what the living do


WHAT THE LIVING DO

by Marie Howe

 

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, 
  some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, 
  and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. 
  This is the everyday we spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, 
  and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high 
  in here and I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries 
  in the street, the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. 
  And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee 
  down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: 
  This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. 
  What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come 
  and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss--we want 
  more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse 
  of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and 
  I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and 
  unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

Random quote of the day:

“The heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn.”

—Stanley Kunitz, “The Testing-Tree”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“To know rapture is to have one’s whole life poisoned. If you will forgive a ridiculous analogy, a tincture of rapture is like a red bandana in the laundry that runs and turns all the white wash pink. We should just as soon stay away from any future ecstatic experiences which spoil everyday living by comparison.

—Philip Lopate, “Against Joie de Vivre,” Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

—Zen proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step.”

—Agnes Martin, “On the Perfection Underlying Life,” lecture, Institute of Contemporary Art, February 14, 1973

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.”

—Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, Episode 2, Chapter 4

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“We think in generalities, but we live in detail.”

—Alfred North Whitehead, “The Education of an Englishman,” The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 138, 1926

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Seeing oneself as acting in a movie or play is not merely fantasy or indulgence; it is fundamental to how people work out who it is they are, and may become.”

—Benedict Carey, “This is Your Life (and How You Tell It),” New York Times, May 22, 2007

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.”

—Jim Harrison, The Beast God Forgot to Invent

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as water. And that’s the tragedy of living.”

—Iain S. Thomas, “I Wrote This For You,” March 2, 2009

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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