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.

Quite a Quote

Pulled up to house. Another silence as we regarded blank empty yard. That is, mostly crabgrass and no red Oriental bridge w/ancient hoofprints and no outbuildings and not a single SG, but only Ferber, who we’d kind of forgotten about, and who, as usual, had circled round and round the tree until nearly choking to death on his gradually shortening leash, having basically tethered himself to the ground in supine position, and was looking up at us with begging eyes in which desperation was combined with a sort of low boiling anger.

Saunders, George. “The Semplica Girl Diaries.” In Tenth of December, 109–167. New York: Random House, 2013.

Quite a Quote

As after my mother’s death, I walk around seeing objects from a haunted world: a child’s easter dress, box of four crystal glasses, unopened package of men’s t-shirts. A beach towel. The delightful ones pin me to sorrow. That bird.

How to mourn someone who has not died? Although I know when a parent dies, the relationship still continues.


John says—about the lover’s own ambivalence—if the relationship weren’t conflicted then you should worry. What would I do without him.

Hahn, Kimiko. The Narrow Road to the Interior: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006.

Quite a Quote

     Mr. Rube hollered to his oldest to bring more water, and when the boy opened the cabin door Big Ole Dog followed him and, to everyone’s horror, grabbed the baby off the pan and ran out the door.
     “Get that dog! Get that dog!”
     But it was too late. Big Ole disappeared into the timber, and the dogs that had been sleeping just put their heads up, then laid them back down again when the commotion was over.

Dietz, R. E., “The Booger-Dog,” Feral: A Journal of Ozarkian Gothic, no. 1 (Winter 2015).

15-Minute Fiction

He stared at his coffee and swirled it around with the straw.
     “I was expecting more,” were the words coming from his girlfriend. It was a Monday and he was supposed to be at work, but he had allowed her to coax him away from it. She lifted up her purse and withdrew the ring. “This is it? This is all I’m worth?”
     “It’s a nice ring.”
     She didn’t say a word, simply held the ring in her hand as if offering it to him. He looked up at her.
     “I can get another, you know. It might take some time—”
     “I don’t want a-fucking-nother! I told you what I expected and you went and got this anyway. How stupid can you be?”
     There was a moment of silence and he looked away. Outside it began to rain.
     “It was too much.”
     “What do you mean it was too much? It was a simple request.”
     “Do you know how much work goes into getting one?” He looked back at her and tried to feign anger. “It’s not a simple matter. I have to find it first, then figure out the finances, then how—”
     “I don’t care what goes into it. Everyone has one and I’m not going to be left out. Just do it.”
     She put the ring back into her bag and began sliding out of the booth.
     “Bell, wait,” he said, reaching for her hand.
     “Don’t touch me. Don’t talk to me. Text me when you have it.” She flipped her hair and made her way for the door. Across the diner their waitress eyed them impassively.
     He watched her slip out the door into the overcast day, stopping momentarily to frown at the sky. She then dashed to her car while unlocking it with her remote key fob. Inside she drew out her phone and placed a call, exchanging some words before starting her car and pulling away.
     He sighed and looked back at his coffee, no longer steaming. He wasn’t going to get it; he didn’t want to. But he was stuck with her. It was now a question of how to remove her from the equation.

Quite a Quote

     So began, for Oedipa, the languid, sinister blooming of The Tristero. Or rather, her attendance at some unique performance, prolonged as if it were the last of the night, something a little extra for whoever’d stayed this late. As if the breakaway gowns, net bras, jeweled garters and G-strings of historical figuration that would fall away were layered dense as Oedipa’s own street clothes in that game with Metzger in front of the Baby Igor movie; as if a plunge toward dawn indefinite black hours long would indeed be necessary before The Tristero could be revealed in its terrible nakedness. Would its smile, then, be coy, and would it flirt away harmlessly backstage, say good night with a Bourbon Street bow and leave her in peace? Or would it instead, the dance ended, come back down the runway, its luminous stare locked to Oedipa’s, smile gone malign and pitiless; bend to her alone among the desolate rows of seats and begin to speak words she never wanted to hear?

Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006.

Quite a Quote

     That’s the way it always is! Like someone went and cut a tiny little sliver of boundless nature out for us, for people: here you go, Golubchiks, a little bit of sun, a bit of summer, some tulip flowers, a tiny bit of greengrass, a few small birds thrown in for spare change. And that’s enough. But I’ll hide all the other creatures, I’ll wrap them in the night, cover them in darkness, stick them in the forest and under the ground like a sleeve, I’ll bury them, starlight’s enough for them, they’re just fine. Let them rustle, scamper, squeak, multiply, live their own lives. And you, well, go and catch ’em if you can. You caught some? Eat your fill. And if you didn’t, do the best you can.

Tolstaya, Tatyana. The Slynx. New York: New York Review Books, 2003.

Quite a Quote

“It’s all dumb luck,” the Doctor’s Wife says, explaining her new theory to my mother. I’ve already heard the theory.
     “What’s dumb luck?” asks my mom.
     “Life. It’s all dumb luck.”
     “Don’t you think that genetics has something to do with it?”
     “Genetics is dumb luck.”
     “What about education?”
     “Dumb luck.”
     “That’s not what you thought when you were younger.”
     “Of course I did,” the Doctor’s Wife snorts.
     “It was not dumb luck whether or not I got good grades. I was expected to study. Is it dumb luck if you study and then get good grades?”
     “Well,” the Doctor’s Wife says. “It’s dumb luck that you had the sort of parents who made you study.”
     They work quietly for a while, cutting up the pieces of apple, getting ready for the others to come.
     “Aren’t we lucky?” the Doctor’s Wife asks.

Jaramillo, Luis. The Doctor’s Wife. Westland: Dzanc Books, 2012.

Quite a Quote

I was all alone by the fire and it was getting gray dawn in the east. “Boy, am I drunk!” I said. “Wake up! wake up!” I yelled. “The goat of day is butting dawn! No ifs or buts! Bang! Come on, you girls! gimps! punks! thieves! pimps! hangmen! Run!” Then I suddenly had the most tremendous feeling of the pitifulness of human beings, whatever they were, their faces, pained mouths, personalities, attempts to be gay, little petulances, feelings of loss, their dull and empty witticisms so soon forgotten: Ah, for what?

Kerouac, Jack. The Dharma Bums. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.


For the Intermittent Writer


Short books about albums. Published by Bloomsbury.

The Wink

This Week in Kink

Zoë Tersche

Freelance writing focusing on internet freedoms and surveillance along with sexuality and gender in media and tech.