Quite a Quote

“In a station” “I saw” “a woman crying” “She stood against”
“the wall” “looking dirty” “& exhausted,” “crying quietly”
“I asked her who she was” “& why” “she was crying” “She
said: ‘I” “am a painter” “I have been trying” “to find”

“a form the tyrant” “doesn’t own—” “something” “he doesn’t
know about” “hasn’t invented, hasn’t” “mastered” “hasn’t
made his own” “in his mind” “Not rectangular,” “not a
sculpture” “Not a thing at all—” “he owns all things,”

“doesn’t he?” “He’s invented” “all the shapes” “I’m afraid he’s”
“invented mine,” “my very own” “body’ ” (“she was hysterical”)
“‘Did he invent me?” “I want” “to do something like
paint air” “Perhaps” “I even want to” “invent air” “I’ve

painted” “thin transparent” “pieces” “of plastic” “They—”
“the pictures on them—” “always turn” “rectangular,” “circular”
“I once painted” “on a bat’s wings” “I caught a bat” “painted
colors on” “let it loose &” “watched the air change…”

“He owns form,” “doesn’t he?” “The tyrant” “owns form’ ”

Notley, Alice. The Descent of Alette. New York: Penguin, 1992.

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