"I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that's alive. My self does not differ substantially from yours in terms of its thought. Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain. The basis of the self is not thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings. While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self. In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of egocentrism."
- Milan Kundera
"The more I've learned in my life, the more acutely I've felt my hunger and blindness, and at the same time the closer I've felt to the end of hunger, the end of blindness. At times I've felt myself to be clinging onto the rim - of what I can hardly say without the risk of sounding ridiculous - only to slip and find myself deeper in the hole than ever. And there, in the dark, I find again in myself a form of praise for all that continues to crush my certainty."
- Nicole Krauss
All things in the end are bittersweet -
An empty gaze, a little way-station just beyond silence.
If you can't delight in the everyday,
you have no future here.
And if you can, no future either.
And time, black dog, will sniff you out,
and lick your lean cheeks,
And lie down beside you - warm, real close - and will not move.
- Charles Wright
I know more or less
how to live through my life now.
But I want to know how to live what's left
with my eyes open and my hands open;
I want to stand at the door in the rain
listening, sniffing, gaping.
Fearful and joyous,
like an idiot before God.
- Kerrie Hardie
from What's Left
Cry for the Hot Belly
Not the loss alone,
But what comes after.
If it ended completely
At loss, the rest
But you go on.
And the world also.
And words, words
In a poem or song:
Aren't they a stream
On which your feelings float?
Aren't they also
The banks of that stream
And you yourself the flowing?
- Gregory Orr
After the end of something, there comes another end,
This one behind you, and far away.
Only a lifetime can get you to it,
and then just barely.
- Charles Wright
In my body you search the mountain
for the sun buried in its forest.
In your body I search for the boat
adrift in the middle of the night.
- Octavio Paz
One mourner says if I can just get through this year as if salvation comes in January.
Slow dance of suicides into the earth:
I see no proof there is anything else. I keep my obituary current, but believe that good times are right around the corner
Una grande scultura posse rotolare giù per una collina senza rompersi, Michelangelo is believed to have said (though he never did): To determine the essential parts of a sculpture, roll it down a hill. The inessential parts will break off.
That hill, graveyard of the inessential, is discovered by the hopeless and mistaken for the world just before they mistake themselves for David's white arms.
They are wrong. But to assume oneself essential is also wrong: a conundrum.
To be neither essential nor inessential - not to exist except as the object of someone's belief, like those good times lying right around the corner - is the only possibility.
Nothing, nobody matters.
And yet the world is full of love
- Sarah Manguso
It was like getting a love letter from a tree
Eyes closed forever to find you -
There is a life which
if I could have it
I would have chosen for myself from the beginning.
- Franz Wright
Walking to Martha's Vineyard