No joy, no real surrender. Only the demands of the Operation. Each of us has his place, and the tenants come and go, but the places remain. . . .
It wasn't always so. In the trenches of the First World War, English men came to love one another decently, without shame or make-believe, under the easy likelihoods of their sudden deaths, and to find in the faces of other young men evidence of otherworldly visits, some poor hope that may have helped redeem even mud, shit, the decaying pieces of human meat. ... It was the end of the world, it was total revolution (though not quite in the way Walter Rathenau had announced): every day thousands of the aristocracy new and old, still haloed in their ideas of right and wrong, went to the loud guillotine of Flanders, run day in and out, on and on, by no visible hands, certainly not those of the people—an English class was being decimated, the ones who'd volunteered were dying for those who'd known something and hadn't, and despite it all, despite knowing, some of them, of the betrayal, while Europe died meanly in its own wastes, men loved. But the life-cry of that love has long since hissed away into no more than this idle and bitchy faggotry. In this latest War, death was no enemy, but a collaborator. Homosexuality in high places is just a carnal afterthought now, and the real and only fucking is done on paper. ...
* * *
Roger gritting his teeth do not succumb to hysteria, it is a counter-productive luxury you cannot, in your present great vulnerability, afford. . . .
There's nothing so loathsome as a sentimental surrealist.
By now, the only other room he can remember being in was a two-color room, nothing but the two exact colors, for all the lamps, furniture, drapes, walls, ceiling, rug, radio, even book jackets in the shelves—everything was either (1) Deep Cheap-Perfume Aquamarine, or (2) Creamy Chocolate FBI-Shoe Brown.
"You don't know. Not till you're there, Wimpe. You can't say."
"That doesn't sound very dialectical."
Tchitcherine: "You mean thio-phosphate, don't you?" Thinks indicating the presence of sulfur. . . . Wimpe: "I mean ífoophosphate, Vaslav," indicating the Presence of God.
Seems people can be reminded of Titans and Fathers, and laugh, It isn't as funny as a pie in the face, but it's at least as pure.
"Do you have a photo of him?" the old woman handing her a tin army plate with the remains of her morning's Bauernfrüh-stuck. "I can give you a spell."
"Sometimes I can call up his face in a cup of tea. But the herbs have to be gathered carefully. I'm not that good at it yet."
"But you're in love. Technique is just a substitute for when you get older."
"Why not stay in love always?"
So when he disentangles himself, it is extravagantly. He creates a bureaucracy of departure, inoculations against forgetting, exit visas stamped with love-bites . . . but coming back is something he's already forgotten about.
He looks at the others, computing. Everyone here seems to be at least a double agent.
That something so mutable, so soft, as a sharing of electrons by atoms of carbon should lie at the core of life, his life, struck Jamf as a cosmic humiliation. Sharing? How much stronger, how everlasting was the ionic bond—where electrons are not shared, but captured. Seized! and held! polarized plus and minus, these atoms, no ambiguities . . . how he came to love that clarity: how stable it was, such mineral stubbornness!
How quickly history passes these days.
There is no heart, anywhere now, no human heart left in which I exist. Do you know what that feels like?
What she needs right now in her life, from some man in her life, is stability, mental health and strength of character.
Well, it's a matter of continuity. Most people's lives have ups and downs that are relatively gradual, a sinuous curve with first derivatives at every point. They're the ones who never get struck by lightning. No real idea of cataclysm at all. But the ones who do get hit experience a singular point, a discontinuity in the curve of life—do you know what the time rate of change is at a cusp? Infinity, that's what! A-and right across the point, it's minus infinity! How's that for sudden change, eh?
Холоднее ведьминских сосков, эхма!
Холодней бадьи пингвиньего дерьма!
Холодней волос в заду у алеута!
Холодней, чем иней на фужере брюта!
The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.
Like signals set out for lost travelers, shapes keep repeating for him, Zonal shapes he will allow to enter but won't interpret, not any more.
"Maybe I'll be back." It's no drifter's lie, both of them are sure that someone will be, next year at about this time, maybe next year's Schweinheld, someone close enough . . . and if the name, the dossier are not exactly the same, well, who believes in those?