"Love. I’m not capable of it, can’t even approach it from the side, let alone head-on. Nor am I alone in this—everyone is like this, the liars. Singing songs and painting pictures and telling each other stories about love and its mysteries and its marvelous properties, myths to keep morale up—maybe one day it’ll materialize. But I can say it ten times a day, a hundred times, “I love you,” to anyone and anything, to a woman, to a pair of pruning shears. I’ve said it without meaning it at all, taken love’s name in vain and gone dismally unpunished. Love will never be real, or if it is, it has no power. No power. There’s only covetousness, and if what we covet can’t be won with gentle words—and often it can’t—then there is force."
— Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox (via theoryoflostthings)
"My language limitations here are real. My vocabulary is adequate for writing notes and keeping journals but absolutely useless for an active moral life. If I really knew this language, there would surely be in my head, as there is in Webster’s or the Dictionary of American Slang, that unreducible verb designed to tell a person like me what to do next."
— "Faith in a Tree" by Grace Paley
In the wide realm of the world there are ancient forms, incorruptible and eternal forms – any one of them might be the symbol that I sought. A mountain might be the word of the god, or a river or the empire or the arrangement of the stars. And yet, in the course of the centuries mountains are levelled and the path of a river is many times diverted, and empires know mutability and ruin, and the design of the stars is altered. In the firmament there is change. The mountain and the star are individuals, and the life of an individual runs out. I sought something more tenacious, more invulnerable. I thought of the generations of grain, of grasses, of birds, of men. Perhaps the spell was written upon my very face, perhaps I myself was the object of my search. Amid those keen imaginings was I when I recalled that one of the names of the god was jaguar – tigre.
At that, my soul was filled with holiness. I imagined to myself the first morning of time, imagined my god entrusting the message to the living flesh of the jaguars, who would love one another and engender one another endlessly, in caverns, in cane fields, on islands, so that the last men might receive it. I imagined to myself that web of tigers, that hot labyrinth of tigers, bringing terror to the plains and pastures in order to preserve the design. In another cell, there was a jaguar; in its proximity I sensed a confirmation of my conjecture, and a secret blessing.
— The Writing of God, Jorge Luis Borges (via cession-lennox)
"Stars. Like so much sand."
— GraceLand by Chris Abani
"Yet how strange is the beauty of music! The brief beauty that the player brings into being transforms a given period of time into pure continuance; it is certain never to be repeated; like the existence of dayflies and other such short-lived creatures, beauty is a perfect abstraction and creation of life itself. Nothing is so similar to life as music."
— Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (via tarkovskian)
"Living fire begets cold, impotent ash."
— Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (via thinkingmonologue)
"Ah, mademoiselle!” said Butscha, “you love a poet. That kind of man is more or less of a Narcissus. Will he know how to love you? A phrase-maker, always busy in fitting words together, must be a bore. Mademoiselle, a poet is no more poetry than a seed is a flower."
— Honore de Balzac, Modeste Mignon (via talesofpassingtime)
"I set traps for quails, larks, and starlings under the olive trees and once I caught them I would grill them over charcoal after plucking their feathers and cutting off their small heads with a rusty shaving blade. I would spice them up with whatever I could get my hands on: salt, cumin, garlic, black pepper. I would steal figs wearing plastic bags or empty tomato cans on my feet so as not to leave any footprints on the sand, to prevent my father, who was obsessed with tracking things down, from discovering that I was the son a bitch he dreamed of catching and punishing severely so that the figs would be allowed to ripen. I pissed in small holes so that back and yellow scorpions would come out of them I would chase them as they ran in all directions, moving their tails and trying to find other holes to hide in or rocks to hide under. I would surround them and pour gasoline over them and scorch them, and I would watch them as they struggled and eventually bit themselves and died of their own poison."
— The Scents of Marie-Claire by Habib Selmi
"My eyes were open and my mind was asleep. I may have been sleeping for hundreds of years. I imagined a dead cell. Am I really just in my mind or in every cell of my body?"
— "The Hole" by Hassan Blasim
"Do I look like someone who has something to do here on earth ? - That’s what I’d like to answer the busybodies who inquire into my activities."
— Emil Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born, P. 90 (via blackestdespondency)