“This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.”—Theodore Roethke, from “The Waking” (via growing-orbits)
“Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools.”—Salman Rushdie, from The Ground Beneath Her Feet (with thanks to pavorst)
“The scary thing about somebody
jumping from the top of a tall building
is not the fall or the jump itself
or the rush of air that chokes
into being that person’s last breath.
It is not even the man, on his way to work,
who finds the seven body parts
spread across six paving stones.
It is not the sirens that are blue
with nothing to rush to,
nor the cold of the zipper on a black
and silver body bag
or the sound of the bristles
pushed forth and back, forth and back,
until nobody would know of the life
that once saw its last there.
The scary thing about somebody
jumping from the top of a tall building
is the dark they saw
when they stood on the ledge
and looked for the stars,
that maybe they took the stairs
two at a time, or the pile of rubbish
they saw swirling in circles too small
to catch the headlines of that days news.
It is the town that was deserted,
that nobody saw them walk
through the streets or stand at the foot
of the building and look up,
it is the look on their face as they chose
which coat to wear and the way
they closed their blue front door
knowing they had no need to take a key.”—The scary thing about those who jump, Emma McGordon (via clavicola)
You like soft corners, soft colors, pastels and monochrome sunsets. You have a delicate palate, an over-washed tongue, but the world is bleeding beaten reds and cigarette burn blacks and you keep closing your eyes to every paper cut along your lips without realizing that that’s just another medium for us to paint our skin with.
Here is another moon for you to swallow, to grind down into dust so you can soak up the black ink of your eyes. Here’s a cup of tea. I spiked it with the year’s fatalities and last week’s broken limbs.
Your words are delicate, like wrists, like the chastity of naivety. Conversations delicate, like the ellipses of my vertebrae. You speak and assume we all hear wind chimes. I answer, and the earth clears it’s throat.
I want to rip open your skin and use your body to hide all the monsters that I’ve gathered that we’re all too scared to look for. Coarsen your lips with my words and show you how good it feels to throw glass at brick walls and break hearts with steel boots.
I want to watch buildings burn in the reflection of your eyes. You, with porcelain features and blown glass eyes. Delicate, soft-cornered, soft-colored, with a voice like honeysuckle wine. You chaste angel, you beautiful demon. I have looked you in the eye and I’ve watched as Heaven and Hell parted their lips to greet you.
But still, you smile, clink the glass in your chalice, and touch the next man’s shoulder with the echoes of your fingertips and watch as the world crumbles in your wake.
I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.”—Wallace Stevens, from “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon” (via gammasandgerunds)
“For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feels how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else - ); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they were many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves - only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.”—from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910) - Rainer Maria Rilke (via ruefle)
Tell yourself as it gets cold and gray falls from the air that you will go on walking, hearing the same tune no matter where you find yourself— inside the dome of dark or under the cracking white of the moon’s gaze in a valley of snow. Tonight as it gets cold tell yourself what you know which is nothing but the tune your bones play as you keep going. And you will be able for once to lie down under the small fire of winter stars. And if it happens that you cannot go on or turn back and you find yourself where you will be at the end, tell yourself in that final flowing of cold through your limbs that you love what you are.
Listen to me as one listens to the rain, not attentive, not distracted, light footsteps, thin drizzle, water that is air, air that is time, the day is still leaving, the night has yet to arrive, figurations of mist at the turn of the corner, figurations of time at the bend in this pause, listen to me as one listens to the rain, without listening, hear what I say with eyes open inward, asleep with all five senses awake, it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables, air and water, words with no weight: what we are and are, the days and years, this moment, weightless time and heavy sorrow, listen to me as one listens to the rain, wet asphalt is shining, steam rises and walks away, night unfolds and looks at me, you are you and your body of steam, you and your face of night, you and your hair, unhurried lightning, you cross the street and enter my forehead, footsteps of water across my eyes, listen to me as one listens to the rain, the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street, it is the mist, wandering in the night, it is the night, asleep in your bed, it is the surge of waves in your breath, your fingers of water dampen my forehead, your fingers of flame burn my eyes, your fingers of air open eyelids of time, a spring of visions and resurrections, listen to me as one listens to the rain, the years go by, the moments return, do you hear the footsteps in the next room? not here, not there: you hear them in another time that is now, listen to the footsteps of time, inventor of places with no weight, nowhere, listen to the rain running over the terrace, the night is now more night in the grove, lightning has nestled among the leaves, a restless garden adrift-go in, your shadow covers this page.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.”—Neil Gaiman, American Gods (via pavorst)