Both of them have ravaged young faces like the faces of children in a famished country. In their speech there is a sort of politeness, a sort of tender formality like that of two lonely children who want to be friends, and yet there is an impression that they have lived in this intimate situation for a long time and that the present scene between them is the repetition of one that has been repeated so often that its plausible emotional contents, such as reproach and contrition, have been completely worn out and there is nothing left but the acceptance of something hopelessly inalterable between them.
Tennessee Williams, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen...
Corinna in Vendome
Darling, each morning a blooded rose
Lures the sunlight in, and shows
Her soft, moist and secret part.
See now, before you go to bed,
Her skirts replaced, her deeper red --
A colour much like yours, dear heart.
Alas, her petals will blow away,
Her beauties in a single day
Vanish like ashes on the wind.
O savage time! that what we prize
Should flutter down before our eyes --
Who also, late or soon, descend.
Then scatter, darling, your caresses
While you may, and wear green dresses;
Gather roses, gather me --
Tomorrow, aching for your charms,
Death shall take you in his arms
And shatter your virginity.
~ Pierre de Ronsard
Ahhh, I feel so alone, I feel so alone.
"The trouble with words is that you can really talk yourself into a corner. Whereas you can't fuck yourself into a corner."
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
I then realized the truth about all love: that it is an absolute which takes all or forfeits all the other feelings, compassion, tenderness, and so on, exist only on the periphery and belong to the constructions of society and habit. But she herself--austere and merciless Aphrodite--is a pagan. It is not our brains or instincts which she picks--but our very bones.
Lawrence Durrell, Justine
Passions are not natural to mankind, they are always exceptions or excrescences. The man in which they overstep the limits should regard himself as an invalid and seek a medicine for his life and health. The ideal and genuine man is calm in both his joy and sorrow.
- Johannes Brahms
Monks recite the sutras,
Their voices a cacophony.
We make love; afterward our whispers
Mock the empty chanting.
Before Eliot, Philip had lived so long without physical love that he believed it to be the only thing in the world he needed. He had fluctuated from one extreme to another, and this, he believed, put him in a very different position from that of his mother, who had as far as Philip could see dwelled for years in that middle ground between emptiness and fulfillment, a realm where contentment and despair coexist as dual sensations so similar, so faint, that they become impossible to distinguish, like the hiss of the radiator and the hum of the refrigerator.
David Leavitt, The Lost Language of Cranes
But now she was supposed to stand naked in the middle of the studio like a living statue, offering herself to his eyes and his brush. She resisted, and when she told him--as she had done during her first visit--that what he wanted was mad, he answered the same way he had then, yes, love is mad and pulled off her clothes.
- Milan Kundera, Life is Elsewhere
In the park it was dark under the trees.
"Do you still love me, Jake?"
"Yes," I said.
"Because I'm a goner," Brett said.
"I'm a goner. I'm mad about the Romero boy. I'm in love with him, I think."
"I wouldn't be if I were you."
"I can't help it. I've never been able to help anything."
"You ought to stop it."
"How can I stop it? I can't stop things. Feel that?"
Her hand was trembling.
"I'm like that all through."
"You oughtn't to do it."
"I can't help it. I'm a goner now, anyway. Don't you see the difference?"
"I've got to do something. I've got to do something I really want to do. I've lost my self-respect."
"You don't have to do that."
"Oh, darling, don't be difficult. What do you think it's meant to have that damned Jew about, and Mike the way he's acted?"
"I can't just stay tight all the time."
"Oh, darling, please stay by me. Please stay by me and see me through this."
"I don't say it's right. It is right though for me. God knows, I've never felt such a bitch."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Come on," Brett said. "Let's go and find him."
~Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises.
I perhaps ought to read books of Jeffrey McDaniel's poetry because these two are so wonderful. The second is one to read at your wedding (I wish I had).
The Quiet World
In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long
distance lover and proudly say
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
The Archipelago of Kisses
We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don't
grow on trees, like in the old days. So where
does one find love? When you're sixteen it's easy,
like being unleashed with a credit card
in a department store of kisses. There's the first kiss.
The sloppy kiss. The peck.
The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The we
shouldn't be doing this kiss. The but your lips
taste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss.
The I wish you'd quit smoking kiss.
The I accept your apology, but you make me really mad
sometimes kiss. The I know
your tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you get
older, kisses become scarce. You'll be driving
home and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road,
with its purple thumb out. If you
were younger, you'd pull over, slide open the mouth's
red door just to see how it fits. Oh where
does one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile.
Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling.
Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss.
Now what? Don't invite the kiss over
and answer the door in your underwear. It'll get suspicious
and stare at your toes. Don't water the kiss with whiskey.
It'll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters,
but in the morning it'll be ashamed and sneak out of
your body without saying good-bye,
and you'll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it left
on the inside of your mouth. You must
nurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how it
illuminates the room. Hold it to your chest
and wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from a
special beach. Place it on the tongue's pillow,
then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneath
a Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C.
But one kiss levitates above all the others. The
intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss.
The I'll love you through a brick wall kiss.
Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth,
like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.