For having expressed an opinion, however far-fetched, we straightway become its slave, ready to die defending it, and even ready to believe it. And many continue to be martyrs to causes which have ceased to exist, their crowns rusting upon their heads as tin wreaths rust upon forgotten tombs.
In the 'Revelation Space' books, the spaceships are a bit old and rusty, and things go wrong, and they don't work quite how they're meant to. And people asked why I did it this way, and groping around for an explanation, I said that I grew up in Barry, this post-industrial sea town full of rusting infrastructure.
Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future.
Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future. The ruin you've made.
A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage... For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.
The effect of civilization is to impose human law upon environment until it becomes machine-like in its regularity. The objectionable is eliminated, the inevitable is foreseen. One is not even made wet by the rain nor cold by the frost; while death, instead of stalking about gruesome and accidental, becomes a prearranged pageant, moving along a well-oiled groove to the family vault, where the hinges are kept from rusting and the dust from the air is swept continually away.
When you open a book," the sentimental library posters said, "anything can happen." This was so. A book of fiction was a bomb. It was a land mine you wanted to go off. You wanted it to blow your whole day. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of books were duds. They had been rusting out of everyone's way for so long that they no longer worked. There was no way to distinguish the duds from the live mines except to throw yourself at them headlong, one by one.
A learned parson, rusting in his cell at Oxford or Cambridge, will reason admirably well on the nature of man; will profoundly analyse the head, the heart, the reason, the will, the passions, the sentiments, and all those subdivisions of we know not what; and yet, unfortunately, he knows nothing of man.... He views man as he does colours in Sir Isaac Newton's prism, where only the capital ones are seen; but an experienced dyer knows all their various shades and gradations, together with the result of their several mixtures.
The real people who hold our civilization together are the maintenance people. If it weren't for them - pumping water out of subways, painting bridges to keep from rusting, fixing a steam pipe that is 70 years old - we'd be sunk. If we got rid of all the politicians and the policymakers in the world, the world would keep going. If you get rid of maintenance people, the whole thing breaks down.
You believed you could transcend the body as you aged, she tells herself. You believed you could rise above it, to a serene, nonphysical realm. But it's only through ecstasy you can do that, and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wings, no flight. Without that ecstasy you can only be dragged further down by the body, into its machinery. Its rusting, creaking, vengeful, brute machinery.
When rowan leaves are dank and rusting And rowan berries red as blood, When in my palm the hangman's thrusting The final nail with bony thud, When, over the foul flooding river, Upon the wet grey height, I toss Before my land's grim looks, and shiver As I swing here upon the cross, Then, through the blood and weeping, stretches My dying sight to space remote; I see upon the river's reaches Christ sailing to me in a boat.
Intense sunlight rained down on a half-submerged city. Waves crashed between buildings that stood like waterlogged tombstones. Skyscrapers of smashed glass and twisted rusting metal jutted from the churning swell as islands of broken dreams. A familiar tower with a familiar clock face... Big Ben. London stared back at Blue. What was left of it. A sea-drowned cemetery for a time and a place long dead.
She remembers in 1940 when the city's population had been called upon to donate all the metal objects they could spare. Married women were asked for their wedding rings. Florence's piazzas were thus heaped with enormous piles of tarnished rusting metal objects. There was something almost touching about the slapdash poverty of the contribution. Candelabras, door handles, pipes, bits of engines, tools. It later occurred to her that these bits of waste metal would in all probability be melted down and fashioned into weapons, ammunition maybe. That the candelabra she was looking at might end up lodged in someone's chest in the form of a bullet, someone who would never know that a household ornament of mysterious provenance would cause his death.
American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash - all of them - surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered with rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if no other way, we can see the wild an reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index. Driving along I thought how in France or Italy every item of these thrown-out things would have been saved and used for something. This is not said in criticism of one system or the other but I do wonder whether there will come a time when we can no longer afford our wastefulness - chemical wastes in the rivers, metal wastes everywhere, and atomic wastes buried deep in the earth or sunk in the sea. When an Indian village became too deep in its own filth, the inhabitants moved. And we have no place to which to move.
His feet went banging down some stairs. He closed his eyes. They went through cinders and dirt, his heels gathering small windrows of trash. A dim world receded above his upturned toes, shapes of skewed shacks erupted bluely in the niggard lamplight. The rusting carcass of an automobile passed slowly on his right. Dim scenes pooling in the summer night, wan ink wash of junks tilting against a paper sky, rorschach boatmen poling mutely over a mooncobbled sea. He lay with his head on the moldy upholstery of an old car seat among packingcrates and broken shoes and suncrazed rubber toys in the dark. Something warm was running on his chest. He put up a hand. I am bleeding. Unto my death.
I've never liked urban myths. I've never liked pretending to believe in them; never understood why everyone else doesn't see straight through them. Why is it they've always happened to a friend of a friend - someone you've never met? Why does everyone smile and nod and pull the right faces, when they must know they're not true? Pointless. A waste of breath. So I sneered at the myths about Scaderstone Pit. It was just an old quarry - nothing more. I never believed in the rumours of discarded dynamite. It had decayed, they said. It exploded at the slightest touch, had even blown someone's hand off. I shrugged off the talk of the toxic waste. It was dumped in the dead of night, they said. The canisters rusting away, leaking deadly poisons that could blind you, burn your lungs. I laughed at the ghost stories. You could hear the moans, they said, of quarrymen buried alive and never found. You could see their nightwalking souls, searching for their poor crushed bodies. I didn't believe any of it - not one word. Now, after everything that's happened, I wonder whether I should've listened to those stories. Maybe then, these things would've happened to someone else, and I could've smiled and said they were impossible. But this is not an urban myth. And it did not happen to someone else, but to me. I've set it down as best I can remember. Whether you believe it or not, is up to you.
Remembering that only a few years ago men, women, and even children, were imprisoned, tortured and burned, for having expressed in an exceedingly mild and gentle way, the ideas entertained by me, I congratulate myself that calumny is now the pulpit's last resort. The old instruments of torture are kept only to gratify curiosity; the chains are rusting away, and the demolition of time has allowed even the dungeons of the Inquisition to be visited by light. The church, impotent and malicious, regrets, not the abuse, but the loss of her power, and seeks to hold by falsehood what she gained by cruelty and force, by fire and fear. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that leads to heaven. Such a religion is necessarily uncompromising, unreasoning, aggressive and insolent. Christianity has held all other creeds and forms in infinite contempt, divided the world into enemies and friends, and verified the awful declaration of its founder-a declaration that wet with blood the sword he came to bring, and made the horizon of a thousand years lurid with the fagots' flames.
Robert G. Ingersoll
After his initial homecoming week, after he'd been taken to a bunch of sights by his cousins, after he'd gotten somewhat used to the scorching weather and the surprise of waking up to the roosters and being called Huascar by everybody (that was his Dominican name, something else he'd forgotten), after he refused to succumb to that whisper that all long-term immigrants carry inside themselves, the whisper that says You do not belong, after he'd gone to about fifty clubs and because he couldn't dance salsa, merengue, or bachata had sat and drunk Presidentes while Lola and his cousins burned holes in the floor, after he'd explained to people a hundred times that he'd been separated from his sister at birth, after he spent a couple of quiet mornings on his own, writing, after he'd given out all his taxi money to beggars and had to call his cousin Pedro Pablo to pick him up, after he'd watched shirtless shoeless seven-year-olds fighting each other for the scraps he'd left on his plate at an outdoor cafe, after his mother took them all to dinner in the Zona Colonial and the waiters kept looking at their party askance (Watch out, Mom, Lola said, they probably think you're Haitian - La unica haitiana aqui eres tu, mi amor, she retorted), after a skeletal vieja grabbed both his hands and begged him for a penny, after his sister had said, You think that's bad, you should see the bateys, after he'd spent a day in Bani (the camp where La Inca had been raised) and he'd taken a dump in a latrine and wiped his ass with a corn cob - now that's entertainment, he wrote in his journal - after he'd gotten somewhat used to the surreal whirligig that was life in La Capital - the guaguas, the cops, the mind-boggling poverty, the Dunkin' Donuts, the beggars, the Haitians selling roasted peanuts at the intersections, the mind-boggling poverty, the asshole tourists hogging up all the beaches, the Xica de Silva novelas where homegirl got naked every five seconds that Lola and his female cousins were cracked on, the afternoon walks on the Conde, the mind-boggling poverty, the snarl of streets and rusting zinc shacks that were the barrios populares, the masses of niggers he waded through every day who ran him over if he stood still, the skinny watchmen standing in front of stores with their brokedown shotguns, the music, the raunchy jokes heard on the streets, the mind-boggling poverty, being piledrived into the corner of a concho by the combined weight of four other customers, the music, the new tunnels driving down into the bauxite earth [... ]