“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
“They will not let you have peace, they don't want you to have anything they don't have themselves.”
“Madness is only an amplification of what you already are.”
“This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing.”
“I would rather dance as a ballerina, though faultily, than as a flawless clown.”
“The animals have no need for speech, why talk when you are a word.”
“it's doors I'm afraid of because I can't see through them, its the door opening by itself in the wind I'm afraid of.”
“There's more than one way to skin a cat, my father used to say; it bothered me, I didn't see why they would want to skin a cat even one way.”
“We battled in secret, undeclared, and after a while I no longer fought back because I never won. The only defense was flight, invisibility.”
“Anything that suffers and dies instead of us is Christ; if they didn't kill birds and fish they would have killed us. The animals die that we may live, they are substitute people, hunters in the fall killing the deer, that is Christ also. And we eat them, out of cans or otherwise; we are eaters of death, dead Christ-flesh resurrecting inside us, granting us life. Canned Spam, canned Jesus, even the plants must be Christ.”
“When you can't tell the difference between your own pleasure and your pain then you're an addict.”
“Being socially retarded is like being mentally retarded, it arouses in others disgust and pity and the desire to torment and reform.”
“From any rational point of view I am absurd; but there are no longer any rational points of view.”
“Language divides us into fragments, I wanted to be whole.”
“...that's what Hiltler exemplified: not the triumph of evil but the failure of reason.”
“A divorce is like an amputation, you survive but there's less of you.”
“She must have heard the door opening and closing in the middle of the night; she produces a smile, warm, conspiratorial, and I know what circuits are closing in her head: by screwing Joe she's brought us back together. Saving the world, everyone wants to; men think they can do it with guns, women with their bodies, love conquers all, conquerors love all, mirages raised by words.”
“speech to him was a task, a battle, words mustered behind his beard and issued one at a time, heavy and square like tanks.”
“The trouble is all in the knob at the top of our bodies. I’m not against the body or the head either: only the neck, which creates the illusion that they are separate. The language is wrong, it shouldn’t have different words for them. If the head extended directly into the shoulders like a worm’s or a frog’s without that constriction, that lie, they wouldn’t be able to look down at their bodies and move them around as if they were robots or puppets; they would have to realize that if the head is detached from the body both of them will die.”
“The heart with letters on it shining like a light bulb through the trim hole painted in the chest, art history.”
“Second-hand American was spreading over him in patches, like mange or lichen. He was infested, garbled, and I couldn't help him: it would take such time to heal, unearth him, scrape down to where he was true.”
“From her handbag she takes a round gilt compact with violets on the cover. She opens it, unclosing her other self, and runs her fingertip around the corners of her mouth, left one, right one; then she unswivels a pink stick and dots her cheeks and blends them, changing her shape, performing the only magic left to her.
Rump on a packsack, harem cushion, pink on the cheeks and black discreetly around the eyes, as red as blood as black as ebony, a seamed and folded imitation of a magazine picture that is itself an imitation of a woman who is also an imitation, the original nowhere, hairless lobed angel in the same heaven where God is a circle, captive princess in someone's head. She is locked in, she isn't allowed to eat or shit or cry or give birth, nothing goes in, nothing comes out. She takes her clothes off or puts them on, paper doll wardrobe, she copulates under strobe lights with the man's torso while his brain watches from its glassed-in control cubicle at the other end of the room, her face twists into poses of exultation and total abandonment, that is all. She is not bored, she has no other interests.”
“The trouble some people have being German, I thought, I have being human. In a way it was stupid to be more disturbed by a dead bird than by those other things, the wars and riots and the massacres in the newspapers. But for the wars and riots there was always an explanation, people wrote books about them saying why they happened: the death of the heron was causeless, undiluted.”
“He thought of it as a contest, like the children at school who would twist your arm and say Give in? Give in? until you did; then they would let go. He didn't love me, it was an idea of himself he loved and he wanted someone to join him, anyone would do, I didn't matter so I didn't have to care.”
“I leafed through all the men I had known to see whether or not I hated them. But then I realized it wasn't the men I hated, it was the Americans, the human beings, men and women both. They'd had their chance but they had turned against the gods, and it was time for me to choose sides. I wanted there to be a machine that could make them vanish, a button I could press that would evaporate them without disturbing anything else, that way there would be more room for the animals, they would be rescued.”
“You all right?" he said again.
I didn't love him, I was far away from him, it was as though I was seeing him through a smeared window or glossy paper; he didn't belong here. But he existed, he deserved to be alive. I was wishing I could tell him how to change so he could get there, the place where I was.
"Yes," I said. I touched him on the arm with my hand. My hand touched his arm. Hand touched arm. Language divides us into fragments, I wanted to be whole.”
“Do you love me, that's all," he said. "That's the only thing that matters."
It was the language again, I couldn't use it because it wasn't mine. He must have known what he meant but it was an imprecise word; the Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them, there ought to be as many for love.”
“His drawings were not originals then, only copies. He must have been doing them as a sort of retirement hobby, he was an incurable amateur and enthusiast; if he'd become hooked (on these rock paintings) he would have combed the area for them, collecting them with his camera, pestering experts by letter whenever he found one; an old man's delusion of usefulness.”
“Can you lead to dignity a man abused by his employer? Can you give hope for a new life to a woman whose infant has died? Can you guide an oppressed people to freedom and power?”
“ You don't have to hide your natural inclination to boss me around. I want you to feel comfortable with me, Edwart. To the point of domination."
"Okay, okay." He took a deep breath and pointed at me. "You," he said stiffly, the words flowing straight from some primordial, bossy wordbank. "Come to the place where you want to go, which, hopefully, is my car, where I will be, God willing.”
“All the most powerful emotions come from chaos -fear,anger,love- especially love. Love is chaos itself. Think about it! Love makes no sense. It shakes you up and spins you around. And then, eventually , it falls apart.”
“Pumpkin?” He nodded at the cookies.
“Anna Banana, I love you.”
“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same”
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