“I have packed myself into silence so deeply and for so long that I can never unpack myself using words. When I speak, I only pack myself a little differently.”
“I'm always telling myself I don't have many feelings. Even when something does affect me I'm only moderately moved. I almost never cry. It's not that I'm stronger than the ones with teary eyes, I'm weaker. They have courage. When all you are is skin and bones, feelings are a brave thing. I'm more of a coward. The difference is minimal though, I just use my strength not to cry. When I do allow myself a feeling, I take the part that hurts and bandage it up with a story that doesn't cry, that doesn't dwell on homesickness.”
“يالهُ من عبءٍ أن تكون غريباً ! لكن العبء الأكبر هو حينَ تكون القريب الغريب ، أن تتأرجح بين التقرّب والتغرّب.”
“الغَطرسة مرحلة سابقة للسقوط . .”
“No words are adequate for the suffering caused by hunger. To this day I have to show hunger that I escaped his grasp. Ever since I stopped having to go hungry, I literally eat life itself. And when I eat, I am locked up inside the taste of eating. For sixty years, ever since I came back from the camp, I have been eating against starvation.”
“الكنوز الصغيرة هي تلك التي كتب عليها «هذا أنا هنا».الكنوز الكبيرة هي المكتوب عليها «أنت تعرف بالتأكيد»وأحلاها هي التي كتب عليها «كنتُ هنا»”
“Boredom is fear's patience. Fear doesn't want to exaggerate. Only on occasion--and fear considers this very important--does it want to know how things stand with me.”
“Es ist gar keine Katze, sagte ich mir, nur die Verpelzung der graugestreiften Langeweile, die Geduld der Angst in einer schmalen Straße.”
“Nothing had anything to do with me. I was locked up inside myself and evicted from myself. I didn’t belong to them and I was missing me.”
“Little treasures have a sign that says, Here I am.
Bigger treasures have a sign that says, Do you remember.
But the most precious treasures of all will have a sign saying, I was there.”
“And I’m different without you. You’re the only one who thinks you’re never different.”
“Todo lo que tengo lo llevo conmigo.
O: todo lo mío lo llevo conmigo.
He llevado todo lo que tenía. No era mío. Era o algo destinado a otras finalidades o de otra persona. […]
Llevo un equipaje de silencio. Me he rodeado de un silencio tan hondo y duradero que nunca acierto a abrirme con las palabras. Cuando hablo, solamente me cierro de otra manera.”
“Sometimes things acquire a tenderness, a monstrous tenderness we don’t expect from them.”
“Everything that happens is always simple. And there’s a principle to how things proceed, assuming that they last.”
“En el pasillo de madera, justo al lado del contador del gas, la abuela dijo: SÉ QUE VOLVERÁS. No retuve esa frase en la memoria deliberadamente. Me la llevé al campo de trabajo sin darme cuenta. No tenía ni idea de que me acompañaba. Pero una frase así es libre. Ella actuó en mi interior más que todos los libros que me llevé. SÉ QUE VOLVERÁS se convirtió en cómplice de la pala del corazón y en adversario del ángel del hambre. Yo, que he regresado, puedo decirlo: Una frase así te mantiene con vida.”
“Hunger is an object.
The angel has climbed into my brain.”
The angel doesn't think. He thinks straight.
He's never absent.
He knows my boundaries and he knows his direction.
He knows where I come from and he knows what he does to me.
He knew all this before he met me, and he knows my future.
He lingers in every capillary like quicksilver. First a sweetness in my throat. Then pressure on my stomach and chest. The fear is too much.
Everything has become lighter.
The hunger angel leans to one side as he walks with open eyes. He staggers around in small circles and balances on my breath-swing. He knows the homesickness in the brain and the blind alleys in the air.
The air angel leans to the other side as he walks with open hunger.
H whispers to himself and to me: where there is loading there can also be unloading. He is of the same flesh that he is deceiving. Will have deceived.
He knows about saved bread and cheek-bread and he sends out the white hare.
He says he's coming back but stays where he is.
When he comes, he comes with force.
It's utterly clear:
1 shovel load = 1 gram bread.
Hunger is an object.
“Now I was someone else. We knew each other in a way we no longer were and never would be again. Being a stranger is hard, but being a stranger when you’re so impossibly close is unbearable.”
“I wanted to work out a trade with things that aren’t alive but aren’t dead either. I wanted to make an emergency exchange, trading my body for the horizon line above and the dusty roads on the earth below. I wanted to borrow their endurance, exist without my body, and when the worst was over, slip back into my body and reappear in my fufaika. This had nothing to do with dying, quite the opposite.”
“Some say that over time homesickness loses its specific content, that it starts to smolder and only then becomes all-consuming, because it’s no longer focused on a concrete home.”
“The hunger angel looks at me from the sky and says: Ride back.
I say: But then I’ll die.
If you die, I’ll make everything orange, and it won’t hurt, he says.
And I ride back, and he keeps his word. As I die, the sky over every watchtower turns orange, and it doesn’t hurt.”
“Cement is as impossible to escape as the dust of the earth, you can’t tell where it comes from because it’s already there. And apart from hunger, the only thing in our minds that’s as quick as cement is homesickness. It steals from you the same way cement does, and you can drown in it as well.”
“The Russian commands sound like the name of the camp commandant. Shishtvanyanov: a gnashing and spluttering collection of ch, sh, tch, shch. We can't understand the actual words, but we sense the contempt. You get used to contempt. After a while the commands just sound like a constant clearing of the throat—coughing, sneezing, nose blowing, hacking up mucus. Trudi Pelikan said: Russian is a language that's caught a cold.”
“Sand can be any shade of yellow, from peroxide blond to canary, or even with a tinge of pink.
Yellow sand is tender.”
“In the trinity of skin, bones, and brown water, men and women lose all difference.”
“Every shift is a work of art.”
“The balls were dry as wood, you had to lick and suck at them before they tasted like sour cherries. If you chewed them well, the pit felt very smooth and hot on the tongue. Those night cherries were a happy thing, but they only sharpened our hunger.”
“Everyone eats his words by himself although we’re all eating together. There’s no thought for the hunger of others, you can’t hunger together. Cabbage soup was our main food, but it mainly took the meat from our bones and the sanity from our minds. The hunger angel ran around in hysterics. He lost all proportion, growing more in a single day than grass in an entire summer or snow in an entire winter.”
“I sighed, he sighed, the wind and flowers sighed too. I think those marble statues sighed along as well, in their lack of understanding the human condition”
“Talik said, 'His contract with Lord Berenger ends soon. Ancel will seek a new contract, a high bidder. He wants money, status. He is foolish. Lord Berenger may offer less money, but he is kind, and never puts pets in the ring. Ancel has made many enemies. In the ring, someone will scratch his green eyes out, an "accident."'
Damen was drawn in against his will. 'That's why he's chasing royal attention? He wants the Prince to--' He tried out the unfamiliar vocabulary. '--offer for his contract?'
'The Prince?' said Talik, scornfully. 'Everyone knows the Prince does not keep pets.'
'None at all?' said Damen.
She said, 'You.' She looked him up and down. 'Perhaps the Prince has a taste for men, not these painted Veretian boys who squeal if you pinch them.' Her tone suggested that she approved of this on general principle.”
“I was still cursed with my duality of purpose.”
“Just remember that you're on my list, Marcone. Soon as I get done with all the other evils in this town, you won't be the lesser of them anymore."
Marcone stared at me with half-lidded eyes and said, "Eek.”
“It takes great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.”
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