“It’s a beautiful moment, akin to watching a baby take his first few steps, forever harnessing a powerful human mechanism. Congo could literally only understand what he had done to others by viewing the act take place through the power of cinema, by ingesting it through the medium he valued most. This film is a testament to the sheer, unbridled power of cinema and is, in a certain way, the picture of the ideal filmmakers: narrowly focused, greatly awed by the power of movies, and deeply human.”
“The characters in these stories often build their lives on speculation, on things one read somewhere (that thing about a frog acclimating to boiling water if you raise the temperature slowly enough gets mentioned twice), and sometimes on theories that don’t quite hold up in practice. Moore’s characters are usually lonely, and loneliness can breed a certain sort of unreliability, the associative loopiness of a person who’s gone too long without meeting one of their basic needs, like sleep or food or human interaction.”
“Although Oreste is a clueless nomad, he discovers that simply by pushing the red button on his EpiPen he’s able to teleport and fix electronic appliances. He magically makes busted blenders spin their blades and radios retrieve their signals. He becomes a quick-buck-making mechanic. But the gig is short lived and he mysteriously lands back at home with two angry parents and few explanations. Ashamed, he decides, “sometimes dignity is achieved by humiliating oneself. It seems confusing, but it’s not: it’s the life we poor people have to live.””
“Janet Mock is not playing the game of respectability politics. She could, if she wanted, be a kind of trans woman Bill Cosby, at pains to make an example of her normalcy, eager to give an image makeover to trans people at large. “I have been held up consistently as a token,” she says in her new memoir Redefining Realness, “as the ‘right’ kind of trans woman (educated, able-bodied, attractive, articulate, heteronormative).” But having grown up low-income, multiracial, and trans, Mock knows too much about being the wrong kind of woman to glory in exceptionalism. Since the 2011 profile in Marie Claire in which she announced herself as a trans woman, she’s started the #GirlsLikeUs Twitter campaign and become a spokesperson and activist for trans issues. The profile more or less maintained the rhetoric of respectability, leading with her “supportive man” and “enviable career” as editor of People.com. But now Mock is telling her own story, and she does not omit the dark, the delicate, and the potentially disreputable.”
“So the storytellers gather in Blasim’s pages; they want to see which story will stick. We can demand that they take fuller breaths, that they wait their turn before speaking. We can ask that they linger over the raw moments, that they explain the logic behind the djinni, the reason for the bombs.”
“The circumscribed lives of these mostly Danish characters become familiar to us, and as their restrictions narrow further, the stories themselves, strangely, engorge into fullness. Nors is adroit at offering powerful summation at the precise moment with a single cutting phrase or an unexpected observation.”
“Syllables! Syllables! My heart is in my mouth, I put
her foot in my mouth, my mouth was stopped, not that this
To be human is a syndrome
And no marker, no, not my tongue can wag that not-dog
The homeless arm drags,
Eye wanders from its orbit.
I lie in bed amidst the trickles, my candle blows out,
Tissue thickens and deposits they compress, they seem no
Longer mobile, the be-
Longing slips away,
The lung congests, say ah,
What memory, what gives?
It is the bat slips its fur.
The flying worm slips its skin.
The angel sheds its light, it is a baby
Balanced on the pan against the folds and corrugations,
A pink pointed shoe, priapic but a sheath for my eye.”
“The center of the book, like the eye of the storm, is comprised of the epistolary poems addressed to the weather ghost. These enchant and make strange the speaker’s relation to the universe. What would we say to the elements, both transitory and finally? Like a tempestuous relationship with a lover, the letters chart devotion, difficulty and loss:
Dear Weather Ghost,
When I held dead July in my arms
you would not even let me do that.