Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prime Passage: Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo (1973)

From Chapter 10…

“I continued to breathe, never before conscious of the effort needed to generate this act. People passed supernaturally across the room, leaving contrails of smoke and scented ash. Others settled around me, moving their lips. All were breathing, sullenly pumping blood, embarked together on a perverse miracle. Our moveable parts carried us past the edge of every deathly metaphysic. Our organs, lifted from our bodies, plucked out with silver pincers and left laboring on bright Tiffany trays, would comprise the finest exhibit of our ability to endure. Euphoric with morphine we’d be wheeled among them, noting proportions and contours, admiring the beauty of what we were. … (p.74)

“I thought of all the inner organs in the room, considered apart from the people they belonged to. For that moment of thought we seemed a convocation of martyrs, visible behind our skin. The room was a cell in a metaphysical painting, full of divine kidneys, lungs aloft in smoke, entrails gleaming, bladders simmering in painless fires. This was a madman’s truth, to paint us as sacs and flaming lariats, nearly godly in our light, perishable but never ending. I watched the pale girl touch her voluptuous navel. One by one, repacked in sallow cases, we all resumed our breathing.” (p.82)