X tells me he sees his life as a number, perhaps an infinite number, of circles within circles. He’s somewhere inside the inner circle, he says, and reality is somewhere inside the outer circle. The intermediate circles, perhaps an infinite number of them, buffer him, distance him or keep him on the brink of reality, perhaps all at the same time, since the spaces between them may be vanishingly small or infinitely large, he doesn’t know. All his words and movements have to pass through these circles, he says, so that by the time they reach the outer circle there’s been a kind of lapse, a reverberation, the way the sound of a shout is buffeted across a windy street or the way an echo travels. That’s why when he moves his hand out to shake someone else’s he sometimes feels dizzy; he finds himself shaking hands and isn’t sure how long it’s been since he first started reaching out; it’s why he walks around in a kind of haze, he says, why people think he’s slow: he’s on a listing boat while others seem to walk on land.

2 responses to “Circles

  1. The difficulties (which other people surely find incredible) I have in speaking to people arise from the fact that my thinking, or rather the content of my consciousness, is entirely nebulous, that I remain undisturbed by this, so far as it concerns only myself, and am occasionally self-satisfied; yet conversation with people demands pointedness, solidity, and sustained coherence, qualities not to be found in me. No one will want to lie in clouds of mist with me, and even if someone did, I couldn’t expel the mist from my head; when two people come together it dissolves of itself and is nothing.

    — Kafka, Diaries

  2. Last News About The Little Box

    The little box which contains the world
    Fell in love with herself
    And conceived
    Still another little box

    The little box of the little box
    Also fell in love with herself
    And conceived
    Still another little box

    And so it went on forever

    The world from the little box
    Ought to be inside
    The last offspring of the little box

    But not one of the little boxes
    Inside the little box in love with herself
    Is the last one

    Let’s see you find the world now

    — Vasko Popa

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