Quotes By Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way

“Why do we embroider everything we say

with special emphasis

when all we really need to do

is simply say what

needs to he said?

Of course

the fact is

that there is very little that needs

to be said.”


“the last cigarettes are smoked, the loaves are sliced,
and lest this be taken for wry sorrow,
drown the spider in wine.

you are much more than simply dead:
I am a dish for your ashes,
I am a fist for your vanished air.

the most terrible thing about life
is finding it gone.”


“from the beginning, through the
middle years and up to the
end:
too bad, too bad, too bad.”


“little sun little moon little dog
and a little to eat and a little to love
and a little to live for

in a little room
filled with little
mice
who gnaw and dance and run while I sleep
waiting for a little death
in the middle of a little morning

in a little city
in a little state
my little mother dead
my little father dead
in a little cemetery somewhere.

I have only
a little time
to tell you this:

watch out for
little death when he comes running

but like all the billions of little deaths
it will finally mean nothing and everything:

all your little tears burning like the dove,
wasted.”


“don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.”


“no concept of danger,
reality, flow or
compassion.
you can feel the despair
escaping from their
machines,
their lives as hopeless and
as numbed as yours.”


“if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.”


“unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.”


“if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.”


“You think of killing him
on the spot
but discard that thought and
leave,
down into the urine-stinking
elevator,
they have you crucified too,
America at work,
where they rip out your intestines
and your brain and your
will and your spirit.
They suck you dry, then throw
you away.
The capitalist system.
The work ethic.
The profit motive.
The memory of your father’s words,
“work hard and you’ll be
appreciated.”
of course, only if you make
much more for them than they pay
you.”


“then I was a young man a thousand years old, and now I am an old man waiting to be born.”


“please take
a picture of this:
a 70-year-old
white whale lurking
within the warm white
whirling water. how did he last?
how did he escape
all the harpoons
for all those years?
why didn’t he get beached
along the way
on the dry
shore?
how did he evade so many
schools of hungry
sharks?”


“often it takes a lifetime to learn how to
react to certain critical situations.
it's worth waiting for the arrival of maturity
and confidence.
try it sometime and see how delightful it is to feel powerful and
alive.”


“Creation is like anything else good:
You have to wait on it; ambition has killed more
Artists than indolence.”


“What you see on the freeway is just what there is,
a funeral procession of the dead,
the greatest horror of our time in motion.
I’ll see you there tomorrow!”


“It’s hell when you’re too good to make money.”


“This future running toward us paralyzes the wallet and the brain.”


“We must be patient with the gods
they like to have fun
they like to play with us.
they like to test us.
they like to tell us that we are weak
and stupid, that we are
finished.
the gods need to be amused.
we are their toys.”


“Now we are citizens of nothing. the sun itself knows the sad truth of how we surrendered our lives and deaths to simple ritual….how we said no, no, no, no to the most beautiful YES ever uttered -
life itself.”