It is, we are told, forbidden to worship false gods. But surely it's just as sinful to fail to recognize the real ones when you see them. What if you should happen to find yourself in the enviable position of sitting at your kitchen table with two as yet unopened books--one by Peter Carey and one by Billy Collins? And what if, within minutes, it is clear to you that worship is really the only appropriate verb to apply to the situation? That were you to begin at the beginning: to admire, to appreciate, to would find most verbs simply inadequate to the task. You might as well skip ahead to "w" perhaps pausing at "v" to venerate.

Maybe there is a simple way out of the theological quagmire. Maybe they are the one true God--two parts of the Trinity. Billy, the Son, making it look human scale and decidedly easy (which Jesus would be the first to tell you, it is not) and Peter, the Father, making it look magnificently impossible. Perhaps the Holy Spirit just moves between the two of them. Or maybe I am the Holy Spirit. And you. And every reader who finds, bounding from phrase to delightful phrase, that it is suddenly 4pm and she is still in her nightgown.

From Parrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey

"[It] was one of those dazzling machines that are initially mocked for their impracticality until, all in a great rush, like an Italian footman falling down a staircase, they arrive in front of us, unavoidably real and extraordinarily useful."

From horoscopes for the dead by Billy Collins


The woman who wrote from Phoenix
after my reading there

to tell me they were still talking about it

just wrote again
to tell me that they had stopped.