September 3, 2008

The tiger-pit of loneliness

Excerpt from Nonconformity by Nelson Algren:
From the penthouse suspended silently so high above the winding traffic's iron lamentation, forty straight-down stories into those long, low, night-blue bars aglow below street-level, a lonely guilt pervades us all.

A loneliness not known to any ancestral land. To some other less cautious race conquering or lost. No other age, more distant and less troubled. No other time, less lonely and much longer. No other night-blue bars.

No other forest of the night, no other wilderness than ours.

Ours no longer being the lonesome prairie's desolation but the spiritual desolation of men and women made incapable of using themselves for anything more satisfying than the promotion of chewing gum, a goo with a special ingredient or some detergent eer-urgent.


The tiger-pit of loneliness out of which there is no climbing. Alone at last with his little pile, the weary years in and the weary years out haven't brought him a thing he wanted in his heart. It was only that which he was taught he was supposed to desire that he now owns so uselessly.
Not sure why I decided to post the above excerpt. Not feeling particularly lonely or anything, in case you are worried. :)

Customary second link for the post: Paris Review interview with Algren.

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