Making a Fist

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.
naomi shihab nye

One steadfast, activist colleague of mine at the university promised to go with me no matter what; another begged me not to go, insisting that my presence wouldn’t affect what happened, and all I would do out there was freeze to death. I tried to explain to her that you don’t go to a vigil expecting to halt action. You go to bear witness to what the state would prefer to do in complete darkness

maggie nelson

The whole of this film is one gorgeous hymn to the feminine mystique. For who would want to be the dumbfounded, piston-like Alexandre pumping his genitals, when instead you could be this most sensitive creature brimming with the rarest emotions?

veronica scott esposito, on the double life of véronique

Before the 1914 war passports didn’t exist. You had to have one for Russia or Turkey, otherwise you went where you liked provided you had the money. He told me he was in London on a diplomatic passport. His stay was limited. He was going to Holland to lecture, or so I understood. He told me he was half French, half Dutch, and lived in Paris. ‘All this passport business is only because it’s wartime,’ I said. ‘They’ll stop it as soon as the war’s over.’ He smiled a little and said, ‘Perhaps, perhaps.’

jean rhys