Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin’s feet were placed in a tub of cement.

Leave me alone. I just want to lay here in my room and let myself cry. I apologize if I’ve disappointed you. I got lost in my darkness and the light hurts my eyes.

The wind had flung the sand thirty thousand feet into the sky above the desert in a blinding cloud from the Niger to the Nile, and somewhere in it was the airplane.

There is a right way to do things and a wrong way, if you’re going to run a hotel in a smugglers’ town.

The cats nestle close to their kittens,
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep.

You’ve made me into someone who should not hold a loaded gun.

I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of the well. Though I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from that vile murderer, knows what’s happened to me.

The women in my family are bitches.

I slipped the poison dart into its slot under the right collar of my cloak, next to the lockpick. It couldn’t go in too straight, or it would be hard to get to quickly.

I do not love mankind.
People think they’re interesting. That’s their first mistake. Every retiree you meet wants to supply you with his life story.

Every morning, Kim Casipong strolls past barbed wire, six dogs, and a watchman in order to get to her job in a pink apartment building decorated with ornate stonework in Lapu-Lapu City.

This is how you get your ass kicked.

This is my angry black woman poem. It’s loud. It’s angry. It’s black. It’s woman. It’s loud and it’s angry and it’s black and it’s woman because y’all love to watch us be loud and angry and black and woman.

I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing.

The very notion of a black hole is so alluring. It combines the thrill of the unknown with a sense of lurking danger and abandon.

Throughout the long summer before my mother’s trial began, and then during those crisp days in the fall when her life was paraded publicly before the county—her character lynched, her wisdom impugned—I overheard much more than my parents realized, and I understood more than they would have liked.

How to succeed in heartbreak without really trying: First, do nothing. Become one with your couch.

My earliest memories involve fire.
I watched Watts, Detroit, and Atlanta burn on the evening news, I saw oceans of mangroves and palm fronds smolder in napalm as Cronkite spoke of lateral disarmament and a war that had lost its reason.

I was still quite a small girl when I decided to kidnap Enzo Ponza.

You missed that. Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. You are missing the events unfolding in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you.

One day you know more dead people than live ones.

I was born when I met you
Now I’m dying to forget you

Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep. Any shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood: Howdy boys! Remember me?

“Three, two, one, applause!” The audience in the Beijing studio cheered as excitedly as anyone could be expected to cheer for an empty stage.

It was me who found her. April 1, 1880. The date is engraved on my story same as it is on the headstone, so cold and solid there under the pines.