The Democratic State

[from Notes on Democracy, 1926, by H. L. Mencken] The American people, true enough, are sheep. Worse, they are donkeys. Yet worse, to borrow from their own dialect, they are goats. They are thus constantly bamboozled and exploited by small minorities of their own number, by determined and ambitious individuals, and even by exterior groups.…

Most People Can’t Fulfill Their Monstrousness

“One is called upon to approach and realize and complete the monstrousness, and everyone has some such enormity in his life, or else to be destroyed by this monstrousness even before one has entered into it. In this way people always tend to waver at a certain point in their lives, and always at the…

The Ginger Man

“For women are lonely people, lonelier with women and with men, enclosed by sunless children and the little vanishing things that go away during the years waiting. And hearts. And how love was so round. If There’s a bell In Dingle And you want to say How sorry you are I’m gone Ring it And…

Each of Us an Industry of Looking

At the Beach This Morning There we were, Penelope, my Border Collie mix, and I, one godless the other faithful, observing the fiery orange at the left side of the horizon, no bigger than my thumb, say, shy in profile, exhausting another of its ration of daybreaks, while off to the far right the ghostly…

For the sake of a single poem

Poems amount to so little when you write them to early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people…

I Don’t Want to Understand You

“You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so…