“To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.”—"To Be In Love," Gwendolyn Brooks
“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.”—T. S. Eliot, from The Four Quartets (via proustitute)
“I thought of Mother singing ‘O Magnum Mysterium,’ saying grace, praying with easy confidence, and it came to me that her imagination was superior to mine. She could imagine things as coming together, not falling apart.”—"The Liar," Tobias Wolff
"Style is a maneuver around what you can’t do, not only linguistically with the writing but it’s actually a maneuver around things you can’t deal with. That’s what’s really interesting. People think that writing fiction is a way of confronting when it’s actually often a way of working around because if you went into the dead heart of the things that you’re really trying to understand, if you flew right into the sun, you’d probably destroy yourself."
-David Means in an interview with the New Yorker talking about Raymond Carver’s story “Chef’s House”
"What are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their potential? The answer to that can be found in another question and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic: fear, or laziness?"
I lay down for a nap. But everytime I closed my eyes, mares’ tails passed slowly over the Strait towards Canada. And the waves. They rolled up on the beach and then back again. You know I don’t dream. But last night I dreamt we were watching a burial at sea. At first I was astonished. And then filled with regret. But you touched my arm and said, “No, it’s all right. She was very old, and he’d loved her all her life.”
“Have you ever lost yourself in a kiss? I mean pure psychedelic inebriation. Not just lustful petting but transcendental metamorphosis when you became aware that the greatness of this being was breathing into you. Licking the sides and corners of your mouth, like sealing a thousand fleshy envelopes filled with the essence of your passionate being and then opened by the same mouth and delivered back to you, over and over again - the first kiss of the rest of your life. A kiss that confirms that the universe is aligned, that the world’s greatest resource is love, and maybe even that God is a woman. With or without a belief in God, all kisses are metaphors decipherable by allocations of time, circumstance, and understanding.”—Saul Williams
“April did not see virginity as residing in the body. To her it was a quality of the spirit, and something you could only surrender in the spirit. She had done this; she didn’t know exactly when or how, but she knew she had done this and she didn’t regret it. She did not want to be a virgin and would not pretend to be one, not for anything. When she thought of a virgin she saw someone half-naked, with dumb trusting eyes and flowers woven into her hair, bound at the wrists. She saw a clearing in the jungle, and in the clearing an altar.”—"Sanity," Tobias Wolff
“My wife comes in and praises the fire, knowing the pride it gives me. She lies on the couch with her book but doesn’t read it. I don’t read mine, either. I watch the fire, watch the changing light on the faces of my family. I try to feel at home, and I do, almost entirely. This is the moment I dream of when I am far away; this is my dream of home. But in the very heart of it I catch myself bracing a little, as if in fear of being tricked. As if to really believe in it will somehow make it vanish, like a voice waking me from sleep.”—"Firelight," Tobias Wolff
"We’re supposed to smile at the passions of the young, and at what we recall of our own passions, as if they were no more than a series of sweet frauds we’d fooled ourselves with and then wised up to. Not only the passion of boys and girls for each other but the others, too—passion for justice, for doing right, for turning the world around. All these come in their time under our wintry smiles. Yet there was nothing foolish about what we felt. Nothing merely young. I just wasn’t up to it. I let the light go out."