And I remember thinking, Oh, I’m watching a poem. I’m watching a poem made of crows. I’m watching a poem of no words. And that’s when things really shift, and I’m edging up against infinity, which means I’m as close as I’m ever going to be to death until I’m in it. Thereness and goneness. Total propulsion. And this is when sight doesn’t matter. And this is when language doesn’t matter. Oh god, this is especially when language doesn’t matter at all. Like maybe that’s one of the main parts about it. There’s no language. No words. And there’s no language to describe it. No words right now. I mean, these words aren’t even close. In these nights, I’m telling you, it’s unreal, like—an end to the limits of the self. And then you emerge. Having touched something very very big. I come out of it something else. I come out New.”
Boy writes on air the way my old neighbour Gene Crimmins says Mozart played piano, like every word was meant to arrive, parcel packed and shipped from a place beyond his own busy mind. Not on paper and writing pad or typewriter, but thin air, the invisible stuff, that great act-of-faith stuff that you might not even know existed did it not sometimes bend into wind and blow against your face. Notes, reflections, diary entries, all written on thin air, with his extended right forefinger swishing and slashing, writing letters and sentences into nothingness, as though he has to get it all out of his head but he needs the story to vanish into space as well, forever dipping his finger into his eternal glass well of invisible ink. Words don’t go so well inside. Always better out than in.”
Boy Swallows Universe
I always kept a quotation mark to my left and another to my right. Somehow ‘as if it wasn’t me’ was broader than if it were—an inexistent life possessed me entirely and kept me busy like an invention.”
The Passion According to G.H.
Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty and the ability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty… He is not, after all, merely a number of a Society or a Group or a deploration conundrum to be explained by Science. He is—and how old-fashioned the words sound!—something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity—which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves—we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves… Our passion for categorization, life neatly fitted into pegs, has led to an unforeseen, paradoxical distress: confusion, a breakdown of meaning.”
Everybody’s Protest Novel
And even in the midst of mooning and moaning over who you are, remember that you are. That’s where the real wonder is.”