I reached that odd point when you are no longer young, and yet you’re still not old. You become a kind of centaur: half the person you used to be, half somebody else; that point when there is more you do not care about and less and less you do - you are in no man’s land; you keep moving, but not because you will get anywhere.
—Benjamin Prado from Not Only Fire
Hannah Hoch (c. 1926)
Am in the middle of a spreading light,
my hands inspired, the world beautiful.
Cannot stop looking at trees:
they’re so hopeful and so green.
A sunny pathway stretches beyond the mulberries,
I stand before the window in the prison hospital,
cannot smell the smell of medicine:
somewhere carnations must be in bloom.
That’s how it goes, my friend.
The problem is not falling a captive,
it’s how to avoid surrender.
—Nazim Hikmet ‘That’s How it Goes’ (Bursa prison, 1948) (trans. Taner Baybars)
Henry de Braekeleer At the Window in Antwerp
Poetry is an opening of the doors of rooms that are never fully known.
—Brendan Kennelly from the ‘Introduction’ to Breathing Spaces
I went to the City Library and tried to write a poem to the dead man’s memory. Nothing came of it but a few pitiful lines which I tore up in shame. But out of that shame, out of that impotence and grief, something was born - something which I believe was the desire to become a writer; that is to say, to be able to tell of what it is to mourn, to have been loved, to be left lonely.
Raymond McIntyre Lisette (c. 1913)
Crafting a sexual position … always involves becoming haunted by what is excluded. And the more rigid the position, the greater the ghost and the more threatening it is in some way.
—Judith Butler in conversation with Peter Osborne