Sunday, May 4, 2014


[An offering composed solely in epigraphs; before you applaud my diligence, know that I stockpile these things with a view to borrow them when one might buoy or bolster my own work somewhere down the line. I have tried to approximate a typical journal entry with respect to overall theme and semi-cohesiveness within the post itself—the former being a tinge gloomy, the latter being hit and miss. Either way, it's a stretch. Sources at the end.]

“Are You Done With That and May I Use It?”

2/ 29/ 14

Mysterious Preamble:

My friends, we had a hard time as youths; we suffered from youth itself as though it were a serious disease <1> Art is sad and/ life is vapid [but] can we thumb/ our nose at the very sea? <2>. It seems to [me] that life [is] immeasurably long.  Couldn’t the test of man [be] carried out in fewer years?  Couldn’t we commit our first major sin at seven . . . ruin ourselves for love or hate at ten . . . [clutch at redemption] on a fifteen- year-old death-bed?  <3>

Tiptoe Into Topic:

Having had to encounter single-handed during [my] period of eclipse many physical dangers, [I] was aware of the most dangerous element common to them all: of the crushing, paralyzing sense of human littleness, which is what really defeats a man struggling with natural forces, alone, far from the eyes of [my] fellows. <4>

Have you ever hoped so much it hurt, literally hurt like . . . like bruised ribs, and then, finally, letting go and the air comes rushing in, and you can breathe so never mind hope because at least you can breathe?

Never had bruised ribs?

Well they hurt and it’s hard to breathe. <5>

I do not know what you are supposed to do with memories like these. It feels wrong to want to forget. Perhaps this is why we write these things down, so we can move on. <6>

I wanted the moments of my life to follow each other and order themselves like those of a life remembered.  I might as well try to catch time by the tail.  <7>  But that’s always the way with looking back. You either  . . . come to terms with the madness of living a life at random or treat
the concatenation of all your yesterdays as a lifelong strand of nonsense. <8> 

It is not [me] the novelist and me the poet, but one man interpreting life as emotion. <9> All [I can do is] hope . . . eat, sleep and cringe before [my] omens. <10>


Your eyes, too,  must be readjusted , for/ Here people, owl-like, see only by dark, and grope by day. <11> “The world,” she thought, “is full of beautiful things, if only I could come across them.” <12> 

[But] in a world that contains the present moment why discriminate? Let it exist, this bank this beauty, and I, for one instant, steeped in pleasure . The sun is hot. I see the river. I see trees specked and burnt in the autumn light… far away a bell tolls, but not for death. There are bells that ring for life. <13> Here undoubtedly lies the chief poetic energy:--in the force of imagination that . . . exalts the solid fact, instead of floating among cloud pictures. <14>


I live . . . that is to say . . . [have] not yet died—in a ruinous place. <15>  When my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil . . . <16>  all day, I wandered in the glittering metaphor/ for which I could find no referent. <17>

Spade plucked his cigarette from between his lips. <18> ‘In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak . . .’

‘. . . but for that route thou must have long legs . . . <19> [to] discover if there is anything to be got at last for the said grim and time-bang’d conch.’

‘I don’t believe it or disbelieve it, [Jonathan].  I don’t know a damned thing about it.’ <20>


To be occupied or conquered is nothing—to remain is all. --Anne Sexton
The shadow whose lack you feel . . . Friday’s tongue. – J.M. Coetzee
Nothing is so mute as a god’s mouth.  – Rainer Maria Rilke

O God, stop frightening me with your terrors. -- Job
Whether for misery or joy -- D. H. Lawrence
When I’m dead, know . . . . I’ve kissed and cried over this. -- Charles Darwin

Pithy Conclusion/ Magical Reprisal

We are oppressed at being humans, humans with our own real bodies and blood; we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace, and we keep trying to be some sort of fairy-tale universal beings <21> -- the chief poetic energy . . . floating among cloud[s]. <22>

Works Borrowed From:

<1> Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power.
<2> O’Hara, Frank.“Night Thoughts in Greenwich Village” Collected Poems.
<3> Greene, Graham. The Heart of the Matter.
<4> Conrad, Joseph. Almayer's Folly. 
<5> Me. The Gist of Elijah. 
<6> Jones, Lloyd. Mister Pip.
<7> Jean-Paul, Sartre. Truth and Existence.
<8> Me. The Gist of Elijah.
<9> Moore, Marianne. “Picking and Choosing”.
<10> Bowles, Paul. The Sheltering Sky.
<11> Warren, Robert Penn. “Inevitable Frontier” The Collected Poems.
<12> Forster, E. M. A Room With a View.
<13> Woolf, Virginia. The Waves.
<14> Eliot, George. Daniel Deronda.
<15> Dickens, Charles. Bleak House.
<16> Job 29:6
<17> Robert Penn, Warren. “Time as Hypnosis”.
<18> Hammet, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon.
<19> Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
<20> Hammet, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon.
<21> Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Notes From the Underground.
<22> Eliot, George. Daniel Deronda.

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