— Grace Paley, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
— Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love
— John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
I want to see you.
Know your voice.
Recognize you when you
first come ‘round the corner.
Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.
Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.
Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.
I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
He sleeps in a graveyard because the living give him more trouble than the dead. Sticks and leaves twisted into his curly hair, the color of apples forgotten in the sun, sliced open and oxidizing on damp pavement. There is no stench of rot and wet earth when there is nothing to serve as contrast. It is the scent of his life.
In Jayne Mansfield’s cemetery, he would dream below the words etched there and he would run his fingers across the recesses of the letters and speak the syllables. He says, aloud, in the faulty voice of the forgotten: We live to love you more each day. As dew settles on the grass, he brushes it away, then stretching onto his back, staring through the eucalyptus trees to see dragons and mollusks floating in the air.
He finds certain headstones can impersonate flesh, growing warmer, more pliable and bodily as he presses himself against them and this is no illusion, as his panting breath becomes a character of its own, a gang of flightless crows who taught themselves to speak, asking the wind and the rocks and the mighty stillness across this stretch of earth, “Why you? Why you?”
— Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
A woman is a wonderful thing. And you are. But in you, as in all of them, is the indifference of Carmen, the joy of cruelty in Cleopatra, the tyrannical marble-heartedness of Katherine de Medici, and the cold glitter of all the passionless despots of men’s warm souls since sex originated…I’m not blaming you. I’m blaming the ages of women gone before you who handed such legacies down…
Men are fools, weak, wine-blooded, deeply-devoted darn fools…Whom the gods destroy they first make madly in love with a girl."
— James Thurber, New Yorker writer and cartoonist to Eva Prout, the recipient of this letter in the spring of 1920.
You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn’t
you like the eggs a little
And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
— For Grace, After A Party - Frank O’Hara
— Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
‘Listen carefully. There is a woman who is wealthy and absolutely beautiful—in fact, flawless. She could be devotedly loved by anyone she pleased. But for one perverse accident of her nature—she only likes the unknown.’
‘But everybody likes the unknown,’ said George, thinking immediately of voyages, unexpected encounters, novel situations.
‘No, not in the way she does. She is interested only in a man she has never seen before and will never see again. And for this man she will do anything.’"
— Anais Nin, Delta of Venus
— Denis Johnson, Already Dead
when you break thru
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.
I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted
but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart
— Diane DiPrima, SONG FOR BABY-O, UNBORN
— Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
“But if you really want my side of the story, here it is: Who isn’t crazy sometimes? Who hasn’t driven around a block hoping a certain person will come out; who hasn’t haunted a certain coffee shop, or stared obsessively at an old picture; who hasn’t toiled over every word in a letter, taken four hours to write a two-sentence e-mail, watched the phone praying that it will ring; who doesn’t lay awake at night sick with the image of her sleeping with someone else?
I mean, Christ, seriously, what love isn’t crazy?"
— Jess Walter, Virgo