Look, I am holding up my two hands, and between them is Leningrad. I am holding up my two hands and between them is a black space where Marya Morevna is not speaking. She would like to, because she thinks a story is like a treasure, and can belong to only one dragon. But I make her share; I will not let her have the whole thing. I have this power. I will not let her speak because I love her, and when you love someone you do not make them tell war stories. A war story is a black space. On the one side is before and on the other side is after, and what is inside belongs only to the dead. Besides, what happened between the two hands I am holding up is squeezed between the pages of the books of the dead, which are written on my hands, because I died in that space where Marya Morevna is not speaking. And now it is all clear, and now you understand.
My grandma would always x out people in her yearbook and write “Deceased” when one of her high school classmates died. We often found it morbid. Grandma wanted to be the last one living. She wanted to win.
There is nothing
than being empty.
I wonder if my happiness
will run out.
I wonder if I will eventually
purge my love.
What if this emptiness
is deeper than physicality?
We are the little girls
This will weigh heavy on you,
so you try
to stay empty.
Auden said a poem should be more interesting than anything that might be said about it. If you take the theme out of a poem and talk about that theme, there should still be some residual being left in the poem that goes on ticking, something like, why not say it, color, something that has an effect on your central nervous system.
And that’s the hardest mindset— the hardest space— to live inside of: you are not full. You are whole, but you are not full. There is a difference. Wholeness is the art of missing no parts. Fullness is like running in the rain— one time won’t ever be enough. You have to let the water wash you every once in a while as a reminder to yourself of the truth: still, you are alive. Wild and alive.
For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.
Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you.
a blue sun rises in the dawn sky
in my heart where the moon rains silver
rattling its chains against planks of this universe
like a bright orange sour candy
the sky’s aftertaste is cold sharp blue
my brain stumbles over its overflow of pale stars
day rolls around on the grass and the world shudders as it looks up
you are there
i am here
we are not so far gone