On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
41,885 ratings, 4.07 average rating, 6,484 reviews
Open Preview
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Quotes Showing 1-30 of 219
“They say nothing lasts forever but they're just scared it will last longer than they can love it.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“You once told me that the human eye is god's loneliest creation. How so much of the world passes through the pupil and still it holds nothing. The eye, alone in its socket, doesn't even know there's another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“I am writing because they told me to never start a sentence with because. But I wasn't trying to make a sentence—I was trying to break free. Because freedom, I am told, is nothing but the distance between the hunter and its prey.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Too much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“I miss you more than I remember you.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you've been ruined.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Did you know people get rich off of sadness? I want to meet the millionaire of American sadness. I want to look him in the eye, shake his hand, and say, 'it's been an honor to serve my country.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“We try to preserve life, even when we know it has no chance of enduring its body. We feed it, keep it comfortable, bathe it, medicate it, caress it, even sing to it. We tend to these basic functions not because we are brave or selfless but because, like breath, it is the most fundamental act of our species: to sustain the body until time leaves it behind.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Is that what art is? To be touched thinking what we feel is ours when, in the end, it was someone else, in longing, who finds us?”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Remember: The rules, like streets, can only take you to known places.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“All freedom is relative—you know too well—and sometimes it’s no freedom at all, but simply the cage widening far away from you, the bars abstracted with distance but still there, as when they “free” wild animals into nature preserves only to contain them yet again by larger borders. But I took it anyway, that widening. Because sometimes not seeing the bars is enough”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Let no one mistake us for the fruit of violence - but that violence, having passed through the fruit, failed to spoil it.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“What were you before you met me?"
"I think I was drowning"
"And what are you now?"
"Water”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“To be a monster is to be a hybrid signal, a lighthouse: both shelter and warning at once.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“I am thinking of beauty again, how some things are hunted because we have deemed them beautiful. If, relative to the history of our planet, an individual life is so short, a blink, as they say, then to be gorgeous, even from the day you're born to the day you die, is to be gorgeous only briefly.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“The truth is we can survive our lives, but not our skin. But you know this already.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Migration can be triggered by the angle of sunlight, indicating a change in the season, temperature, plant life, and food supply. Female monarchs lay eggs along the route. Every history has more than one thread, each thread a story of division. The journey takes four thousand eight hundred and thirty miles, more than the length of this country. The monarchs that fly south will not make it back north. Each departure, then, is final. Only their children return; only the future revisits the past.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Ma. You once told me that memory is a choice. But if you were god, you'd know it's a flood.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“A page, turning, is a wing lifted with no twin, and therefore no flight. And yet we are moved.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“In Vietnamese, the word for missing someone and remembering them is the same: nhớ. Sometimes, when you ask me over the phone, Có nhớ mẹ không? I flinch, thinking you meant, Do you remember me?

I miss you more than I remember you.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“I sit, with all my theories, metaphors, and equations, Shakespeare and Milton, Barthes, Du Fu, and Homer, masters of death who can’t, at last, teach me how to touch my dead.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“They will want you to succeed, but never more than them. They will write their names on your leash and call you necessary, call you urgent.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“They say nothing lasts forever and I’m writing you in the voice of an endangered species.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“All this time I told myself we were born from war—but I was wrong, Ma. We were born from beauty.
Let no one mistake us for the fruit of violence—but that violence, having passed through the fruit, failed to spoil it.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“But why can't the language for creativity be the language of regeneration? You killed that poem, we say. You're a killer. You came into that novel guns blazing. I am hammering this paragraph, I am banging them out, we say. I owned that workshop. I shut it down. I crushed them. We smashed the competition. I'm wrestling with the muse. The state, where people live, is a battleground state. The audience a target audience. "Good for you, man" a man once said to me at a party, "you're making a killing with poetry. You're knockin' em dead.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“No, sir, destruction is not necessary for art.” I said that, not because I was certain, but because I thought my saying it would help me believe it.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“Who will be lost in the story we tell ourselves? Who will be lost in ourselves? A story, after all, is a kind of swallowing. To open a mouth, in speech, is to leave only the bones, which remain untold.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
“The one good thing about national anthems is that we’re already on our feet, and therefore ready to run. The truth is one nation, under drugs, under drones.”
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8