My enemies used to annoy the hell out of me with their fake cheerfulness, their pathetic need to be liked, or their drive to dominate every conversation. And I would stand there and let them do it to me. That was my way of being, and I couldn’t change it any more than a boy can recover his innocence after the invention of sex. Nature was a goddess, and I was her slave. That was how I reasoned. But in those days I was reading Rousseau, who put the craziest notions in my head, and I memorized them, bowing to my fate as to an audience clapping its hands after the play.
No more Rousseau. From now on I will recite sonnets to girls seen in the street, and on the subway I will recognize the signs of desire in her eyes still sleepy with last night’s dream, and in the evening I shall lift a glass and arrange for the ex-partners to embrace after years of bickering: They shall be happy, and I shall cross the little bridge east into the Bronx on 207th Street or the one going north on 215th Street and I will visit her at night, every night. Greater than opium or German philosophy to Coleridge will the scent of her being be to me.