I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.
Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely. God is love, they once said, but we reversed that, and love, like heaven, was always just around the corner. The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total. We were waiting, always, for the incarnation. That word, made flesh.And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder, because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done; and you would know too why your friends had been evasive about it, at the time.There is a good deal of comfort, now, in remembering this.
How could I be sleeping with this particular man.... Surely only true love could justify my lack of taste.
Hatred would have been easier. With hatred, I would have known what to do. Hatred is clear, metallic, one-handed, unwavering; unlike love.
Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future. The ruin you've made.
How could I have been so ignorant? she thinks. So stupid, so unseeing, so given over to carelessness. But without such ignorance, such carelessness, how could we live? If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be as ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to.
She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation.In spirit she walks the city, traces its labyrinths, its dingy mazes: each assignation, each rendezvous, each door and stair and bed. What he said, what she said, what they did, what they did then. Even the times they argued, fought, parted, agonized, rejoined. How they’d loved to cut themselves on each other, taste their own blood. We were ruinous together, she thinks. But how else can we live, these days, except in the midst of ruin?
What is it the I'll want from you? Not love: that would be too much to ask. Not forgiveness, which isn't yours to bestow. Only a listener, perhaps; only someone who will see me. Don't prettify me though, whatever else you do: I have no wish to be a decorated skull. But I leave myself in your hands. What choice do I have? By the time you read this last page, that- if anywhere- is the only place I will be.
Time folds you in its arms and gives you one last kiss, and then it flattens you out and folds you up and tucks you away until it's time for you to become someone else's past time, and then time folds again.
So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it's the hardest to do anything with. That's about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.
A Paradox, the doughnut hole. Empty space, once, but now they've learned to market even that. A minus quantity; nothing, rendered edible. I wondered if they might be used-metaphorically, of course-to demonstrate the existence of God. Does naming a sphere of nothingness transmute it into being?
By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, Take me to your leaders. Even I - unused to your ways though I am - would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings among us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them.Instead I will say, Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths.These are worth it. These are what I have come for.
The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.
It must have been then that I began to lose faith in reasonable argument as the sole measure of truth.
We shouldn't have been so scornful; we should have had compassion. But compassion takes work, and we were young.
Neither of us says the word love, not once. It would be tempting fate; it would be romance, bad luck.
I was taking something away from her, although she didn't know it. I was filching. Never mind that it was something she apparently didn't want or had no use for, had rejected even; still, it was hers, and if I took it away, this mysterious it I couldn't quite define.
One of the gravestones in the cemetery near the earliest church has an anchor on it and an hourglass, and the words In Hope.In Hope. Why did they put that above a dead person? Was it the corpse hoping, or those still alive?
...we must be a beacon of hope, because if you tell people there's nothing they can do, they will do worse than nothing.
I planned my death carefully, unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it.
Glenn used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, 'I'll be dead,' you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul - it was a consequence of grammar.
If you really want to stay the same age you are now forever and ever, she'd be thinking, try jumping off the roof: death's a sure-fire method for stopping time.
The Chorus Line:A Rope-Jumping Rhymewe are the maidsthe ones you killedthe ones you failedwe danced in airour bare feet twitchedit was not fairwith every goddess, queen, and bitchfrom there to hereyou scratched your itchwe did much lessthan what you didyou judged us badyou had the spearyou had the wordat your commandwe scrubbed the bloodof our deadparamours from floors, from chairsfrom stairs, from doors,we knelt in waterwhile you staredat our bare feetit was not fairyou licked our fearit gave you pleasureyou raised your handyou watched us fallwe danced on airthe ones you failedthe ones you killed
The reason they invented coffins, to lock the dead in, preserve them, they put makeup on them; they didn't want them spreading or changing into anything else. The stone with the name and date was on them to weight them down.
Via the conduit of a wild dog pack, she has now made the ultimate Gift to her fellow Creatures, and has become part of God's great dance of proteins.
Kill what you can't savewhat you can't eat throw outwhat you can't throw out buryWhat you can't bury give awaywhat you can't give away you must carry with you,it is always heavier than you thought.