Monday, April 2, 2018

Jungle of Cities

Some favorite quotes from Bertolt Brecht's Jungle of Cities

Shlink:  The people in your street feel sorry for you.
Galga:  I can't go and gun down the whole goddamn street.

Shlink:  And on this morning, which isn't just like any other, I declare war on you!  I'll begin the fight by shaking the foundations of your life.

Garga:  May I ask you to provide me with better linen, Mr. Maynes. You can't start a whorehouse on five dollars a week.

The Worm:  So that's what they are, books?  A slimy business.  Why have them at all?  There're enough lies in the world as it is.

The Worm:  Books!  What's the use of them?  Did libraries stop the San Francisco earthquake?

Garga:  What are you trying to do, start a frontier town all over again?  Knives?  Guns?  Cocktails?

Garga:  ...let's go away, together.  To San Fransisco, wherever you want to go. I don't know if a man can stay in love forever, but listen, I promise you this:  I'll stay with you.  

Shlink:  As you please.  I only ask you to consider the conditions on this planet, and to accept my offer.

Garga:  What I like is drinking, making love and smoking, all at once, a couple of weeks at a time.
Shlink:  No doubt you'll spare a couple of moments to leaf through a dictionary, too...

Garga:  It's you who started all this frontier business.  I say, all right--let's have it that wild and woolly...
Shlink:  So you're really joining battle?
Garga:  Yes, I am..
Shlink:  You don't even want to know what it is all about?
Garga:  I don't even want to know what it is all about...For me it's enough to know that you think you're the tougher guy.

The Baboon:  Man, I'd rather work with a razor than with crooked papers.  And don't forget, Chicago's a cold place!

Shlink:  All right, you go.
Skinny:  Go?  I've been sitting here in your office for twenty years, come April...
Shlink:  You've been fired.

Garga:  Listen, my dear mother, isn't it plain to see?  Nothing is going to last long anymore, nothing, not the stove and not the wall either.

Mae:  I don't want you to look at me like that--I gave you birth, and I fed you with my milk, and later with bread, and I beat you, and you can't look at me like that.

Manky:  Well...All I say is:  When I take my brig into port, I know how deep the water is.
John:  Can't trust anybody.  

Shlink:  I'm a simple man:  don't expect any words out of my mouth.  All I have in my mouth is my teeth.

Shlink:  We, for our part, we had a cat we could murder, bit by bit:  She drowned while we were teaching her to swim--although she'd been saving us from getting eaten by the rats.

The Worm:  That kid, the wind must've blown him to dust--there isn't a trace of him in all of Chi.

Marie:  Now Chicago awakens, with the milkmen shouting and the meat trucks rumbling through the streets, with the newspapers, with the fresh morning air.  To go away would be a good thing, and to wash yourself in water is good--and prairie or asphalt, both yield a harvest.  Just now, for instance, there's a cool wind rising down there in the flat country where we used to live;  I'm sure of that.

Jane:  Oh, when I float away it is in two parts, each going its own way.

Jane:  Where's he gone?
The Baboon:  Gone to study the faces of those who are getting out of this down--who find it too tough here, you know.

The Worm:  And there's nothing so papery as real life!

Garga:  Stay here, Marie.  We've been marooned in this city, with our country faces.

Shlink:  What a miserable thing life is:  you're living in clover, only the clover isn't good enough.

Garga: You turn members of my family into resources, you live off my supply.  And I'm getting leaner and leaner, I'm drifting away into metaphysics!

Shlink:  You only realize the worth of your affections when their objects lie in the morgue.

Shlink:  It's a straightforward business transaction, no one has to say thanks.

Shlink:  My congratulations, Garga.  You're a revengeful man.

Garga:  I'm sorry, Shlink, there's no chair for you just now.  We're one chair short.

John:  That you'd end up behind bars, well, I guess it was plain as writing on your forehead when you were five years old.

The Worm:  Just consider life on this planet:  A man doesn't get finished off at once, ever--they want to have a least a hundred goes at him!

Jane:  ...people aren't as simple as you think, George, even when they're almost dead and buried.

The Worm:  Maybe you've already noticed:  There's a family here, or rather, the remnants of a family.

Salvation Army Officer:  People are durable, that's their main trouble.  They can do too much to themselves, they last too long.

Garga:  I'm sorry, but you're asking me for a favor at a most unfavorable hour.

Garga:  And now, as the end draws near,  you've become a victim to the black addiction of this planet:   You want to touch others.

Garga:  And the time has passed quickly.  The stations of life are not the same as those of memory.   The end is not the final aim:  The last installment is no more important than any other.

Shlink:  But the coupling of organs...doesn't make up for the divisions caused by speech.

Shlink:  If you cram a ship's hold full of human bodies, so it almost bursts--there will be such loneliness in that ship that they'll all freeze to death.

Garga:  Well, yes, maybe I am a leper, but what's it matter.  You're a suicide.  What do you have to offer me?  You hired me all right, but you haven't paid.

Shlink:  I, Wang Yen, known as Shlink, fifty-four years of age, ended three miles south of Chicago, leaving no inheritors.

Marie:  Go away.  He has just died.  He doesn't want anyone to look at him.  

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