Magazine article World Literature Today

Fifteen Aphorisms

Magazine article World Literature Today

Fifteen Aphorisms

Article excerpt

My senses allow my brain to know precisely where it's lost.

Studio windows, in all likelihood, face north so painters won't have to bear the sun's irony.

An airplane seat's soft upholstery conceals a steel rib-cage the way a piece of cheese does a rat trap.

Thought-expression's well brought- up daughter who carries on as though she's the mother.

The altruist-only an adulterous egoist.

Earth has no history. The geologist is its ventriloquist.

Were I God, I'd regret not consecrat- ing my Sunday to the creation of the bicycle.

Not easy to fathom how a stream can speak as it flows.

Travel's excitement pales beside the look of my dog left at home.

My head decides where, my feet whether.

The cerebral hemispheres: a left- wing invention inspired by the right.

I'm a bit like the watch that, with Swiss precision, discloses the jitters of the maker who built it.

I listen to the night the way others eavesdrop at a door. I catch the rain like I overhear a conversation.

As I age I'm gradually acquiring the stability of a collapsed house of cards.

A few seconds are enough for my dog to understand that the reflec- tion is not himself. A whole lifetime probably won't get me there.

Translations from the French

By Robin Magowan

[Sidebar]

Michel Devrient's Art of Drawing

Find a large piece of paper. It should not be standard format, not classical raisin or jesus, but a big sprawling surface, two meters at least from edge to edge. Don't worry if it is bent or creased, or even torn. Such concern has nothing to do with drawing. Open the window so that the landscape and everything it contains may flow in about the paper. Then begin to draw. The infinitive "to draw" should be interpreted very loosely. It means, if it can be defined at all in this context, to let things happen to the paper. …

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