yellow streetlights, I saw the trepidation that had been building up in face give way to a flash of relief, then to the familiar signs of outrage: the bulging eyes, the purpling skin, the thin lips. He cleared his throat.
"I am not a man much given to violence," he began, calmly enough, "but I declare that if that man Doyle came before me today, I should be hard-pressed to avoid trouncing him." The image was a pleasing one, two gentlemen on the far side of middle age, one built like a bulldog and the other like a bulldong, engaging in fisticuffs. "It is difficult enough to surmount Watson's apparently endless blather in order to have my voice heard as a scientist, but now, when people hear my name, all they will think of is that disgusting dreamy-eyed little girl and her preposterous paper cutouts. I knew the man was limited, but I did not even suspect that he was insane!"
"Oh, well, Holmes," I drawled into his climbing voice. "Look on the bright side. You've complained for years how tedious it is to have everyone with a stray puppy or a stolen pencil box push through your hedges and tread on the flowers; now the British Public will assume that Sherlock Homes is as much a fairy tale as those photographs and will stop plaguing you. I'd say the man's done you a great service." I smiled brightly.
For a long minute, it was uncertain whether he was going to strike me dead for my impertinence or drop dead himself of apoplexy, but then, as I had hoped, he threw back his head and laughed long and hard.
Laurie R. King (A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #2))
The ship that took my mother to Ellis Island
eighty-three years ago was named "The Mercy."
She remembers trying to eat a banana
without first peeling it and seeing her first orange
in the hands of a young Scot, a seaman
who gave her a bite and wiped her mouth for her
with a red bandana and taught her the word,
"orange," saying it patiently over and over.
A long autumn voyage, the days darkening
with the black waters calming as night came on,
then nothing as far as her eyes could see and space
without limit rushing off to the corners
of creation. She prayed in Russian and Yiddish
to find her family in New York, prayers
unheard or misunderstood or perhaps ignored
by all the powers that swept the waves of darkness
before she woke, that kept "The Mercy" afloat
while smallpox raged among the passengers
and crew until the dead were buried at sea
with strange prayers in a tongue she could not fathom.
"The Mercy," I read on the yellowing pages of a book
I located in a windowless room of the library
on 42nd Street, sat thirty-one days
offshore in quarantine before the passengers
disembarked. There a story ends. Other ships
arrived, "Tancred" out of Glasgow, "The Neptune"
registered as Danish, "Umberto IV,"
the list goes on for pages, November gives
way to winter, the sea pounds this alien shore.
Italian miners from Piemonte dig
under towns in western Pennsylvania
only to rediscover the same nightmare
they left at home. A nine-year-old girl travels
all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.
She learns that mercy is something you can eat
again and again while the juice spills over
your chin, you can wipe it away with the back
of your hands and you can never get enough.
Philip Levine (The Mercy)
God entered the yellow church on the disabled ramp. He was in a wheelchair too; He had once lost a woman too. He was silvery. Not the cheap, glittery silver of a banker’s BMW, but a muted, matte silver. Once, as He was gliding among the silvery stars with his silvery beloved, a gang of golden gods attacked them. When they were kids, God had once beaten one of them up, a short, skinny golden god who had now grown up and returned with his friends. The golden gods beat Him with golden clubs of sunlight and didn’t stop until they’d broken every bone in His divine body. It took Him years to recuperate. His beloved never did. She remained a vegetable. She could see and hear everything, but she couldn’t say a word. The silvery God decided to create a species in His own image so she could watch it to pass the time. That species really did resemble Him: battered and victimized like Him. And His silvery beloved stared wide-eyed at the members of that species for hours, stared and didn’t even shed a tear.
'What do you think,' the silvery God asked the yellow priest in frustration, 'that I created all of you like this because it's what I wanted? Because I'm some kind of pervert or sadist who enjoys all this suffering? I created you like this because this is what I know. It's the best I can do.
Etgar Keret (פתאום דפיקה בדלת)
Everyone's here except for St. Clair." Meredith cranes her neck around the cafeteria. "He's usually running late."
"Always," Josh corrects. "Always running late."
I clear my throat. "I think I met him last night. In the hallway."
"Good hair and an English accent?" Meredith asks.
"Um.Yeah.I guess." I try to keep my voice casual.
Josh smirks. "Everyone's in luuurve with St. Clair."
"Oh,shut up," Meredith says.
"I'm not." Rashmi looks at me for the first time, calculating whether or not I might fall in love with her own boyfriend.
He lets go of her hand and gives an exaggerated sigh. "Well,I am. I'm asking him to prom. This is our year, I just know it."
"This school has a prom?" I ask.
"God no," Rashmi says. "Yeah,Josh. You and St. Clair would look really cute in matching tuxes."
"Tails." The English accent makes Meredith and me jump in our seats. Hallway boy. Beautiful boy. His hair is damp from the rain. "I insist the tuxes have tails, or I'm giving your corsage to Steve Carver instead."
"St. Clair!" Josh springs from his seat, and they give each other the classic two-thumps-on-the-back guy hug.
"No kiss? I'm crushed,mate."
"Thought it might miff the ol' ball and chain. She doesn't know about us yet."
"Whatever," Rashi says,but she's smiling now. It's a good look for her. She should utilize the corners of her mouth more often.
Beautiful Hallway Boy (Am I supposed to call him Etienne or St. Clair?) drops his bag and slides into the remaining seat between Rashmi and me. "Anna." He's surprised to see me,and I'm startled,too. He remembers me.
"Nice umbrella.Could've used that this morning." He shakes a hand through his hair, and a drop lands on my bare arm. Words fail me. Unfortunately, my stomach speaks for itself. His eyes pop at the rumble,and I'm alarmed by how big and brown they are. As if he needed any further weapons against the female race.
Josh must be right. Every girl in school must be in love with him.
"Sounds terrible.You ought to feed that thing. Unless..." He pretends to examine me, then comes in close with a whisper. "Unless you're one of those girls who never eats. Can't tolerate that, I'm afraid. Have to give you a lifetime table ban."
I'm determined to speak rationally in his presence. "I'm not sure how to order."
"Easy," Josh says. "Stand in line. Tell them what you want.Accept delicious goodies. And then give them your meal card and two pints of blood."
"I heard they raised it to three pints this year," Rashmi says.
"Bone marrow," Beautiful Hallway Boy says. "Or your left earlobe."
"I meant the menu,thank you very much." I gesture to the chalkboard above one of the chefs. An exquisite cursive hand has written out the morning's menu in pink and yellow and white.In French. "Not exactly my first language."
"You don't speak French?" Meredith asks.
"I've taken Spanish for three years. It's not like I ever thought I'd be moving to Paris."
"It's okay," Meredith says quickly. "A lot of people here don't speak French."
"But most of them do," Josh adds.
"But most of them not very well." Rashmi looks pointedly at him.
"You'll learn the lanaguage of food first. The language of love." Josh rubs his belly like a shiny Buddha. "Oeuf. Egg. Pomme. Apple. Lapin. Rabbit."
"Not funny." Rashmi punches him in the arm. "No wonder Isis bites you. Jerk."
I glance at the chalkboard again. It's still in French. "And, um, until then?"
"Right." Beautiful Hallway Boy pushes back his chair. "Come along, then. I haven't eaten either." I can't help but notice several girls gaping at him as we wind our way through the crowd.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
The flickering shadows dissolve the outlines of things and break up the surfaces of the cube, the walls and ceiling move to and fro to the rhythm of the jagged flame, which by turns flares up and dies down as though about to go out. The yellow clay at the bottom of the cube rises like the floorboards of a sinking boat, then falls back into the darkness, as though flooded with muddy water. The whole room trembles, expands, contracts, moves a few centimeters to the right or left, up or down, all the while keeping its cubical shape. Horizontals and verticals intersect at several points, all in vague confusion, but governed by some higher law, maintaining an equilibrium that prevents the walls from collapsing and the ceiling from tilting or falling. This equilibrium is due no doubt to the regular movement of the crossbeams, for they, too, seem to glide from right to left, up and down, along with their shadows, without friction or effort, as lightly as over water. The waves of the night dash against the sides of the roomboat. Gusts of wind blow soft flakes and sharp icy crystals by turns against the windowpane. The square, embrasure-like window is stuffed with a disemboweled pillow; bits of cloth stick out and dangle like amorphous plants or creepers. It is hard to say whether they are trembling under the impact of the wind blowing through the cracks, or whether it is only their shadow that sways to the rhythm of the jagged flame.
Danilo Kiš (Hourglass)
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep black space high up among many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived.
It looked like a woman’s tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of the dots. At length, I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn’t find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn’t make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at the very moment with great emotion, in intricate detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which whole worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped, in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, “that was a good time then, a good time to be living.”
And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water…I saw may apples in forest, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided and apples grew striped and spotted in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves, and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean, and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars, and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wilds ducks flew, and called, one by one, and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes, and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remembered the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space, and I recalled the ocean’s shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, “Yes, that’s how it was then, that part there we called ‘France’”. I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.’” To put it perhaps a little more clearly: any attack or other operation is CHENG, on which the enemy has had his attention fixed; whereas that is CH’I,” which takes him by surprise or comes from an unexpected quarter. If the enemy perceives a movement which is meant to be CH’I,” it immediately becomes CHENG.”] 4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg— this is effected by the science of weak points and strong. 5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory. [Chang Yu says: “Steadily develop indirect tactics, either by pounding the enemy’s flanks or falling on his rear.” A brilliant example of “indirect tactics” which decided the fortunes of a campaign was Lord Roberts’ night march round the Peiwar Kotal in the second Afghan war.76 6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhausible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more. [Tu Yu and Chang Yu understand this of the permutations of CH’I and CHENG.” But at present Sun Tzu is not speaking of CHENG at all, unless, indeed, we suppose with Cheng Yu-hsien that a clause relating to it has fallen out of the text. Of course, as has already been pointed out, the two are so inextricably interwoven in all military operations, that they cannot really be considered apart. Here we simply have an expression, in figurative language, of the almost infinite resource of a great leader.] 7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. 8. There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen. 9. There are
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Whatever any of us may have thought about Hatsumomo, she was like an empress in our okiya since she earned the income be which we all lived. And being an empress she would have been very displeased, upon returning late at night, to find her palace dark and all the servants asleep. That is to say, when she came home too drunk to unbutton her socks, someone had to unbutton them for her; and if she felt hungry, she certainly wasn't going to stroll into the kitchen and prepare something by herself--such as an umeboshi ochazuke, which was a favorite snack of hers, made with leftover rice and pickled sour plums, soaked in hot tea. Actually our okiya wasn't at all unusual in this respect. The job of waiting up to bow and welcome the geisha home almost always fell to the most junior of the "cocoons"--as the young geisha-in-training were often called. And from the moment I began taking lessons at the school, the most junior cocoon in our okiya was me. Long before midnight, Pumpkin and the two elderly maids were sound asleep on their futons only a meter or so away on the wood floor of the entrance hall; but I had to go on kneeling there, struggling to stay awake until sometimes as late as two o'clock in the morning. Granny's room was nearby and she slept with her light on and her door opened a crack. The bar of light that fell across my empty futon made me think of a day, not long before Satsu [Chiyo's sister] and I were taken away from our village, when I'd peered into the back room of our house to see my mother asleep there. My father had draped fishing nets across the paper screens to darken the room, but it looked so gloomy I decided to open one of the windows; and when I did, a strip of bright sunlight fell across my mother's futon and showed her hand so pale and bony. To see the yellow lights streaming from Granny's room onto my futon...I had to wonder if my mother was still alive. We ere so much alike, I felt sure I would have known if she'd died; but of course, I'd had no sign one way or the other.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
I feel you, Johanna, I feel you
Do they think that walls can hide you?
Even now I'm at your window
I am in the dark beside you,
Buried sweetly in your yellow hair, Johanna…
And are you beautiful and pale,
With yellow hair, like her
I'd want you beautiful and pale,
The way I've dreamed you were, Johanna...
And if you're beautiful, what then,
With yellow hair, like wheat?
I think we shall not meet again —
My little dove, my sweet Johanna…
I'll steal you, Johanna…
You're gone, and yet you're mine.
I'm fine, Johanna, I'm fine!
Smoke! Smoke! Sign of the devil! Sign of the devil!
City on fire!
Witch! Witch! Smell it, sir! An evil smell!
Every night at the vespers bell —
Smoke that comes from the mouth of hell —
City on fire! City on fire!
Mischief! Mischief! Mischief...
And if I never hear your voice,
My turtledove, my dear,
I still have reason to rejoice:
The way ahead is clear, Johanna...
I'll marry Anthony Sunday
I feel you…
And in that darkness when I'm blind
With what I can't forget —
It's always morning in my mind,
My little lamb, my pet, Johanna…
I knew you'd come for me one day…
Come for me…one day…
You stay, Johanna — Johanna…
The way I've dreamed you are
Oh look, Johanna — a star!
Buried sweetly in your yellow hair…
A shooting star!
There! There! Somebody, somebody look up there!
Didn't I tell you? Smell that air! City on fire!
Quick, sir! Run and tell!
Warn 'em all of the witch's spell!
There it is, there it is, the unholy smell!
Tell it to the Beadle and the police as well!
Tell 'em! Tell 'em! Help! Fiend!
City on fire! City on fire!
Mischief! Mischief! Mischief...Fiend . . .
Alms…alms...for a miserable woman…
And though I'll think of you, I guess, until the day I die,
I think I miss you less and less as every day goes by,
With you beside me on Sunday,
And you'd be beautiful and pale,
And look too much like her.
If only angels could prevail,
We'd be the way we were, Johanna...
I feel you...Johanna…
Married on Sunday…married on Sunday ...
Wake up, Johanna! Another bright red day!
We learn, Johanna, to say goodbye!
I’ll steal you!
Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Tatiasha, my wife, I got cookies from you and Janie, anxious medical advice from Gordon Pasha (tell him you gave me a gallon of silver nitrate), some sharp sticks from Harry (nearly cried). I’m saddling up, I’m good to go. From you I got a letter that I could tell you wrote very late at night. It was filled with the sorts of things a wife of twenty-seven years should not write to her far-away and desperate husband, though this husband was glad and grateful to read and re-read them. Tom Richter saw the care package you sent with the preacher cookies and said, “Wow, man. You must still be doing something right.” I leveled a long look at him and said, “It’s good to know nothing’s changed in the army in twenty years.” Imagine what he might have said had he been privy to the fervent sentiments in your letter. No, I have not eaten any poison berries, or poison mushrooms, or poison anything. The U.S. Army feeds its men. Have you seen a C-ration? Franks and beans, beefsteak, crackers, fruit, cheese, peanut butter, coffee, cocoa, sacks of sugar(!). It’s enough to make a Soviet blockade girl cry. We’re going out on a little scoping mission early tomorrow morning. I’ll call when I come back. I tried to call you today, but the phone lines were jammed. It’s unbelievable. No wonder Ant only called once a year. I would’ve liked to hear your voice though: you know, one word from you before battle, that sort of thing . . . Preacher cookies, by the way, BIG success among war-weary soldiers. Say hi to the kids. Stop teaching Janie back flip dives. Do you remember what you’re supposed to do now? Kiss the palm of your hand and press it against your heart. Alexander P.S. I’m getting off the boat at Coconut Grove. It’s six and you’re not on the dock. I finish up, and start walking home, thinking you’re tied up making dinner, and then I see you and Ant hurrying down the promenade. He is running and you’re running after him. You’re wearing a yellow dress. He jumps on me, and you stop shyly, and I say to you, come on, tadpole, show me what you got, and you laugh and run and jump into my arms. Such a good memory. I love you, babe.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Wilbury, my dear,” Caroline said, “would you mind taking the children and keeping them occupied for a bit?”
"Twould be the high point of my golden years, my lady,” he replied with frigid politeness. “The culmination of a lifelong dream I had nearly abandoned in favour of waiting peacefully for the Grim Reaper to come and relieve me of my earthly duties.”
Immune to his sarcasm, Caroline beamed fondly at him. “Thank you, Wilbury. I thought that’s what you would say.”
Shuffling toward the hearth, the butler muttered under his breath, “I just love children, you know. I simply dote upon the overindulged little darlings with their grasping little hands and their sticky little fingers that foul up every freshly polished surface in the house”. As he leaned toward the hearth, the twins paused in play to gape at him. Baring his pointed yellowing teeth in a grimace of a smile, he rasped, “Come now, lads. I’ll take you to the kitchen for some nice hot chocolate.”
Eyes widening in terror, the two boys leapt to their feet and ran shrieking from the room. Wilbury straightened as much as his hunched back would allow, rolling his eyes.
“Wilbuwy!” Eloisa crowed, scrambling from her mother’s lap and toddling across the room. Wrapping her arms around one of the butler’s scrawny legs, she looked up and batted her long eyelashes at him. “Me want cocoa!”
With a long-suffering sigh, he scooped the plump child into his arms, every one of his ancient bones creaking in protest. She joyfully tugged at his misshapen ears as he carried her toward the door. His curdled expression never varied, but as he passed Portia he gave her a nearly imperceptible wink.
Teresa Medeiros (The Vampire Who Loved Me (Cabot, #2))
Readin' all those books makes me wonder whether
anyone ever dies natural."
" They don't," said William mysteriously. " Robert
says so. At least he says there's hundreds an' thousands
of murders what no one finds out. You see, you c'n
only find out a person's died nacheral by cuttin' 'em
up an' they've not got time to cut everyone up what
dies. They've simply not got the time. They do
it like what they do with our desks at school. They
jus' open one sometimes to see if it's all right. They've
not got time to open 'em all every day. An' same as
every time they do open a desk they find it untidy, jus'
in the same way whenever they do cut anyone dead
up they find he's been poisoned. Practically always.
Robert says so. He says that the amount of people
who poison people who aren't cut up and don't get
found out mus' be enormous. Jus' think of it. People
pois'nin' people all over the place an' no one findin' out.
If I was a policeman I'd cut everyone dead up.
But they aren't any use, policemen aren't. Why, in
all those books I've read there hasn't been a single
policeman that was any good at all. They simply
don't know what to do when anyone murders anyone.
Why, you remember in ' The Mystery of the Yellow
Windows,' the policemen were s' posed to have searched
the room for clues an' they di'n't notice the cigarette
end what the murd'rer had left in the fender and what
had the address of the people what made it on it an'
what was a sort they made special for him. Well,
that shows you what the policemen are, dun't it ? I
mean, they look very swanky in their hats an' buttons
an' all that, but when it comes to a murder or cuttin'
dead people up or findin' out murd'rers, they aren't
any good at all. Why, in all those myst'ry tales we've
read, it's not been the police that found the murd'rers
at all. It's been ordinary people same as you an' me
jus' usin' common sense an' pickin' up cigarette ends
an' such-like. . . . Tell you what it is," he said, warm-
ing to his theme, " policemen have gotter be stupid
'cause of their clothes. I mean, all the policemen's
clothes are made so big that they've gotter be very
big men to fit 'em an' big men are always stupid 'cause
of their strength all goin' to their bodies 'stead of their
brains. That stands to reason, dun't it ?
Poem for My Father
You closed the door.
I was on the other side,
It was black in your mind.
Blacker than burned-out fire.
Blacker than poison.
Outside everything looked the same.
You looked the same.
You walked in your body like a living man.
But you were not.
would you not speak to me for weeks
would you hang your coat in the closet without saying hello
would you find a shoe out of place and beat me
would you come home late
would i lose the key
would you find my glasses in the garbage
would you put me on your knee
would you read the bible to me in your smoking jacket after your mother died
would you come home drunk and snore
would you beat me on the legs
would you carry me up the stairs by my hair so that my feet never touch the bottom
would you make everything worse
to make everything better
i believe in god, the father almighty,
the maker of heaven, the maker
of my heaven and my hell.
would you beat my mother
would you beat her till she cries like a rabbit
would you beat her in a corner of the kitchen
while i am in the bathroom trying to bury my head underwater
would you carry her to the bed
would you put cotton and alcohol on her swollen head
would you make love to her hair
would you caress her hair
would you rub her breasts with ben gay until she stinks
would you sleep in the other room in the bed next to me while she sleeps on the pull-out cot
would you come on the sheet while i am sleeping. later i look for the spot
would you go to embalming school with the last of my mother's money
would i see your picture in the book with all the other black boys you were the handsomest
would you make the dead look beautiful
would the men at the elks club
would the rich ladies at funerals
would the ugly drunk winos on the street
would your father leave you when you were three with a mother who threw butcher knives at you
would he leave you with her screaming red hair
would he leave you to be smothered by a pillow she put over your head
would he send for you during the summer like a rich uncle
would you come in pretty corduroys until you were nine and never heard from him again
would you hate him
would you hate him every time you dragged hundred pound cartons of soap down the stairs into white ladies' basements
would you hate him for fucking the woman who gave birth to you
hate him flying by her house in the red truck so that other father threw down his hat in the street and stomped on it angry like we never saw him
to the will of grandpa
bye bye to the family fortune
bye bye when he stompled that hat,
to the gold watch,
mother crying silently, making floating island
sending it up to the old man's ulcer
would grandmother's diamonds
close their heartsparks
in the corner of the closet
yellow like the eyes of cockroaches?
Old man whose sperm swims in my veins,
come back in love, come back in pain.
Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The “old blue” that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried. Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house? That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her. But in 200 years’ time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was. We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as “those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs.” The “sampler” that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as “tapestry of the Victorian era,” and be almost priceless. The blue-and-white mugs of the present-day roadside inn will be hunted up, all cracked and chipped, and sold for their weight in gold, and rich people will use them for claret cups; and travellers from Japan will buy up all the “Presents from Ramsgate,” and “Souvenirs of Margate,” that may have escaped destruction, and take them back to Jedo as ancient English curios.
Jerome K. Jerome (Complete Works of Jerome K. Jerome)
But it wasn't all bad. Sometimes things wasn't all bad. He used to come home easing into bed sometimes, not too drunk. I make out like I'm asleep, 'casue it's late, and he taken three dollars out of my pocketbook that morning or something. I hear him breathing, but I don't look around. I can see in my mind's eye his black arms thrown back behind his head, the muscles like a great big peach stones sanded down, with veins running like little swollen rivers down his arms. Without touching him I be feeling those ridges on the tips of my fingers. I sees the palms of his hands calloused to granite, and the long fingers curled up and still. I think about the thick, knotty hair on his chest, and the two big swells his breast muscles make. I want to rub my face hard in his chest and feel the hair cut my skin. I know just where the hair growth slacks out-just above his navel- and how it picks up again and spreads out. Maybe he'll shift a little, and his leg will touch me, or I feel his flank just graze my behind. I don't move even yet. Then he lift his head, turn over, and put his hand on my waist. If I don't move, he'll move his hand over to pull and knead my stomach. Soft and slow-like. I still don't move, because I don't want him to stop. I want to pretend sleep and have him keep rubbing my stomach. Then he will lean his head down and bite my tit. Then I don't want him to rub my stomach anymore. I want him to put his hand between my legs. I pretend to wake up, and turn to him, but not opening my legs. I want him to open them for me. He does, and I be soft and wet where his fingers are strong and hard. I be softer than I ever been before. All my strength in his hand. My brain curls up like wilted leaves. A funny, empty feeling is in my hands. I want to grab holt of something, so I hold his head. His mouth is under my chin. Then I don't want his hands between my legs no more, because I think I am softening away. I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me. Too heavy to hold, too light not to. He puts his thing in me. In me. In me. I wrap my feet around his back so he can't get away. His face is next to mine. The bed springs sounds like them crickets used to back home. He puts his fingers in mine, and we stretches our arms outwise like Jesus on the cross. I hold tight. My fingers and my feet hold on tight, because everything else is going, going. I know he wants me to come first. But I can't. Not until he does. Not until I feel him loving me. Just me. Sinking into me. Not until I know that my flesh is all that be on his mind. That he couldnt stop if he had to. That he would die rather than take his thing our of me. Of me. Not until he has let go of all he has, and give it to me. To me. To me. When he does, I feel a power. I be strong, I be pretty, I be young. And then I wait. He shivers and tosses his head. Now I be strong enough, pretty enough, and young enough to let him make me come. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind. My legs drop back onto the bed. I don't make a noise, because the chil'ren might hear. I begin to feel those little bits of color floating up into me-deep in me. That streak of green from the june-bug light, the purple from the berries trickling along my thighs, Mama's lemonade yellow runs sweet in me. Then I feel like I'm laughing between my legs, and the laughing gets all mixed up with the colors, and I'm afraid I'll come, and afraid I won't. But I know I will. And I do. And it be rainbow all inside. And it lasts ad lasts and lasts. I want to thank him, but dont know how, so I pat him like you do a baby. He asks me if I'm all right. I say yes. He gets off me and lies down to sleep. I want to say something, but I don't. I don't want to take my mind offen the rainbow. I should get up and go to the toilet, but I don't. Besides Cholly is asleep with his leg thrown over me. I can't move and I don't want to.
Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
There’s a pretty good old rowboat. I’ll take you out for a row after supper.”
“No, I will,” said Jesse. “Let me. I found her first, didn’t I, Winnie Foster? Listen, I’ll show you where the frogs are, and…”
“Hush,” Tuck interrupted. “Everyone hush. I’ll take Winnie rowing on the pond. There’s a good deal to be said and I think we better hurry up and say it. I got a feeling there ain’t a whole lot of time.”
Jesse laughed at this, and ran a hand roughly through his curls. “That’s funny, Pa. Seems to me like time’s the only thing we got a lot of.”
But Mae frowned. “You worried, Tuck? What’s got you? No one saw us on the way up. Well, now, wait a bit--yes, they did, come to think of it. There was a man on the road, just outside Treegap. But he didn’t say nothing.”
“He knows me, though,” said Winnie. She had forgotten, too, about the man in the yellow suit, and now, thinking of him, she felt a surge of relief. “He’ll tell my father he saw me.”
“He knows you?” said Mae, her frown deepening. “But you didn’t call out to him, child. Why not?”
“I was too scared to do anything ,” said Winnie honestly.
Tuck shook his head. “I never thought we’d come to the place where we’d be scaring children,” he said. “I guess there’s no way to make it up to you, Winnie, but I’m sure most awful sorry it had to happen like that. Who was this man you saw?”
“I don’t know his name,” said Winnie. “But he’s a pretty nice man, I guess.” In fact, he seemed supremely nice to her now, a kind of savior. And then she added, “He came to our house last night, but he didn’t go inside.”
“Well, that don’t sound too serious, Pa,” said Miles. “Just some stranger passing by.”
“Just the same, we got to get you home again, Winnie,” said Tuck, standing up decisively. “We got to get you home just as fast as we can. I got a feeling this whole thing is going to come apart like wet bread. But first we got to talk, and the pond’s the best place. The pond’s got answers. Come along, child. Let’s go out on the water.
Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting)
Of real sensational journalism, as it exists in France, in Ireland, and in America, we have no trace in this country. When a journalist in Ireland wishes to create a thrill, he creates a thrill worth talking about. He denounces a leading Irish member for corruption, or he charges the whole police system with a wicked and definite conspiracy. When a French journalist desires a frisson there is a frisson; he discovers, let us say, that the President of the Republic has murdered three wives. Our yellow journalists invent quite as unscrupulously as this; their moral condition is, as regards careful veracity, about the same. But it is their mental calibre which happens to be such that they can only invent calm and even reassuring things. The fictitious version of the massacre of the envoys of Pekin was mendacious, but it was not interesting, except to those who had private reasons for terror or sorrow. It was not connected with any bold and suggestive view of the Chinese situation. It revealed only a vague idea that nothing could be impressive except a great deal of blood. Real sensationalism, of which
I happen to be very fond, may be either moral or immoral. But even when it is most immoral, it requires moral courage. For it is one of the most dangerous things on earth genuinely to surprise anybody. If you make any sentient creature jump, you render it by no means improbable that it will jump on you. But the leaders of this movement have no moral courage or immoral courage; their whole method consists in saying, with large and elaborate emphasis, the things which everybody else says casually, and without remembering what they have said. When they brace themselves up to attack anything, they never reach the point of attacking anything which is large and real, and would resound with the shock. They do not attack the army as men do in France, or the judges as men do in Ireland, or the democracy itself as men did in England a hundred years ago. They attack something like the War Office--something, that is, which everybody attacks and nobody bothers to defend, something which is an old joke in fourth-rate comic papers
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
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))
Jack took two steps towards the couch and then heard his daughter’s distressed wails, wincing. “Oh, right. The munchkin.”
He instead turned and headed for the stairs, yawning and scratching his messy brown hair, calling out, “Hang on, chubby monkey, Daddy’s coming.”
Jack reached the top of the stairs.
And stopped dead.
There was a dragon standing in the darkened hallway.
At first, Jack swore he was still asleep. He had to be. He couldn’t possibly be seeing correctly.
And yet the icy fear slipping down his spine said differently.
The dragon stood at roughly five feet tall once its head rose upon sighting Jack at the other end of the hallway. It was lean and had dirty brown scales with an off-white belly. Its black, hooked claws kneaded the carpet as its yellow eyes stared out at Jack, its pupils dilating to drink him in from head to toe. Its wings rustled along its back on either side of the sharp spines protruding down its body to the thin, whip-like tail. A single horn glinted sharp and deadly under the small, motion-activated hallway light.
The only thing more noticeable than that were the many long, jagged scars scored across the creature’s stomach, limbs, and neck. It had been hunted recently. Judging from the depth and extent of the scars, it had certainly killed a hunter or two to have survived with so many marks.
“Okay,” Jack whispered hoarsely. “Five bucks says you’re not the Easter Bunny.”
The dragon’s nostrils flared. It adjusted its body, feet apart, lips sliding away from sharp, gleaming white teeth in a warning hiss. Mercifully, Naila had quieted and no longer drew the creature’s attention. Jack swallowed hard and held out one hand, bending slightly so his six-foot-two-inch frame was less threatening. “Look at me, buddy. Just keep looking at me. It’s alright. I’m not going to hurt you. Why don’t you just come this way, huh?”
He took a single step down and the creature crept forward towards him, hissing louder. “That’s right. This way. Come on.”
Jack eased backwards one stair at a time. The dragon let out a warning bark and followed him, its saliva leaving damp patches on the cream-colored carpet. Along the way, Jack had slipped his phone out of his pocket and dialed 9-1-1, hoping he had just enough seconds left in the reptile’s waning patience.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
“Listen to me carefully,” Jack said, not letting his eyes stray from the dragon as he fumbled behind him for the handle to the sliding glass door. He then quickly gave her his address before continuing. “There is an Appalachian forest dragon in my house. Get someone over here as fast as you can.”
“We’re contacting a retrieval team now, sir. Please stay calm and try not to make any loud noises or sudden movements–“
Jack had one barefoot on the cool stone of his patio when his daughter Naila cried for him again.
The dragon’s head turned towards the direction of upstairs.
Jack dropped his cell phone, grabbed a patio chair, and slammed it down on top of the dragon’s head as hard as he could.
Kyoko M. (Of Fury and Fangs)