Archive for Prose

06.26.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Dundun (an excerpt from the short story from the collection Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson)

Dundun tortured Jack Hotel at the lake outside of Denver. He did this to get information about a stolen item, a stereo belonging to Dundun’s girlfriend, or perhaps to his sister. Later, Dundun beat a man almost to death with a tire iron right on the street in Austin, Texas, for which he’ll also someday have to answer, but now he is, I think, in the state prison in Colorado.

Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing. It was only that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.

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05.21.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Education (an excerpt from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig)

[His] argument for the abolition of the degree and grading system produced a nonplussed or negative reaction in all but a few students at first, since it seemed, on first judgment, to destroy the whole University system. One student laid it wide open when she said with complete candor, “Of course you can’t eliminate the degree and grading system. After all, that’s what we’re here for.”

She spoke the complete truth. The idea that the majority of students attend a university for an education independent of the degree and grades is a little hypocrisy everyone is happier not to expose. Occasionally some students do arrive for an education but rote and the mechanical nature of the institution soon converts them to a less idealistic attitude.

05.07.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

A Single Overwound String (an excerpt from the novel The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian)

As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness-the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string. I was too poor to even have an etherizing vice like drugs or alcohol. Slowly I became a Peeping Tom of finer days, a vicarious liver through my own past.

Years ago, forecasting the quality of my life to come was a cinch. By five years’ time–which would have been five years ago–I would’ve graduated with a degree in architecture, and with a guaranteed job in my father’s growing real estate development firm. In sum, I’d be kept in clover. Envisioning my future was like watching a lucky contestant on a game show, whose winnings increased with each spin of the wheel.

05.01.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Stream (an excerpt from Winnie the Pooh, a creation of A. A. Milne)

By the time it came to the edge of the  Forest  the  stream
had  grown  up,  so  that  it  was  almost  a river, and, being
grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it  used
to  do  when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew
now where it was going, and it said to  itself,  “There  is  no
hurry. We shall get there some day.”

04.23.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Eat the Fruit (an excerpt from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)

“What are you talking about? ”
“Never mind, eat the fruit. ”
“You know, this place almost looks like the Garden of Eden. ”
“Eat the fruit. ”
“Sounds quite like it too. “

04.17.2008

Posted in Poetry, Prose with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Aesthetics (a prose-poem by Joel Brouwer)

Your brother has leukemia? Carve ivory. The elections were rigged? Write a villanelle. A girl shivers in streetlight, takes off her mittens, pulls a silver yo-yo from her pocket. Dogs bark behind a fence. Use oil on wood. Concentrate on pacing when choreogoraphing your divorce; you will have to move through it forever. Two men in green fatigues tie a woman flat to a metal table. One has a rubber hose, the other a pliers. A third man arrives with sandwiches and a thermos. A body has soft and hard parts, like a piano. Music comes from where they meet.

04.12.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Lies (an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand)

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because on surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of a life–the price one pays is the destruction of that which the gain was intended to serve. The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on.