30+ quotes from Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

Quotes from Jesus' Son

Denis Johnson ·  160 pages

Rating: (24.6K votes)


“She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she'd done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“I knew every raindrop by its name.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Talk into my bullet hole. Tell me I'm fine.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Sometimes what I wouldn't give to have us sitting in a bar again at 9:00 a.m. telling lies to one another, far from God.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“With each step my heart broke for the person I would never find, the person who'd love me.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“We’d torn open our chests and shown our cowardly hearts, and you can never stay friends after something like that”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“And you, you ridiculous people, you expect me to help you.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn't know what his right hand was doing. It was only that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“The traveling salesmen fed me pills that made the lining of my veins feel scraped out, my jaw ached... I knew every raindrop by its name, I sensed everything before it happened. Like I knew a certain oldsmobile would stop even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside, I knew we'd have an accident in the rain. I didn't care. They said they'd take me all the way.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“There was a part of her she hadn’t yet allowed to be born because it was too beautiful for this place”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“I’d been staying at the Holiday Inn with my girlfriend, honestly the most beautiful woman I’d even known, for three days under a phony name, shooting heroin. We made love in the bed, ate steaks at the restaurant, shot up in the john, puked, cried, accused one another, begged of one another, forgave, promised, and carried one another to heaven.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“[The doctor] peeked into the trauma room and saw the situation: the clerk - that is, me - standing next to the orderly, Georgie, both of us on drugs, looking down at a patient with a knife sticking up out of his face.

'What seems to be the trouble?' he asked.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Think of being curled up and floating in a darkness. Even if you could think, even if you had an imagination, would you ever imagine its opposite, this miraculous world the Asian Taoists call the "Ten Thousand Things"? And if the darkness just got darker? And then you were dead? What would you care? How would you eve know the difference?”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“How could I do it, how could a person go that low? And I understand your question, to which I reply, Are you kidding? That's nothing. I'd been much lower than that. And I expected to see myself do worse.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“I wandered over across the hall where they were showing a short movie about vasectomies. Much later I told her that I'd actually gotten a vasectomy a long time ago, and somebody else must have gotten her pregnant. I also told her once that I had inoperable cancer and would soon be passed away and gone, eternally. But nothing I could think up, no matter how dramatic or horrible, ever made her repent or love me the way she had at first, before she really knew me.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Its always been my tendency to lie to doctors, as if good health consisted only of the ability to fool them.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“There's so much goop inside of us, man," he said, "and it all just wants to get out.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Does everything you touch turn to shit? Does this happen to you every time?"

"No wonder they call me Fuckhead."

It's a name that's going to stick.



― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“That world! These days it's all been erased and they've rolled it up like a scroll and put it away somewhere. Yes, I can touch it with my fingers. But where is it?”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“When we were arguing on my twenty-fourth birthday, she left the kitchen, came back with a pistol, and fired it at me five times from right across the table. But she missed. It wasn't my life she was after. It was more. She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she'd done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“He was completely and openly a mess. Meanwhile the rest of us go on trying to fool each other.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Sometimes I heard voices muttering in my head, and a lot of the time the world seemed to smolder around its edges. but I was in a little better physical shape every day, I was getting my looks back, and my spirits were rising, and this was all in all a happy time for me. All these weirdos, and me getting a little better right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“And yet we were always being found innocent for ridiculous reasons.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“People entering the bars on First Avenue gave up their bodies. Then only the demons inhabiting us could be seen. Souls who had wronged each other were brought together here. The rapist met his victim, the jilted child discovered its mother. But nothing could be healed, the mirror was a knife dividing everything from itself, tears of false fellowship dripped on the bar. And what are you going to do to me now? With what, exactly, would you expect to frighten me?”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“The first time I didn’t say anything, because she shot me in the mouth.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“The Vine had no jukebox, but a real stereo continually playing tunes of alcoholic self-pity and sentimental divorce "Nurse," I sobbed. She poured doubles like an angel, right up to the lip of a cocktail glass, no measuring. " You have a lovely pitching arm." You had to go down on them like a hummingbird over a blossom. I saw her much later, not too many years ago, and when I smiled she seemed to believe I was making advances. But it was only that I remembered. I'll never forgot you. Your husband will beat you with an extension cord and the bus will pull away leaving you standing there in tears, but you were my mother.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Talk into here. Talk into my bullet hole. Tell me I'm fine.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


“Or maybe that wasn't the time it snowed. Maybe it was the time we slept in the truck and I rolled over on the bunnies and flattened them. It doesn't matter. What's important for me to remember now is that early the next morning the snow was melted off the windshield and the daylight woke me up. A mist covered everything and, with the sunshine, was beginning to grow sharp and strange. The bunnies weren't a problem yet, or they'd already been a problem and were already forgotten, and there was nothing on my mind. I felt the beauty of the morning. I could understand how a drowning man might suddenly feel a deep thirst being quenched. Or how a slave might become a friend to his master.”
― Denis Johnson, quote from Jesus' Son


About the author

Denis Johnson
Born place: in Munich, Germany
Born date July 1, 1949
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