Monthly Archives: November 2014

I want to go creeping about the edges of the world, the places that history has never remembered and so can’t possibly forget, neither ugly nor beautiful enough for anyone to recall them, but I would run them through my hands like smooth pebbles, let them cling to the roof of my mouth, drift in them half-submerged, and I would remember them, as the universe remembers, each moment worthy of eternity.

They are both of them looking in my direction, watching from their table, watching me write, and then one says, “Excuse me, are you a writer?” and I say, “Yes,” though what we mean by the word is probably too different to reconcile, and the other one says, “The writer’s life! What’s it like?” and I say, “It’s like yours, just a different table in the same cafe,” but she looks hurt, and so I tell her, “Don’t worry, you can try my seat when I’m done with it.”

The unreasonable complexity of every moral question should never obscure the fact that we know there is good and evil. Every moral act, and therefore every act, is morally ambiguous, but this ambiguity appears only within the moral certainty that goodness is good and evil is not. Moral ambiguity does not imply a lack of good and evil. It implies that choosing the good over the evil must always be without certainty or guarantee. It also implies that this choice always remains to be made.

One of my constant intellectual and spiritual obsessions is the impossibility of a world that is nevertheless obviously possible, often in the most banal and ridiculous ways. This poem speaks to this obsession.


The mystery of things peels like paint,
clings to the bottom of teacups,
makes vapour trails of the clear sky
and veined deltas of river mouths,
sifts sand, flings ash, cracks porcelain,
drives worlds with lazy, reckless speed
in star-circles, lets fingers feel
the water’s tain as passing time.