Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Toby Barlow

“He was simply a coward. This was not a condemnation; she genuinely appreciated it about him. The truly craven were, in her eyes, nothing to despise; she had spent much of her life hiding with them, cowering in the dank, dark corners of root cellars, hiding up high in the branches of trees, or cringing below the putrid edges of half-full latrines, listening as pillaging troops and blood-lusting rioters tore apart their homes and villages. She remembered looking into the cowards quiet, knowing eyes as they huddled together, listening to the gunshots and the screams and then the receding din of the marching boots mixed with the clatter of looted spoils, all followed finally by the perfect silence of death. Cloaked there in that petrified darkness, crammed shoulder to shoulder with the breath of their fear on her neck, she learned that coward was often only another name for survivor.”

– Toby Barlow, Babayaga

“warriors
who have already chosen death
are always stronger than those
fighting to live.
You don’t fight for life,
you fight for victory,
two very different things.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“putting his shoulder
against his argument and pushing it forward as great leaders always do
sometimes to great ends,
other times simply to the end.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“This is a violent city
and I don’t mean rapes and bloodshed.
I mean the existence of every ounce of it.
This entire vast urbanity was bludgeoned from the earth,
torn and wrought,
piece by piece. A thousand bricks.
A thousand tiles.
The concrete and the steel girders
all bitten out of the soil and the rock.
Then, of course, it’s brought here,
to the desert, to death itself.
Not to mention the water, oh yes, the water
pilfered from hundreds of miles away,
where birds and tree roots awoke one bleak day
reaching for moisture once easily known,
and now finding only empty dust,
because that moisture’s all been pulled here, to be with us
shimmering in the sweat of porn stars
cleaning the endless stream of dirty cars
washing the hands of plastic surgeons.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“The heart is quite comfortable with secrets.
After all, its home is a dark wet place
tucked in among all the other organs
who aren’t talking either.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“We hand our lives –
our addresses, our letters, our numbers, our photos, our dreams –
to these dumb throbbing machines
as we become emptier, remembering less and less.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“the nightly news blows his mind,
it’s like watching the earth being skinned raw
every night at eleven.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth

“the bullet we’re running from
is never the one that hits us.”

– Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth