I almost forgot what it feels like to be loved because I loved to be Liked.

I approached the witness stand with a warm and welcoming smile. This, of course, belied my true intent, which was to destroy the woman who sat there with her eyes fixed on me.

The storm is coming but I don’t mind.
People are dying, I close my blinds.

Johnny Merton was playing with me, and we both knew it. It was a fun game for him. He was doing endless years for crimes ranging from murder to extortion to excessive litigation. He had a lot of time on his hands.

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops.

Stephen Torres was meeting with a client at his law office, in downtown Albuquerque, on April 12, 2011, when he received a call from a neighbor, who told him that police officers were aiming rifles at his house. He left work and drove to his home, in a middle-class suburb with a view of the mountains. There were more than forty police vehicles on his street.

“The crime,” as detectives would later tell the newspapers, was “one of the most gruesome in the annals of the New Orleans police.”

I take a pill to help me through the day
I stay inside until I feel okay

The funeral is supposed to be a quiet affair, for the deceased had no friends. But words are water in Amsterdam, they flood your ears and set the rot, and the church’s east corner is crowded.

For as long as I can remember, I remember fear.

None of the merry-go-rounds seem to work anymore. There is a Holiday Inn across from the coroner’s office. And Lorenzo Jones is our mayor.

Y’all don’t know nothing ‘bout a scorned, burnt body.

They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine.

You heard me right: Come in. No, you won’t disturb a soul in this locker room. They’re all lost in that place most folks go maybe once or twice in a lifetime, when their mamas or daddies die or their children are born, a place they don’t go nearly as often as they should. Trust me, these boys will never know you’re here.

I am a coward.
I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I can know or tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

I feel your knife as it goes right in
Cut to my core but I’m not bleeding

[Acknowledgments] We would like to thank everyone who helped us, or, at least, who did not slow us down too much.

Scientific revolutions, almost by definition, defy common sense. If all our common-sense notions about the universe were correct, then science would have solved the secrets of the universe thousands of years ago.

Beginnings, it’s said, are apt to be shadowy. So it is with this story, which starts with the emergence of a new species maybe two hundred thousand years ago. The species does not yet have a name—nothing does—but it has the capacity to name things.

Tears flowed out of me from a walled-off place, from another time, from a little boy who couldn’t cry.

Usually people cried when they came here for the first time, and this girl looked as if she’d be no exception.

It’s funny what being held at gunpoint will do to you. And being held at gunpoint by a megalomaniacal rock star? Well, that doesn’t feel very good at all.

Poems are bullshit. Unless they are screamed or howled or thrown in your face.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.