October 23, 2008


The whole world was afraid of mother:
the trees shivered in the wind,
the bushes hunched together, trying to hide,
the grass lay flat and silent on the ground.
Even the air shrieked.
-- Jessica Lamb Shapiro, "The Animal Kingdom"
(McSweeney's 14)

October 21, 2008


Like a skater on thinning ice,
she accelerated to save herself from drowning.
She tore through her sentences,
as though speed alone would generate sense,
as though she could propel him too past contradictions,
swing him so fast along the curve of her intention
that there could be no objection he could grasp at.
-- Ian McEwan, "On Chesil Beach"

October 18, 2008


The tears you shed over a child
were not the same as any others.
They burned your throat and
your corneas. They left you blind.
-- Jodi Picoult, "The Tenth Circle"

October 16, 2008


For the first time,
her love for Edward
was associated with a definable
physical sensation, as irrefutable as vertigo.
Before, she had known only
a comforting broth of warm emotions,
a thick winter blanket of kindness and trust.

That had always seemed enough,
an achievement in itself.

Now here at last
were the beginnings of desire,
precise and alien, but clearly her own;
and beyond, as though suspended
above and behind her, just out of sight,
was relief that she was just like everyone else.
-- Ian McEwan, "On Chesil Beach"

October 14, 2008


They had slept so close to each other
that their body heat would rise up
each night like a spirit on the ceiling,
and they'd wake up with the covers
kicked off on the floor.
-- Jodi Picoult, "The Tenth Circle"

October 13, 2008


"Gosh, I didn't know
he was such a shrimp."

"Yeah, he's little.
But so is a tarantula."
--Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood"

October 12, 2008


The magician seemed to promise
that something torn to bits
might be mended without a seam ...
The true magic of this broken world
lay in the ability of the things
it contained to vanish,
to become so thoroughly lost,
that they might never have existed in the first place.
-- Michael Chabon, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"

October 11, 2008


She got so she received all things
with the stolidness of the earth
which soaks up urine and perfume
with the same indifference.
-- Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

October 10, 2008


She told him that she wished
there were another commandment,
an eleventh etched into the tablets:
Do not change.
--Jonathan Safran Foer, "Everything Is Illuminated"

October 9, 2008


A story was a form of telepathy.
By means of inking symbols onto a page,
she was able to transfer thoughts and feelings
from her mind to her reader's.
It was a magical process, so commonplace
that no one stopped to wonder at it.
Reading a sentence and understanding it
were the same thing ...
There was no gap
during which the symbols were unravelled.
-- Ian McEwan, "Atonement

October 7, 2008


A minute later
she asked me
if I loved her.
I told her
it didn't mean
anything but that
I didn't think so.
-- Albert Camus, "The Stranger"
(trans. Matthew Ward)

October 6, 2008


After a while, she took her hair from its bun;
it cascaded across her face like a black veil.
The hair smelled extravagant and secret,
the smell of a rare flower
that only bloomed at night.
-- Scott Heim, "Mysterious Skin"

October 5, 2008


Nothing would have surprised him,
because he knew that women are just like men
in their secret adventures:
the same strategems,
the same sudden inspirations,
the same betrayals without remorse.
-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Love in the Time of Cholera"

October 3, 2008


The end of the world has come often,
and continues to often come.
Unforgiving, unrelenting,
bringing darkness upon darkness,
the end of the world is something
we have become well acquainted with,
habitualized, made into a ritual.

It is our religion
to try to forget it
in its absence, make peace
with it when it is undeniable,
and return its embrace
when it finally comes for us,
as it always does.

-- Jonathan Safran Foer, "Everything Is Illuminated"

October 2, 2008


I crawl home at midnight,
staggering and limping --
it's both the beer and
the wound deep inside me.
Tipsily, I'm licking
my wound like a cat:
my thought probes it
like a loose tooth,
inviting the dull sweet pain
over and over again --
dreams and wishes that won't
stand the light of day.
-- Johanna Sinisalo, "Troll"

October 1, 2008


... his own face enthralled him.
Each angle of it induced
a different impression.
It was a changeling's face,
and mirror-guided experiments
had taught him how to ring the changes,
how to look now ominous,
now impish,
now soulful;
a tilt of the head,
a twist of the lips,
and the corrupt gypsy
became the gentle romantic.
-- Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood"