“After loss of Identity, the most potent modern terror, is loss of sexuality, or, as Descartes didn’t say, "I fuck therefore I am".”
“Know thyself,’ said Socrates.
Know thyself,’ said Sappho, ‘and make sure that the Church never finds out.”
“Darkness as well as light. Or do I mean darkness, another kind of light? Lucifer would say so, and I have a weakness for fallen angels.”
“Only a fool tries to reconstruct a bunch of grapes from a bottle of wine.”
“There's no such thing as autobiography, there's only art and lies”
“I dream of flight, not to be as the angels are, but to rise above the smallness of it all. The smallnesss that I am. Against the daily death the iconography of wings.”
“Lie beside me. Let me see the division of your pores. Let me see the web of scars made by your family's claws and you their furniture. Let me see the wounds that they denied. The battle ground of family life that has been your body. Let me see the bruised red lines that signal their encampment. Let me see the routed place where they are gone. Lie beside me and let the seeing be healing. No need to hide. No need for either darkness or light. Let me see you as you are.”
“What is remembered is not a deed in stone but a metaphor. Meta = above. Pheren = to carry. That which is carried above the literalness of life. A way of thinking that avoids the problems of gravity. The word won't let me down. The single word that can release me from all that unuttered weight.”
“Two things significantly distinguish human beings from the other animals; an interest in the past and the possibility of language. Brought together they make a third: Art. The invisible city not calculated to exist. Beyond the lofty pretensions of the merely ceremonial, long after the dramatic connivings of plitical life, like it or not, it remains. Time past eternally present and undestroyed.”
“The winged word. The mercurial word. The word that is both moth and lamp. The word that is itself and more. the associative word light with meanings. The word not netted by meaning. The exact word wide. The word not whore nor cenobite. The word unlied.”
“The fatal combination of indulgence without feeling disgusts me. Strange to be both greedy and dead. For myself, I prefer to hold my desires just out of reach of appetite, to keep myself honed and sharp. I want the keen edge of longing. it is so easy to be a brute and yet it has become rather fashionable. Is that the consequence of leaving your body to science? Of assuming that another pill, another drug, another car, another pocket-sized home-movie station, a DNA transfer, or the complete freedom of choice that five hundred TV channels must bring, will make everything all right? Will soothe the nagging pain in the heart that the latest laser scan refuses to diagnose? The doctor's surgery is full of men and women who do not know why they are unhappy. "Take this", says the Doctor, "you'll soon feel better." They do not feel better, because, little by little, they cease to feel at all.”
“I know from my own experience that suicide is not what it seems. Too easy to try to piece together the fragmented life. The spirit torn in bits so that the body follows.”
“Can I? Can I speak my mind or am I dumb inside a borrowed language, captive of bastard thoughts? What of me is mine?”
“In the modern world there was so much safety that safety had become the chief source of danger.”
“Examine this statement: ‘A woman cannot be a poet.’ Dr Samuel Johnson (Englishman 1709-84 Occupation: Language Fixer and Big Mouth.) What then shall I give up? My poetry or my womanhood?”
“The asynarte city; two rhythms unconnected, profanity, holiness, and out of that strange bed, art.”
“It's so crude' complained her mother, who believed in Good Taste the way Sunday worshipers believed in the Immaculate Conception. She wasn't quite sure what it was but she was sure it was important.”
“Saddest of all are the woman who were brought up to believe that self-sacrifice is the highest female virtue.”
“Our broken society is not born out of the triumph of the individual, but out of his effacement. He vanishes, she vanishes, ask them who they are and they will offer you a wallet or a child.”
“Love me Sophia, in my foolishness, love my words and not my mortal remains. be tidal to me in the constancy of change. Break over me where I feel most safe, be a shore to me, when I fear I am a wave in the water, endlessly slipping away. Lift me up like a shell from the beach, now empty, now full. Lift me up and there are still songs.”
“I need the dark places to get outside of common sense”
“Fall for me, as an apple falls, as rain falls, because you must. Use gravity to anchor your desire.”
“I put the words into a flask and flung them out to sea. Flung them far out from me, made through myself, but not myself. Only a fool tries to reconstruct a bunch of grapes from a bottle of wine.
The world is packed tight with fools.”
“I have come so far so fast that I haven't had time to ask whether or not this is where I want to be”
“What's left? Romance. Love's counterfeit free of charge to all. Fall into my arms and the world with its sorrows will shrink up into a tinsel ball. This is the favorite antidote to the cold robot life of faraway perils and nearby apathy. Apathy. From the Greek A Pathos. Want of feeling. But, don't we know, only find the right boy, only find the right girl, and the feeling will be yours. My colleagues tell me I need just such a remedy. Buried up to my neck in pink foam nothing can hurt me now. Safe to feel. All I can feel is you darling.”
“The words come at my call but who calls whom?”
“He turned away and I turned to him in vivid heat to look on the sun-dried world. The groves and towers were gone. The Word was gone. The sea had shrunk away leaving only the blue mist of after-rain. Ignorant of alchemy they put their faith in technology and turned the whole world into gold. The dead sand shone.”
“The dead are on their way to work, grey limbs rubbing together in an open grave, stack on stack in the metal containers of car, tube and train. The grisly carriages are painted bright colors, guillotine colors of tumbril and blade, execution-bright. Each man and woman goes to their particular scaffold, kneels, and is killed day after day. Each collects their severed head and catches the train home. Some say that they enjoy their work.”
“And myself? Observe me. There is something to be gained from my surface uses, and perhaps a little more from my lower depths, but my very bottom? That's where I am alone, the observer and the observed.”
“Homelessness is illegal. In my city no one is homeless although there are an increasing number of criminals living on the street. It was smart to turn an abandones class into a criminal class, sometimes people feel sorry for the down and outs, they never feel sorry for criminals, it has been a great stabilizer.”
“If we were in Victorian England I would have called him dashing;but, since we lived in the 21st century I would have to settle for the wordier GQ model hot.”
“And there were carved hearts in the trunks of trees with the initials of couples who felt there was no more romantic thing they could do to celebrate their love than scar the local plant life”
“So are you telling me…" he composed his thoughts. "Are you telling me that if you told the last story again, and changed the young woman to a young man, then somewhere in history that same young woman would suddenly grow a beard?" Tallis laughed at the image. "I don't know," she said. "I suppose so.”
“The little kids by the water threw their hands in the air and squealed, chasing each other in circles.
It was hard to believe that I’d ever been that small. That young. That happy and clueless. They had
pain ahead. Heartbreak. Loss. They didn’t know and I didn’t want them to – but at the same time, I
hated that I hadn’t known. I’d taken everything for granted – my mother, my friends in Alexandria,
playing hockey. I dreamed about the future because that’s what people persuade you to do when
you’re a kid, but that’s the biggest lie of all – that you can plan. Reality is, you have no fucking clue
what’s coming and neither do they”
“When the State withers, humanity flowers.”
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