Right Haunted

Image: photo of Ron Mueck's sculpture, 'Boy' (photo by Tamaki Sono on Flickr.com)

[Image: photograph of Ron Mueck’s sculpture, “Boy”; photo by Tamaki Sono, found on Flickr (and used here under a Creative Commons license — thanks!). Mueck specializes in sculpting people in ultra-realistic detail, but scaled up (as here) or down for a slightly jarring effect. See more examples here, and elsewhere around the Web.]

From whiskey river (all but the last sentence):

Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life. I sometimes muse over this sketch of a story—about a man afflicted by one of those personal tragedies born of extreme shyness… who one day, while wearing a mask I don’t know where, told another mask all the most personal, most secret, most unthinkable things that could be told about his tragic and serene life. And since no outward detail would give him away, he having disguised even his voice, and since he didn’t take careful note of whoever had listened to him, he could enjoy the ample sensation of knowing that somewhere in the world there was someone who knew him as not even his closest and finest friend did. When he walked down the street he would ask himself if this person, or that one, or that person over there might not be the one to whom he’d once, wearing a mask, told his most private life. Thus would be born in him a new interest in each person, since each person might be his only, unknown confidant. And his crowning glory would be if the whole of that sorrowful life he’d told were, from start to finish, absolutely false.

(Fernando Pessoa [source])

and (italicized portion):

Surely we cannot take an open question like the supernatural and shut it with a bang, turning the key of the madhouse on all the mystics of history… You cannot take the region of the unknown and calmly say that, though you know nothing about it, you know all the gates are locked. You cannot say, “This island is not discovered yet; but I am sure that it has a wall of cliffs all round it and no harbour”… We do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable.

(G. K. Chesterton [source])

and:

…the life you lead is a midnight thing, always a hair’s breadth from the witching hour; it is volatile, it is threadbare; it is carefree in the true sense of that term; it is light, losable like a key or a hair clip. And it is lethargy: why not sit all morning, all day, all year, under the same cypress tree drawing the figure eight in the dust? More than that, it is disaster, it is chaos: why not overthrow a government on a whim, why not blind the man you hate, why not go mad, go gibbering through the town like a loon, waving your hands, tearing your hair? There’s nothing to stop you — or rather anything could stop you, any hour, any minute.

(Zadie Smith [source])

Not from whiskey river:

Book Nine

One man prays: How shall I be able to lie with this woman?
Do thou pray thus: How shall I not desire to lie with her?
Another prays thus: How shall I be released from this?
Another prays: How shall I not desire to be released?
—Marcus Aurelius

When we are lost in our longings, Aurelius, already it is too late:
there is already nothing we can do. I have rarely desired an end
to my desires. We are so in love with our wanting. Last week,
though doctors were quick to repair it, a baby in India was born
grasping her own beating heart in her fist. Today, a Dumpster
arrives from Dave’s Trash Removal & I begin to fill it. I toss in
a transistor radio that hasn’t worked in years. A man walking past
asks if he can take it. Later, he returns & carries off a broken TV.
A neighbor salvages the dented gray fuse box; a girl wants a window,
a paper bag full of tangled cords. All night I listen to the wind
& the echoes of feet kicking through rubbish, like a mouse nesting
inside a drum. My older brother is dead a decade. Yet here
in its enormous gold frame is the familiar, pastel portrait
someone named Maxwell drew for our mother, an inaccurate
rendering of the two of us when we were small. I can’t look at it;
I can’t throw it away. Every change is a death, you tell yourself,
turn thy thoughts now to thy life as a child…. One day, I tell myself,
I will shut all the doors, leave everything behind. The museum
is showing a hundred tricked-out Victorian photographs
of that other world: the hoax of floating fairies, women haunted
by ghostly blurs. Another century & still we want to believe
in what we know cannot be true. Your words, Aurelius, have found me,
but you could not. If we are disappointed, we have only ourselves
to blame: Wipe out thy imagination. We fill our hands when they are
empty. We empty ourselves when we have held too much too long.

(Kathleen Graber [source])

…and:

As My Life is a Dream

I painted a phoenix in bright colors
cut it in nine pieces and cooked it
in a pot at the mountaintop.
I stirred it as if cranking reels of
a movie. Unraveled were a series
of faces in mosaic.

Kurosawa appeared. He asked me
what my story was about.
Tongue-tied, I could not answer.
He handed me a token with a silvery
eagle engraved, ready to fly.

How real I thought everything was
in my dream!

In my waking hour, I see
the remnant of the war between
my head and heart.

Now in cease-fire, my chest is filled
with the fresh breeze of serenity.
I begin to breathe gently as my story
is unraveled like in a movie.

No longer haunted, my love of God soars
as I see my guardian angel smile
in the clear blue sky, transforming to
one gigantic phoenix.

My wandering in the wilderness of
the mind has taught me a little wisdom.
I believe my dreams are real
as my life is a dream.

(Chungmi Kim [source])

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