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Al Alvarez

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His face was blue, on his fingers
Flecks of green. 'This is my father',
I thought.
--
Poem Mourning and Melancholia

 
Al Alvarez

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I remember staring at the computer screen--light green letters on dark--then at the clock, and finally at my outstretched fingers held a foot in front of my face. And then it dawned on me: selling the hours of my life was no different from selling my fingers one by one. We've only so many hours, so many fingers; when they're gone, they're gone for good.

 
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With a smile of joy and gladness, with a look of exultation, as of one who in a vision what is to be, but it is not, stood and waited Hiawatha. Toward the sun his hands were lifted both the palms spread out toward it and, between departed fingers, felt the sunshine on his features. Flecked with light his naked shoulders, as it falls and flecks an oak-tree through the rifted leaves and branches.

 
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...I wanna know about the commercial I saw on TV: An Irish guy walking through a field of green, whistling one of those Irish jigs, and a woman walks up and says, "Manly, yes, but I like it too." Then the guy pulls out a huge knife and cuts off his first two fingers and somehow catches them in what's left of his left hand and hands them to the woman. Did I mention they're both dressed in green? They they both sing this song together: "Are ya icky? Are ya sticky? Are ya hot as anything? Hey! Cut off two of your fingers, and stab yourself in the eye!" Then he stabs himself in the eye and hands her the knife, and she stabs herself in the eye, okay? Okay? So what about that?

 
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All flesh is one: what matter scores;
Or color of the suit
Or if the helmet glints with blue or gold?
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As he looked, Sutton felt the cold hand of loneliness reach down with icy fingers to take him in its grip. For here was sheer, mad loneliness such as he had never dreamed. Here was the very negation of life and motion, here was the stark, bald beginning when there was no life, nor even thought of life. Here anything that knew or thought or moved was an alien thing, a disease, a cancer on the face of nothingness.

 
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