Friday, March 27, 2009

Fugitive Pieces

I recently read a book whose language made my mouth water. I literally had to stop and gather myself before I could continue reading because I was just so enthralled by these words. They drove me crazy! (in a good way).

For my own sake, I'm transcribing some of my favorite parts. (If the end quote isn't there, it means it goes on to the next paragraph, just FYI.) Feel free to skim through them--this blog is not for you. It's for me! :)

Oh, delicious words...

"Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another."

"'Look at me, look at me' to convince me of his goodness, he couldn't know how he terrified me, how meaningless the words. If truth is not in the face, then where is it? In the hands! In the hands."

"I embraced him with all my strength, again and again, but he would not come back. It is impossible to reach the emptiness in each cell. His death was quiet; rain on the sea."

"The best teacher lodges an intent not in the mind but in the heart."

"One can look deeply for meaning or one can invent it."

"Love must change you, it can only change you."

"There's a Hebrew saying: Hold a book in your hand and you're a pilgrim at the gates of a new city."

"I lost myself, discovered the world could disappear. During long evenings, in the blush of the lamp, in the purity of white pages."

"I'm a kabbalist only in that I believe in the power of incantation. A poem is as neural as love; the rut of rhythm that veers the mind."

"'Write to save yourself,' Athos said, 'and someday you'll write because you've been saved.'"

"Her hair and hat circle her quiet face. She's young. There are twenty-five years between us. Looking at her I feel such pure regret, such clean sadness, it's almost like joy. Her hat, the snow, remind me of Akhmatova's poem where, in two lines, the poet shakes her fists and then closes her hands in prayer: 'You're many years late,/ how happy I am to see you.'"

"Michaela offers her ancestors to me. I'm shocked at my hunger for her memories. Love feeds on the protein of detail, suck facts to the marrow; just as there's no generality in the body, every particular speaking at once until there's such a crying out....

"I am leaning forward on the sofa, she is sitting on the floor, the small table between us. It seems to be absolution simply to listen to her. But I know that if she touches me my shame will be exposed, she'll see my ugliness, my thinning hair, the teeth that aren't my own. She'll see in my body the terrible things that have marked me."

"He told me that the year before, he'd bought tubes of yellow paint, every shade of the brightest yellow, but he couldn't bring himself to use them. He continued to paint in the same dark ochres and browns.

"The serenity of a winter bedroom; the street quiet except for a shovel scraping the sidewalk, a sound that seems to gather silence around it. The first morning I woke to Michaela--my head on the small of her back, her heels like two islands under the blanket--I knew that this was my first experience of the color yellow."

"In Michaela's favorite restaurant, I lift my glass and cutlery spills onto the expensive tiled floor. The sound crashes high as the skylight. Looking at me, Michaela pushes her own silverware over the edge.

"I fell in love amid the clattering of spoons...."

"Is there a woman who will slowly undress my spirit, bring my body to belief."

"Naomi, whom I've known for eight years--I can't tell you what her wrists look like, or the knot of bone of her ankle, or how her hairs grows at the back of her neck, but I can tell you her mood almost before she enters the room. I can tell you what she likes to eat, how she holds a glass, what she would make of a certain painting or headline. I know what she makes of her memories. I know what she remembers. I know her memories."

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