He was going to die soon, you knew when you saw those eyes. There was no sign of life in his flesh, just the barest traces of what had once been a life. His body was like a dilapidated old house from which all furniture and fixtures have been removed and which awaited now only its final demolition.
It's impossible to predict which paintings will last and which won't. In New Orleans I painted on a dilapidated shop in a street littered with abandoned cars and rotting mattresses, then two hours later the piece was gone. It turned out I'd picked the side of a crack house and the proprietor didn't like the attention.
Forts, arsenals, garrisons, armies, navies, are means of security and defence, which were invented in half-civilized times and in feudal or despotic countries; but schoolhouses are the republican line of fortifications, and if they are dismantled and dilapidated, ignorance and vice will pour in their legions through every breach.
Naples is curiously chaotic and, if I'm honest, a bit dilapidated. It certainly has a 'lived-in' look. It's alive, it's vibrant, it's a little bit dirty, it's busy, and I loved it. I felt like this was how Rome would probably have been 2,000 years ago. There's a real bustle, and it's down and dirty.
They will tell you that the Americans who sleep in the streets and beg for food got there because they're all lazy or weak of spirit. That the inner-city children who are trapped in dilapidated schools can't learn and won't learn and so we should just give up on them entirely. That the innocent people being slaughtered and expelled from their homes half a world away are somebody else's problem to take care of.
It is curious, isn't it, that things you know well never look dirty and dilapidated-other people's old furniture looks shabby and moth-eaten. "I would never have that horrible old couch in my room," you say. But your own old couch is every bit as bad and you are not disgusted with its appearance; it is your friend, you see, and you remember it when it was new and smart. Friends that you have known for a long time and love very dearly never seem to grow old.
A series of books, dilapidated and faded, sit bundled together. Most of the bindings are separating from the yellowed pages, but each is at home in its battered state. Their wrinkled pages and discolored skin tell not of old age, but of a good life. These books, unlike so many others, were not just read, but revisited, loved, and experienced.
All they do is warm their seats for their long tenures and eventually even their seats get dilapidated with the amount of money they hog in illegally and the only way it comes out is by tilting their huge pot-bellied frames to one side and emitting poisonous gases that not only depreciate their beloved seats but also the nation as a whole and then they shout 'Global Warming.' Hallelujah!
He, who for an ordinary cause, resigns the fate of his patient to mercury, is a vile enemy to the sick; and, if he is tolerably popular, will, in one successful season, have paved the way for the business of life, for he has enough to do, ever afterward, to stop the mercurial breach of the constitutions of his dilapidated patients. He has thrown himself in fearful proximity to death, and has now to fight him at arm's length as long as the patient maintains a miserable existence.
And that is true in 85 percent of kids; it's kids who live in old, dilapidated, mostly urban housing. But that still leaves 15 percent of the cases that occur in middle- or upper-class families, usually associated with home renovations. People are sanding paint, removing banisters, cleaning up windowsills, and they don't realize that they're spewing lead dust around in the house. And then the kids get it.
Hell yeah, Alex Cortez wanted to be the best man at his sister's destination wedding. A party in Jamaica or maybe Bora Bora. Bring it on, baby. Then Luciana had hit him with the real destination: the dilapidated farm in Iowa where they'd grown up. Hell. No. Except he couldn't decline, not after she'd waited a full year while he completed his last tour with the Marines so he could attend.
He gave it its present name, and lived here shut up: day and night poring over the wicked heaps of papers in the suit, and hoping against hope to disentangle it from its mystification and bring it to a close. In the meantime, the place became dilapidated, the wind whistled through the cracked walls, the rain fell through the broken roof, the weeds choked the passage to the rotting door. When I brought what remained of him home here, the brains seemed to me to have been blown out of the house too; it was so shattered and ruined.
What is literature but the expression of moods by the vehicle of symbol and incident? And are there not moods which need heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland for their expression, no less than this dilapidated earth? Nay, are there not moods which shall find no expression unless there be men who dare to mix heaven, hell, purgatory, and faeryland together, or even to set the heads of beasts to the bodies of men, or to thrust the souls of men into the heart of rocks? Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet." (A Teller of Tales)
Just as the Mediterranean separated France from the country Algiers, so did the Mississippi separate New Orleans proper from Algiers Point. The neighborhood had a strange mix. It looked seedier and more laid-back all at the same time. Many artists lived on the peninsula, with greenery everywhere and the most beautiful and exotic plants. The French influence was heavy in Algiers, as if the air above the water had carried as much ambience as it could across to the little neighborhood. There were more dilapidated buildings in the community, but Jackson and Buddy passed homes with completely manicured properties, too, and wild ferns growing out of baskets on the porches, as if they were a part of the architecture. Many of the buildings had rich, ornamental detail, wood trim hand-carved by craftsmen and artisans years ago. The community almost had the look of an ailing beach town on some forgotten coast.
My lack of faith in God is not a dilapidated house. It does not need to be razed to the ground or burned down to cinders. I refuse to be the wounded woman on a cross that you crucify with your disapproval like nails; I will only be the woman who believes in thunderstorms the same way lightning loves the tops of trees it strikes every time it gets tired of being pent up in an unforgiving sky, the only difference is that I believe these are natural weather phenomenons, not God's belly rumbling or synapses firing. When my doorway is filled with groups of people wielding religious conversion pamphlets like crossbows, I will be the martyr who steps aside to let the arrows crack through the plaster in my wall instead of piercing my chest. This is not a eulogy to the believer I could have been. This is a battle cry to the believer I always have been, believer in sunsets like splashes of paint, handholding like willow branches brushing one another, new mornings after old nights spent drowning in despair, believer in love as an entire language instead of a single word. Just because my beliefs align themselves on a different spectrum does not mean they are the wrong wavelength or color. And even though I think the universe was created by the Big Bang instead of a God with magic dust shooting from his fingertips, my universe does not contain fewer stars.
Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city - Birmingham, Alabama - five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn - at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.