• Sometimes to walk in shaded parts of Manhattan is to be inserted into a Magritte: the street is night while the sky is day

    Joseph O'Neill
  • I found it idiotically distressing that a sharp finger whistle could no longer summon them outdoors into a playful twilight. An ancient discovery was now mine to make: to leave is to make nothing less than a mortal action. The suspicion came to me for the fist time that they were figures of my dreaming, like the loved dead: my mother and all these vanished boys. And after Mama's cremation I could not rid myself of the notion that she had been placed in the furnace of memory even when alive and, by extension, that one's dealings with others, ostensibly vital, at a certain point become dealings with the dead

    Joseph O'Neill
  • people in new york are authorized by convention to snoop around and mentally measure and pass comment on any real estate they're invited to step into

    Joseph O'Neill
  • Life itself had become disembodied. My family, the spine of my days, had crumbled. I was lost in invertebrate time

    Joseph O'Neill
  • The rocking of the boat by the waves was soothing but unknown. The men on the shore were asleep. Not the twelve-year-old, though. He shifted and lay on his back and decided to look up at the sky. What he saw took him by surprise. He was basically a city kid. He had never really seen the night sky for what it is. As he stared up at millions of stars, he was filled with a dread he had never known before.I was just a boy, I said to my wife in a hotel room in Cornwall. I was just a boy on a boat in the universe

    Joseph O'Neill
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