Ben Lerner Quotes
Total quotes (8)
Total quotes (8)
If you want to pick out the devastated or soon-to-be-devastated from the stream of people leaving Mount Sinai, I decided, don't look for frank expressions of sorrow or concern, look for people whose faces resemble those of passengers deplaning after a long flight— a blank expression as the body begins adjusting to a new time zone and ground speed.
I thought about kissing her on the forehead but rejected the idea immediately; whatever physical intimacy had opened up between us had dissolved with the storm; even that relatively avuncular gesture would be strange for both of us now. More than that: it was as though the physical intimacy with Alex, just like the sociability with strangers or the aura around objects, wasn't just over, but retrospectively erased. Because those moments had been enabled by a future that had never arrived, they could not be remembered from this future that, at and as the present, had obtained; they'd faded from the photograph.
Overhead the stars occluded by light pollution were presences like words projected through time and I was aware that water surrounded the city, and that the water moved; I was aware of the delicacy of the bridges and tunnels spanning it, and of the traffic through those arteries, as though some cortical reorganization now allowed me to take the infrastructure personally, a proprioceptive flicker in advance of the communal body.
Finally I found something on the list, something vital: instant coffee. I held the red plastic container, one of the last three on the shelf, held it like the marvel that it was: the seeds inside the purple fruits of coffee plants had been harvested on Andean slopes and roasted and ground and soaked and then dehydrated at a factory in Medellín and vacuum-sealed and flown to JFK and then driven upstate in bulk to Pearl River for repackaging and then transported back by truck to the store where I now stood reading the label. It was as if the social relations that produced the object in my hand began to glow within it as they were threatened, stirred inside their packaging, lending it a certain aura — the majesty and murderous stupidity of that organization of time and space and fuel and labor becoming visible in the commodity itself now that planes were grounded and the highways were starting to close.