They began to come upon from time to time small cairns of rock by the roadside. They were signs in gypsy language, lost patterans. The first he'd seen in some while, common in the north, leading out of the looted and exhausted cities, hopeless messages to loved ones lost and dead. By then all stores of food had given out and murder was everywhere upon the land. The world soon to be populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anonymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches drod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes. Out on the roads pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sister-world in the ancient dark beyond.
— Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 152-3.
26 January 2007
25 January 2007
14 January 2007
He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath. Trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.
— Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 9-10.
05 January 2007
Wherever we are is unlikely.
Our few kisses — I don't know if
they're of goodbye or of
what — or if she knows either.
Neither do I understand why it's
exhilarating — as well as the other things it is —
to know one doesn't have a future,
or how much longer one won't have one.
Future tramples all prediction.
Hope loses hope. Clarity
turns out to be
an invisible form of sadness.
We look for a bridge to cross
to the other shore where our other
could be looking for us
but all the river crossings
all the way to the sea
have been bombed. We look for a tree —
touch it — touch
right through it — sometimes nowhere
is there anything to hitch oneself to,
and we must make our way by pure balance.
This is so and can't be helped
without doing damage to oneself.
— Galway Kinnell, Strong Is Your Hold, 64.
... Weren't you cheered to see the ironworkers
sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,
in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe
balone on white with fluorescent mustard?
... What did you imagine lies in wait anyway
at the end of a world whose sub-substance
is blaim, gleet, birdlime, slime, mucus, muck?
Forget about becoming emaciated. Think of a wren
and how little flesh is needed to make a song...
— Ibid., from "Why Regret?", 65.
Make notes and make notes and make notes.
The music will appear.
03 January 2007
01 January 2007
A woman can always get some practical use from a torn-up life, Gabriel decided. She likes mending it and patching it, making sure the edges are straight. She spreads the last shred out and takes its measure: "What can I do with this remnant? How long does it need to last?" A man puts on his life ready-made. If it doesn't fit, he will try to exchange it for another. Only a fool of a man will try to adjust the sleeves or move the buttons: he doesn't know how.
— Mavis Gallant, Paris Stories, 183.