“But when you’re a kid it’s like you’re wearing these binoculars strapped to your eyes and you can’t see anything except what’s in the dead center of the lenses”
“They were totally alone, those kids, like each had been accidentally sent to earth from a distant planet to live among adult humans and be dependent on them for everything because compared to the adult humans they were extremely fragile creatures and didn't know the language or how anything here worked and hadn't arrived with any money. And because they were like forbidden by the humans to use their old language they'd forgotten it so they couldn't be much company or help to each other either. They couldn't even talk about the old days and so pretty soon they forgot there ever were any old days and all there was now was life on earth with adult humans who called them children and acted toward them like they owned them and like they were objects not living creatures with souls.”
“It was strange to stand there in front of the mirror and see myself like I was my own best friend, a kid wanted to hang with forever. This was a boy I could travel to the seacoasts with, a boy I'd like to meet up with in foreign cities like Calcutta and London and Brazil, a boy I could trust who also had a good sense of humor and liked smoked oysters from a can and good weed and the occasional 40 ounces of malt. If I was going to be alone for the rest of my life this was the person I wanted to be alone with.”
“It's like a crime is an act that when you've committed one the act is over and you haven't changed inside. But when you commit a sin it's like you create a condition that you have to live in.”
“They were the only three people I'd chosen on my own to love, and they were gone. But still, that morning in Mobay when I saw Russ for the last time, I saw clearly for the first time that loving Sister Rose and I-Man and even Bruce had left me with riches that I could draw on for the rest of my life, I was totally grateful to them.”
“[A Chinese Restaurant.] Roma is seated alone at the booth. Lingk is at the booth next to him. Roma ,i>is talking to him.
* * *
Roma: . . . Eh? What I’m saying, what is our life? (Pause.) It’s looking forward or it’s looking back. And that’s our life. That’s it. Where is the moment? (Pause.) And what is it that we’re afraid of? Loss. What else? (Pause.) The bank,/i> closes. We get sick, my wife died on a plane, the stock market collapsed . . . the house burnt down . . . what of these happen . . . ? None of ’em. We worry anyway. What does this mean? I’m not secure. How can I be secure? (Pause.) Through amassing wealth beyond all measure? No. And what’s beyond all measure? That’s a sickness. That’s a trap. There is no measure. Only greed. How can we act? The right way, we would say, to deal with this: “There is a one-in-a million chance that so and so will happen. . . . Fuck it, it won’t happen to me. . . .” No. We know that’s not the right way I think. (Pause.) We say the correct way to deal with this is “There is a one-in-so-and-so chance that this will happen . . . God protect me. I am powerless, let it not happen to me. . . .” But no to that. I say. There’s something else. What is it? “If it happens, AS IT MAY for that is not within our powers, I will deal with it, just as I do today with what draws my concern today.” I say this is how we must act. I do those things which seem correct to me today. I trust myself. And if security concerns me, I do that which today I think will make me secure. And every day I do that, when that day arrives that I need a reserve, (a) odds are that I have it, and (b) the true reserve that I have is the strength that I have of acting each day without fear. (Pause.) According to the dictates of my mind. (Pause.)”
“ما جدوى السفر حول العالم لرؤية ما يكمن أصلا في قرارة النفس ؟”
Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.
It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.
I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.
I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.
I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.
And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.
It’s the one about the one-ton
with the moth sleeping on its surface,
and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.
When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.
When I say it into the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.
And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,
and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.”
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
“She couldn’t run away from him. She’d be running from her own heart.”
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