@housmania
housmania

e. | literature | queer history | sherlock | tjlc | bilingüe | she/her | always sfw [formerly sherlock-overflow-error]

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2020-07-09 21:02:59

    i literally can’t stop thinking abt that richard siken quote where he falls to the floor crying but all he can focus on is the details of the wall in front of him

    “Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realise you didn’t paint it very well.”

    the idea of gaydar is honestly so funny to me. straight people truly think that gay people have absolutely no control over the way they present themselves, and no self awareness about how that presentation comes off.... trust me if a gay man is wearing nail polish and tight button downs and speaking in a higher pitch he knows that he’s doing that. he knows that you know he’s gay and he’s doing that on purpose. if a lesbian has a crew cut and wears basketball shorts and wifebeaters she knows that you know that she’s a lesbian and she’s doing that on purpose. you don’t have a special talent for decifering gay people you’re just able to pick up on messages that are actively being sent to you congrats i guess

    anonymous

    One reason we know Shakespeare wrote his plays and nobody else did is that they're rather poorly researched and full of basic facial errors. Shakespeare was clearly and poorly educated idiot, and well-educated people like Francis Bacon were significantly smarter than him. In fact, Shakespeare wasn't even smart enough to come up with original ideas for most of his plays. So why is his work so popular and not anyone else's from the same time period?

    I’m not really sure what to say to this. Though I don't think it ultimately matters who wrote the plays, Shakespeare was the author of his plays because there’s no convincing evidence or lack of evidence to think the contrary.

    As to the rest... I am a Shakespeare scholar. I dedicate a significant part of my life to studying and teaching Shakespeare. You can probably tell from this that it’s very unlikely I’d agree with you. Of course, you’re free to think what you like, but I would like to point out that your assumptions are based on a number of misconceptions.

    The first is the assumption that factual errors and poor research means bad writing. This might be more or less the case for modern writing, where one expects writing to be as realistic as possible, but in a time where realism is not being expected in plays or literature, it’s less relevant. Even in more recent times, a good book or play or TV script need not be accurate for it to be thought-provoking or worthwhile. Who cares if Bohemia has no coast? Does that fact negate what’s interesting about The Winter’s Tale and its story of jealousy, madness, rejuvenation and forgiveness? Plays explore themes, tell stories and provide entertainment, and there might be something wrong in looking for fact and accuracy in fiction if it’s to the detriment of good storytelling. Other dramatists can equally be accused of misunderstandings and ‘errors’ if you put it that way.

    The second is that poor education makes one an idiot. Education gives people opportunities to learn, but intelligence isn’t the same as educatedness. One can be extremely well-educated but stupid, and one can be extremely intelligent with no education. I think Shakespeare is one of the most brilliant minds I’ve encountered in writing. I’m always blown away by his ability to see what he sees and to put it into words and action the way he does with such imaginative empathy. Francis Bacon has a different kind of intelligence, but comparing intelligence is a futile and possibly even pointless task.

    The third is the assumption that Shakespeare was ill-educated. He didn’t go to university, but a grammar school education in a town like Stratford would have provided a pretty robust education in the arts especially. In fact, it’s very likely that Shakespeare had a better classical education than most people receive now (there are lots of other subjects to learn now, like science). Part of such education would have been in rhetoric, debate, Latin and classical theatre, all skills Shakespeare puts to use. Besides which, the key thing with education is what one does with it, not how much one has.

    The final point is about originality. Originality wasn’t always a valued part of writing. In fact, concepts such as genius and originality are much later, largely eighteenth-century ideas. In Shakespeare’s time, people appreciated the ability to copy masters of rhetoric (the university-educated humanists were very interested in mimicking great classical rhetoricians, for instance), and were more interested in hearing a well-known story being retold masterfully than to see something original. The key thing is how well one tells a known story, and this is the case not just for Shakespeare but for other (even aristocratic and educated) writers of the time. To take your example of Francis Bacon, for instance, his New Atlantis is a self-conscious copy of the style of More’s Utopia and Plato’s Republic. Poets like Wyatt or Spenser copied, sometimes even directly ‘plagiarised’ or loosely translated the works of writers like Petrarch and Chaucer. This wasn’t looked down on, but seen as a mark of skill and intelligence. Other dramatists like (the university-educated) Marlowe based their works on known stories like Doctor Faustus or Tamburlaine. In fact, you’ll find most early modern plays are based on direct sources or are variations of a marriage comedy featuring stock characters commedia dell’arte style (the city comedies are like this). To take some non-dramatic examples, Sidney’s Arcadia is full of retellings, and Milton’s Paradise Lost? What even to say? You can’t accuse Milton of being ill-educated, stupid or lacking in skill, but that’s hardly ‘original’. Original works like Shakespeares A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest are extremely rare.

    There’s no straightforward answer to why his works are more popular than others from the period. It’s not that the others aren’t popular, but it is true that Shakespeare is more popular by far. Part of it is no doubt reputation. Shakespeare is popular and draws in audiences, so he stays popular. I personally think it’s because his plays are not entirely period-specific and still have a lot that speaks to many people. It’s fine if they don’t speak to you; I make no claims about universal appeal. Still, whatever the reason, I’m certain that lack of accuracy, intelligence, education and originality are not acceptable reasons to disparage his work.

    do you guys even know what anne carson is like. you reblog her quotes all the time but are you aware that seeing her in person is a spiritual experience

    she came to my college in the spring of 2019. she was wearing a flannel under a pinstripe suit, cuffed trousers and bright red sneakers, and she had her hair up in a messy bun. I didn’t take a picture but here’s my artist’s rendition

    image

    the whole room was full of Classics wlwTM and we Absolutely Could Not Handle This Like Even a Little Bit. I got so distracted thinking about her during my workout today that I accidentally did 15 more jumping jacks than I was supposed to, which I think is the gayest sentence I’ve ever written.

    how do I describe the way she speaks? it’s this very floaty, dignified, vaguely curious, uncompelled, but very intentional style of diction, like if you met god at a garden party and she handed you a pitcher of cream and asked you why you think you should get into heaven. I wrote down the phrase “Your ridiculous little glasslike soul” and I don’t remember in what context she said it, but THAT’S the vibe.

    she is screamingly funny but relentlessly deadpan. “You know Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for—” she pulls down her glasses and looks at us, like a librarian who moonlights writing erotica – “sodomy.” She had us do an “interactive portion” during one of her poems, instructing the right side of the audience: “Your part is simply the word Deciduous? With a question mark at the end.”

    She has flawless comedic timing, and she does not use filler words. Remember this line from Elektra? it sums up her sense of humor PERFECTLY:

    image

    She spices up her wit by dropping in the occasional mind-blowing quote like “Tears are all about the weeper, aren’t they?” and “Roses and hurricanes are too much as they are to be anything else, to be damaged by metaphor.” and “Do I frighten people, saying there’s no back wall? Nothing between you and your heart of darkness?”

    like. she is an incredible writer and I’m not about to denigrate her translations by saying she didn’t put work into them, but I honest to god think that is just How This Woman’s Mind Works. she is on “not to me, not if it’s you” and “someone will remember us I say even in another time” levels of galaxy brain wordcraft, but IN REAL LIFE.

    I came up to her after the reading and asked her to sign my Bacchae copy. I did not say much to her besides that I was a fan, because I got the sense that if I formed a complete sentence in her presence she would see directly through me and reach into my body and swallow my entire ribcage like a snake.

    she signed my book “regards, A.C.” I’ll never forget her.

    i’m brave enough to say it. anne carson is a GILF

    (photo by Jeff Brown)

    (photo source)

    idk who needs to hear this but when your english teacher asks you to explain why an author chose to use a specific metaphor or literary device, it’s not because you won’t be able to function in real-world society without the essential knowledge of gatsby’s green light or whatever, it’s because that process develops your abilities to parse a text for meaning and fill in gaps in information by yourself, and if you’re wondering what happens when you DON’T develop an adult level of reading comprehension, look no further than the dizzying array of examples right here on tumblr dot com

    this post went from 600 to 2400 notes in the time it took me to write 3 emails. i’m already terrified for what’s going to happen in there

    k but also, as an addendum, the reason we study literary analysis is because everything an author writes has meaning, whether it was intentional or not, and their biases and agendas are often reflected in their choice of language and literary devices and so forth! and that ties directly into being able to identify, for example, the racist and antisemitic dogwhistles often employed by the right wing, or the subconscious word choices that can unintentionally illustrate someone’s bias or blind spot. LANGUAGE HAS WEIGHT AND MEANING! the way we communicate is a reflection of our inner selves, and that’s true regardless of whether it’s a short story or a novel or a blog post or a tweet. instead of taking a piece of writing at face value and stopping there, assuming that there is no deeper meaning or thought behind the words on the page, ask yourself these two questions instead:

    1. what is the author trying to say?
    2. what does the author maybe not realize they’re saying?

    because the most interesting reading of any piece of literature, imho, usually occupies the space in between those questions.

    <>Liz’s Film Snob LGBT Film Favorites

    I’ve watched a lot of gay movies. Like, A Lot. 200+. And since it’s pride month I’ve decided to round up my top 50+ favorite ones I’ve seen in a handy ref sheet for you gals and gays looking for something a little less straight to watch this month.

    <>Pre-1980s

    <>Rope (1948)

    Two men (who are clearly portrayed to be lovers) host a dinner party after murdering one of their friends, just to see if they can get away with it in this Hitchcock masterpiece.

    <>Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

    A film about three lost teenagers who find solace and comfort in each other, including Plato, an outcast who is clearly implied to be gay.

    <>Victim (1961)

    A largely unseen British film about a closeted judge being blackmailed by a group of men who make their living targeting and blackmailing gay men.

    <>The Children’s Hour (1961)

    Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McClain star in this drama about the fallout of when a malicious student accuses her two headmistresses of being lesbians.

    <>Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

    Based off of a real-life event, Al Pacino plays a man holding up a bank so he can help pay for his lover’s gender reassignment surgery.

    <>A Special Day (1977)

    A tragically rarely seen Italian film about the budding friendship between a housewife and her gay neighbor when they’re the only two people left in their apartment complex on the day Hitler comes to Rome to visit Mussolini.

    <>1980s

    <>Another Country (1984)

    Guy Bennet, a Soviet spy, reminisces about his time at boarding school in 1930’s England and the love he found there with a fellow classmate.

    <>My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

    A British-Pakistani man renovates an old laundrette, reconnects with his old friend/lover, and battles against a group of skinheads.

    <>Parting Glances (1986)

    By far the most underrated movie of all time in my opinion. Michael and Robert, a couple living in New York, spend their last days together before Robert leaves to Africa. Michael also deals with the feelings he still has for his best friend Nick, who is dying of AIDS.

    <>Maurice (1987)

    Based off of the groundbreaking E.M. Forster novel, Maurice is about a young gay man discovering himself and finding love in pre-WW1 England.

    <>1990s

    <>Paris Is Burning (1990)

    The iconic and groundbreaking documentary about the black and latinx drag scene in Harlem and the lives of the queens who created this essential cornerstone of lgbt culture.

    <>My Own Private Idaho (1991)

    Scott and Mike, two hustlers in the Pacific Northwest, roam the streets in search of love, knowledge, and Mike’s mother, who he hasn’t seen in years.

    <>The Long Day Closes (1992)

    A tender and personal portrait of what it was like to grow up gay in 1950’s Liverpool. A young boy dreams of cinema as he faces bullies in school and the growing feeling of loneliness.

    <>Heavenly Creatures (1994)

    Based off of a true story, two young girls in 1950’s New Zealand develop a close, obsessive friendship and their own made-up world that leads to deadly consequences.

    <>The Celluliod Closet (1995)

    The greatest documentary on LGBT cinema, this film chronicles decades worth of LGBT on screen representation from the negative to the positive.

    <>Happy Together (1997)

    Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece about two men who immigrate to Argentina and subsequently find their relationship crumbling because of their differences, but somehow always seem to come back to each other.

    <>Steam: The Turkish Bath (1997)

    An Italian man inherits a bathhouse in Instanbul after his aunt passes away, and when he goes to visit it he’s drawn away from his wife and life in Italy by the lure of Turkey and a handsome man he meets there.

    <>Velvet Goldmine (1998)

    Todd Haynes’s glitter-filled fever dream is about the rise and fall of pop icon Maxwell Demon, including his drug problems, his martial problems, and his relationship with another man.

    <>Aimee & Jaguar (1999)

    A film that would probably be downright distasteful if it wasn’t based off of a true story, the film chronicles the real-life romance between the wife of a Nazi officer and a Jewish woman she’s been protecting in 1940’s Germany.

    <>All About My Mother (1999)

    Spanish director Almodóvar’s masterpiece about a woman searching for the father of her deceased son, leading her to befriend an aging stage actress in a troubled relationship with another woman and rekindle the close friendship she has with a transgender woman living in Barcelona.

    <>But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

    An early romantic comedy about a high school girl being sent to conversion therapy by her family, who suspect she’s a lesbian. There she discovers her sexuality and falls in love with a fellow member at the camp. It’s a whole lot more lighthearted than this summary makes it out to be, trust me.

    <>The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

    Based off of the novel by Patricia Highsmith, it’s a story about a man named Tom Ripley, who is sent to Italy to pose as a friend of a young, rich man whose father wants him to return to America. Tom gets too deep into the charade and becomes too obsessed with his target.

    <>2000s

    <>Big Eden (2000)

    When Henry Hart’s grandfather suffers a stroke he returns to his small Montana town to care for him. There, the local residents decide he needs some romance in his life and try to set him up with various men, including the shy Native-American clerk who has a crush on him.

    <>Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

    When their girlfriends leave the country for the summer, two young men manage to convince an attractive older woman to accompany them to a beach that may or may not exist. During their roadtrip they discover truths about themselves, their sexuality, and their country.

    <>The Hours (2002)

    A tale of three different WLW in three different eras all connected by their loneliness and longing and the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, one of the women being the writer herself.

    <>8 Women (2002)

    A charming French musical about eight women trapped in a house over Christmas, where the family patriarch has just been found murdered.

    <>Mysterious Skin (2004)*

    A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions are brought together again after several years when memories surface of a horrible trauma they both suffered when they were eight years old.

    <>*contains content relating to child sexual abuse. use caution before watching

    <>Bad Education (2004)*

    In 1980’s Madrid, a young actress and transgender drag queen shows up at the doorstep of a budding director, claiming to be his long-lost friend and lover. She brings with her a script, one that details their childhood together at the catholic boarding school they attended as kids.

    <>*contains content relating to child sexual abuse. use caution before watching

    <>Imagine Me & You (2005)

    At her wedding ceremony, Rachel notices her florist, Luce, and soon the two are developing a close friendship. When Rachel discovers Luce is a lesbian she can’t help but wonder if, despite her recent marriage, her feelings for her new friend are more than platonic

    <>Brokeback Mountain (2005)

    The iconic, heartbreaking masterpiece that changed the landscape of LGBT cinema is set around the decades long love affair between two cowboys in rural America.

    <>Love Songs (2007)

    The sort of movie only the French could make, this is a musical about Ismael and Julie, two young parisians who are in a stable relationship but welcome the presence of a third, Alice. When tragedy strikes the parisians are forced to cope with death and depression, especially Ismael, but a young college boy is fortunately there to help.

    <>A Single Man (2009)

    A single day in the life of professor George Falconer on the day he plans to commit suicide, due to being unable to cope with the loss of his long-time partner, Jim. However, there may be more to live for than he thinks.

    <>I Killed My Mother (2009)

    A gay 17-year old has an emotionally fraught relationship but deep connection with his mother.

    <>2010s

    <>Farewell, My Queen (2012)

    In the days leading up to the French Revolution, a reader to Marie Antoinette falls into a deep infatuation with her Queen.

    <>The Way He Looks (2014)

    A Brazilian rom-com about a blind boy who becomes infatuated with the new boy at school.

    <>Pride (2014)

    In 1984’s Thatcher-era England, The National Union of Mineworkers goes on strike against her abhorrent policies. They get support from an unlikely source; a group of LGBT activists who have taken up their cause. However, the small town seems to be reluctant to accept assistance from an LGBT group.

    <>Tangerine (2015)

    After a stint in jail for prostitution, Sin-Dee Rella is back on the streets and after learning her pimp boyfriend hasn’t been faithful to her, she enlists the help of her best friend to track him down and the girl he cheated on her with.

    <>Carol (2015)

    Set in the 1950’s, shop clerk Therese Belivet falls in love with an older woman, Carol, during the course of a road trip they take together.

    <>The Handmaiden (2016)

    In 1930’s Korea a pick-pocket is recruited by a conman to play maid to a naïve rich girl, who lives in seclusion with her uncle. The end game? Rob her blind. Falling in love with her was not supposed to happen.

    <>Moonlight (2016)

    The gorgeous, oscar-winning gay coming of age story about three stages of an African-American man’s life as he discovers who he is in war on drugs era Miami.

    <>Lovesong (2016)

    A young woman takes an impromptu road trip with her daughter and her best friend after feeling neglected by her husband. Circumstances force them apart and years later, before her best friend’s wedding, she attempts to patch up what was left between them.

    <>Thelma (2017)

    A young woman begins to suffer epileptic fits and strange bouts where powers she can’t control are given to her in this supernatural lesbian thriller.

    <>I Dream in Another Language (2017)

    A linguist travels to a remote area to study a rare language, of which there are only two speakers left. The problem? The two men refuse to speak to each other because of something that happened between them years prior.

    <>Disobedience (2017)

    After several years away, a woman returns to her orthodox Jewish community for her rabbi father’s funeral and reignites the romance she shared as a teenager with her best friend.

    <>Call Me By Your Name (2017)

    A sun-drenched summer romance between a professor’s son and their summer guest in 1980’s Italy.

    <>Beach Rats (2017)

    Another Hittman masterpiece of youth on the brink of destruction, a young man wanders the summer aimlessly; messing around with his friends, starting a possible new romance with a young woman, and chatting up men online.

    <>A Fantastic Woman (2017)

    Transwoman Marina’s life is upturned when her lover suddenly dies and she has to battle for respect from those of his family who refuse to accept or even acknowledge the place she had in his heart.

    <>1985 (2018)

    A heart-wrenching black and white masterpiece about a man who comes back to his rural hometown to celebrate Christmas with his family, who do not know of his sexuality nor recent AIDS diagnosis.

    <>The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

    After being caught with another girl on prom night, Cameron Post is sent to a gay conversion camp where amidst the intolerance and bigotry she forms a new sort of family with fellow outcasts.

    <>The Favourite (2018)

    A wildly entertaining lesbian court drama about the Queen’s longtime companion and her new servant as they both vie for the love and favor of the Queen.

    <>Love, Simon (2018)

    A coming of age romcom about a boy who isn’t out yet, but is involved in an online romance with a boy from his high school who signs off with the name ‘Blue’.

    <>El Angel (2018)

    You could make a pretty strong argument that this movie romanticizes crime and the awful actions of real-life criminal Carlos Robledo Puch, but there’s truly something eclectic in this flashy, crime and homoeroticism filled action flick about the angel-faced thief.

    <>Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

    At the end of the 18th century, a woman is sent to paint a wedding portrait on a remote island and falls in love with her subject.

    <>And Then We Danced (2019)

    A modern gay coming of age movie centered around a young man, Merhab, and his place in the world of Georgian dance.

    **<>A GENERAL DISCLAIMER: Though I have seen many LGBT movies I am only human and have not seen them all. If a movie is missing from this list it’s either I have seen it and it just didn’t make the cut, or I haven’t seen it yet at all. If there’s a movie missing here you think I should watch/give another chance let me know! I’d love to keep updating this list!

    And also if you, by chance, have actually seen every movie on this list first of all I applaud you and we should talk because you have impeccable taste, and secondly always hit up my DMs or my ask box and I’d love to give you more recs! Watch away, babes!

    anonymous

    what are some quotes that are so visceral they feel like a gut punch to you?

    “A man's heart is a wretched, wretched thing. It isn't like a mother's womb. It won't bleed. It won't stretch to make room for you.”

    — Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

    “At the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow all this? And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow all this?”

    — Ilya Kaminsky, “A City Like a Guillotine Shivers on Its Way to the Neck”

    “I want someone to tell me what to wear in the morning. I want someone to tell me what to wear every morning. I want someone to tell me what to eat, what to like, what to hate, what to rage about, what to listen to, what band to like, what to buy tickets for, what to joke about, what not to joke about. I want someone to tell me what to believe in, who to vote for, and who to love, and how to tell them. I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life, Father, because so far I think I’ve been getting it wrong.”

    — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, from Fleabag

    “Les femmes de notre famille, nous sommes engluées dans la colère J’ai été en colère contre ma mère Tout comme tu es en colère contre moi Et tout comme ma mère fut en colère contre sa mère Il faut casser le fil.”

    (The women in our family are all stuck in anger
    I have been angry at my mother
    As you are angry with me
    And as my mother was angry at her mother
    The thread must be broken.)

    — Wajdi Mouawad, Incendies

    “I know what I want: an ugly, clean woman with large breasts, who tells me: what’s all this about making things up? I won’t have any dramas, come here immediately!—And she gives me a warm bath, dresses me in a white linen nightdress, braids my hair and puts me to bed, very cross, saying: well what do you want? you run wild, eating at odd times, you could get sick, stop making up tragedies, you think you’re such a big deal, drink this mug of hot broth. She lifts my head up with her hand, covers me with a big sheet, brushes a few strands of hair off my forehead, already white and fresh, and tells me before I fall asleep warmly: you’ll see how in no time your face is going to fill out, forget those harebrained ideas and be a good girl. Someone who takes me in like a humble dog, who opens the door for me, brushes me, feeds me, loves me severely like a dog, that’s all I want, like a dog, a child.”

    “I can feel myself holding a child, thought Joana. Sleep, my child, sleep, I tell you. The child is warm and I am sad. But it is the sadness of happiness, this appeasement and sufficiency that leave the face placid, faraway. And when my child touches me he doesn’t rob me of my thoughts as others do. But later, when I give him milk with these fragile, beautiful breasts, my child will grow from my force and crush me with his life. He will distance himself from me and I will be the useless old mother. I won’t feel cheated. But defeated merely and I will say: I don’t know a thing, I am able to give birth to a child and I don’t know a thing. God will receive my humility and will say: I was able to give birth to the universe and I don’t know a thing.”

    — Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart

    “I know that my phrases are crude, I write them with too much love, and that love makes up for their faults, but too much love is bad for the work.”

    “I’m restless and harsh and despairing. Although I do have love inside me. I just don’t know how to use love. Sometimes it tears at my flesh.”

    “But when winter comes I give and give and give. The excess of me starts to hurt and when I’m excessive I have to give of myself.”

    — Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

    “And that was what I felt when reading your book: that solitude.” “Imagine the solitude of the person who wrote it.”

    — Clarice Lispector, from an interview

    “suppose the body did this to us, made us afraid of love—”

    — Louise Glück, “Crater Lake”

    “When I put my hands on your body, on your flesh, I feel the history of that body. Not just the beginning of its forming in that distant lake, but all the way beyond its ending. I feel the warmth and texture and simultaneously I see the flesh unwrap from the layers of fat and disappear. I see the fat disappear from the muscle. I see the muscle disappearing from around the organs and detaching itself from the bones. I see the organs gradually fade into transparency, leaving a gleaming skeleton, gleaming like ivory that slowly resolves until it becomes dust. I am consumed in the sense of your weight, the way your flesh occupies momentary space, the fullness of it beneath my palms. I am amazed at how perfectly your body fits to the curves of my hands. If I could attach our blood vessels so we could become each other I would. If I could attach our blood vessels in order to anchor you to the earth, to this present time, I would. If I could open up your body and slip inside your skin and look out your eyes and forever have my lips fused with yours, I would. It makes me weep to feel the history of your flesh beneath my hands in a time of so much loss. It makes me weep to feel the movement of your flesh beneath my palms as you twist and turn over to one side to create a series of gestures, to reach up around my neck, to draw me nearer. All these memories will be lost in time like tears in the rain.”

    — David Wojnarowicz, from The Half-Life

    “A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.”

    — Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

    “and cain said, There’s an idea I can’t get out of my head, What’s that, said abraham, There must have been innocent people in sodom and in the other cities that were burned, If so, the lord would have kept the promise he made to make to save their lives, What about the children, said cain, surely the children were innocent, Oh my god, murmured abraham and his voice was like a groan, Yes, your god perhaps, but not theirs.”

    — José Saramago, Cain

    “I’d like to jet-ski / straight out of this life because right now I am / way attached to real things like for instance / people how they are all so tender how they / love to just go walk around and someof them are / wearing pink now and it hurts me and they / bathe their dogs”

    — Heather Christle, “This Is Not The Body I Asked For”

    “The idea of deserving love. And then watching love being given to people who did nothing to deserve it.”

    — Anaïs Nin, from her journal

    “And he cries and cries, cries for everything he has been, for everything he might have been, for every old hurt, for every old happiness, cries for the shame and joy of finally getting to be a child, with all of a child’s whims and wants and insecurities, for the privilege of behaving badly and being forgiven, for the luxury of tendernesses, of fondnesses, of being served a meal and being made to eat it, for the ability, at last, at last, of believing a parent’s reassurances, of believing that to someone he is special despite all his mistakes and hatefulness, because of all his mistakes and hatefulness.”

    — Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

    “The veals are the children of cows, are calves. They are locked in boxes the size of themselves. A body-box, like a coffin, but alive, like a home. The children, the veal, they stand very still because tenderness depends of how little the world touches you. To stay tender, the weight of your life cannot lean on your bones.”

    “Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you've been ruined.”

    — Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

    “I know we’ve just met but I feel like maybe / you’d feed me and tuck me into your big bed / and only touch me as you covered me with the comforter.”

    — Kim Addonizio, “Party”

    “The body has no thoughts. The body soaks up love like a paper towel

    and is still dry.”

    — Kim Addonizio, “Body And Soul”

    “I don’t know how God can bear / seeing everything at once: the falling bodies, the monuments and burnings, / the lovers pacing the floors of how many locked hearts.”

    — Kim Addonizio, “The Numbers”

    “I keep wishing for you, keep shutting up my eyes and looking toward the sky, asking with all my might for you, and yet you do not come. I thought of you, until the world grew rounder than it sometimes is, and I broke several dishes.”

    — Emily Dickinson, from a letter to Minnie Holland

    “The unknowness of my needs frightens me. I do not know how huge they are, or how high they are, I only know that they are not being met.”

    — Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

    “I used to be a hopeless romantic. I am still a hopeless romantic. I used to believe that love was the highest value. I still believe that love is the highest value. I don’t expect to be happy. I don’t imagine that I will find love, whatever that means, or that if I do find it, it will make me happy. I don’t think of love as the answer or the solution. I think of love as a force of nature - as strong as the sun, as necessary, as impersonal, as gigantic, as impossible, as scorching as it is warming, as drought-making as it is life-giving. And when it burns out, the planet dies.”

    “As for myself, I am splintered by great waves. I am coloured glass from a church window long since shattered. I find pieces of myself everywhere, and I cut myself handling them.”

    — Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping

    “I SAID I LOVED YOU AND I WANTED GENOCIDE TO STOP I SAID I LOVED YOU AND I WANTED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND REACTION I SAID I LOVED YOU AND I WANTED MUSIC OUT THE WINDOWS I SAID I LOVED YOU AND I WANTED NOBODY THIRST AND NOBODY NOBODY COLD I SAID I LOVED YOU AND I WANTED I WANTED JUSTICE UNDER MY NOSE”

    — June Jordan, “Intifada Incantation: Poem 38 for b.b.L.”

    “Maybe when I wake up in the middle of the night I should go downstairs dump the refrigerator contents on the floor and stand there in the middle of the spilled milk and the wasted butter spread beneath my dirty feet writing poems writing poems maybe I just need to love myself myself and anyway I’m working on it”

    — June Jordan, “Free Flight”

    “It’s not that I gave away my keys. / The problem is nobody wants to steal me or my / house.”

    — June Jordan, “Onesided Dialog”

    “What reconciles me to my own death more than anything else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together. They are strewn there pell-mell. One of your ribs leans against my skull. A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis. (Against my broken ribs your breast like a flower.) The hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel. It is strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace. Yet it does. With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough.”

    — John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos

    “I wept and wept. I had come to believe that if I really wanted something badly enough, the very act of my wanting it was an assurance that I would not get it.”

    — Audre Lorde, from “Zami: A New Spelling of my Name”

    “You kiss the back of my legs and I want to cry. / Only the sun has come this close, only the sun.”

    — Shauna Barbosa, “GPS”

    “It has to be perfect. It has to be irreproachable in every way. (...) To make up for it. To make up for the fact that it’s me.”

    — Suzanne Rivecca

    “I hope it’s love. I’m trying really hard to make it love. I said no more severity. I said it severely and slept through all my appointments. I clawed my way into the light but the light is just as scary. I’d rather quit. I’d rather be sad.”

    — Richard Siken, Self-Portrait Against Red Wallpaper

    “We have not touched the stars, nor are we forgiven, which brings us back to the hero's shoulders and the gentleness that comes, not from the absence of violence, but despite the abundance of it.”

    — Richard Siken, “Snow And Dirty Rain”

    “Love, for you, / is larger than the usual romantic love. It's like a religion. It's / terrifying. No one / will ever want to sleep with you.”

    — Richard Siken, “Litany In Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out”

    “The hardest thing still remains. It remains the hardest, to bear all the tenderness and only to gaze on.”

    — Ilse Achinger, “Mirrorstory”

    “i killed a plant once because i gave it too much water. lord, i worry that love is violence.”

    — José Olivarez, “Getting Ready to Say I Love You to My Dad, It Rains”

    “Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy. Sometimes the men - they come with keys, and sometimes, the men - they come with hammers.”

    — Warsan Shire, “The House”

    “I’ll take care of you. / It’s rotten work. / Not to me. Not if it’s you.”

    — Euripides, Orestes, tr. Anne Carson

    “We have this deep sadness between us and it spells so habitual I can’t tell it from love.”

    — Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband

    “There is no question I am someone starving. There is no question I am making this journey to find out what that appetite is.”

    — Anne Carson, Plainwater: Essays

    “I wish I could peel all my sadness in one long strip off my skin & toss it in a bucket. No one would have to carry it. It would just sit there & be punished. It would just sit there & think about everything it’s done.”

    — Chen Chen, “Elegy For My Sadness”

    “There is too much or not enough room in my stomach for everything we will do to each other.“

    — Adriana Cloud, “Bento Body”

    25 Black-owned bookstores you can support right now

    while i don’t claim to be a “book blogger” by any account (more of a cranky publishing-person blogger most days), i know a lot of people have followed me through my book posts, so i’m taking advantage of that captive audience to boost these bookstores. shop them through their own websites and if you’re local, look into curbside pickup to minimize shipping costs and overhead. okay that’s all thanks bye stay safe.