13. “When I start reading I’m somewhere completely different, I’m in the text, it’s amazing, I have to admit I’ve been dreaming, dreaming in a land of great beauty, I’ve been in the very heart of truth. Ten times a day, every day, I wonder at having wandered so far, and then, alienated from myself, a stranger to myself, I go home, walking the streets silently and in deep meditation, passing trams and cars and pedestrians in a cloud of books, the books I found that day and am carrying home in my briefcase.”
14. “It never ceased to amaze me, until suddenly one day I felt beautiful and holy for having had the courage to hold on to my sanity after all I’d seen and been through, body and soul, in too loud a solitude, and slowly I came to the realization that my work was hurtling me headlong into an infinite field of omnipotence.”
25. “For thirty-five years now I’ve been compacting old paper and books, living as I do in a land that has known how to read and write for fifteen generations; living in a onetime kingdom where it was and still is a custom, an obsession, to compact thoughts and images patiently in the heads of the population, thereby bringing them ineffable joy and even greater woe; living among people who will lay down their lives for a bale of compacted thoughts.”
27. “I have calmed down a little and my work is going better than yesterday, so well, in fact, that it does itself and I can slip back into the womb of time, into my youth, when I ironed my trousers and shined my shoes, soles included, every Saturday, because when you’re young you love keeping clean, you love your self-image, an image you still have time to improve.”
28. “Which must be why Bondy the poet says that real poetry must hurt, as if you’d forgotten you wrapped a razor blade in your hadkerchief and you blow your nose, no book worth its salt is meant to put you to sleep, it’s meant to make you jump out of bed in your underwear and run and beat the author’s brains out.”
29. “Our heads met, our eyes crossed paths, the window to the courtyard lay open, I whispered in his ear and he started crying in my hair, wept like a child, I stroked him, touched by his crying, that he opened up, as he truly was, rent his shirt and exposed his heart like the paintings of Jesus hung over the beds in country houses.”
34. “Trembling as usual, I dropped to one knee and, holding on to the drum with one hand, looked up, wondering what he, my boss, had against me, what made him pull such terrifying faces, faces so indignant, so full of suffering that they always made me believe that I was a repulsive person and a hopeless worker who inflicted the most ignoble blows on his noble superior.”
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