House of Leaves

Every now and then, when I am in need of a creative spark and can’t find words of my own, I look to House of Leaves. While this book sits atop “the list” as my favorite, it still escapes me sometimes how beautiful the language of this novel is. Not only is the plot more original than Plato’s chair he was so in love with, but every word, phrase, side note, all the bricks and mortar that hold the house together, are equally perfect. I wish I had my own copy on hand with me, so that I could share some of the less well known gems I have highlighted, circled, and starred, but these will do just fine. In a way, my copy has become something like an old house. Slightly dilapidated on the outside, but full of beauty and memories and moments of love and fear and breakthrough on the inside.

(Which makes me think, if Danielewski wrote his book like that of a labyrinth, with all the footnotes and scratch outs and indexes, is it possible that the house they are all getting lost in is the book they are entrapped in themselves as characters? Each page another layer deeper down the staircase? Could that be possible? Man this book can make your head spin…)

 

Anyways, here are some of the ones that always seem to make me forget where I am

 

“I took my morning walk, I took my evening walk, I ate something, I thought about something, I wrote, I napped and dreamt something too, and with all that something, I still have nothing because so much of sum’thing has always been and always will be you.”

 

“Why did god create a dual universe?
So he might say
‘Be not like me. I am alone.’
And it might be heard.” 

 

“Through all windows I see only infinity.”

Dulce Et Decorum Est

This is one of my favorite poems, despite its darkness. Wilfred Owen is one of the famous War Poets, this most likely being his most well known work. I wish I would have kept more notes from the class where I first learned this, when broken down with an indepth history lesson to accompany it, the poem is an even more incredible read.

Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

The Water

There was nothing like the feel of waterlogged boards drying under my bare feet. The way my hair smelled like the cast of a reel, something between bait and wind blown over bayou grass. It was the way the sun melted right into the waterline; an orange puddle that blended the seam between water and sky. Fragments of it’s light would scatter down waves all the way to the pier, illuminating abandoned neon corks as they bobbed between currents and fish hooks left in fallen trees. How we would romp in spandex bathing suits stretched across our barrel chests, ignoring the taunting calls of older brothers and the splinters in our skin. How my body was a vehicle and nothing more. Legs made for churning out speed down an ancient dock, ams made for hauling up the pier ladder, the bottom rungs covered in sea slime.

In that hour, all was washed persimmon. In that hour, the water was still warm.

Maybe it felt so sacred because it was the last fleeting moment before an adult would open the screen door, lean out and wave a hand through the wet air, beckoning us in.

We would make our way to the camp, little bodies exhausted in the way only eight hours of sunbeams can bring. With heaving breaths and damp towels, we turned our backs on the water, dripping sunken ships and pearls as we went.

Blue Blanket

This is Andrea Gibson, award winning slam poet and activist. I had to share this poem because I LOVE her delivery and her words. I think she may be one of the best modern poets today. Some of her content is explicit and controversial, so I chose this video among many. If you like it and think you might be able to stomach other topics you can search for more, she has tons and tons of poems online. This one is heavy, but so important and magnificently executed.

Chatting

The woman with the slick, black hair won’t stop talking.

Her voice is machinery as it bulldozes over the broken words of those around her,

Collecting their gravel in a heap at her feet.

The pearl choker around her neck isn’t doing anyone any favors.

Her companions’ eyes are glazed sugar as they fight the kind of sleep that only “Petertakeshiscoffeeblacknow” can induce.

And I would slip a pillow under their heads,

if they would not have me take that pillow to her ever flapping mouth teeth tongue.

But I would never.

She’s no evil entity (despite her protractor eyebrows sloping in the way all comic book villains do.)

I’d start a pillow fight.

Or give her a crossword.

(Although, they gave Aunt Ethel crosswords once, and she did them out loud in the back of a Lincoln across twelve states.)

Someone at the table staccatos that they must leave.

Her fellow companion collects his things and uses the break to babble that he must do the same.

During hugs, I meet eyes with one companion over the woman’s shoulder. She gives me a “stand down” glance , and I set the crossword back in my bag.

The companions boogie out the front door, him slightly pushing her from behind as they walk.

For a moment, the café is silent.

At the table, the slick haired woman pulls out her phone. At full volume,

Texting, texting, texting.