from Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Well, often I did unpremeditated things in those days, as I have said. Once, from the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome, for no reason except that I had come upon a Volkswagen van full of them, I let hundreds and hundreds of tennis balls bounce one after the other to the bottom, every which way possible.

Watching how they struck tiny irrgularities or worn spots in the stone, and changed direction, or guessing how far across the piazza down below each one of them would go.

Several of them bounced catty-corner and struck the house where John Keats died, in fact.

There is a plaque on the house, stating that John Keats died there.

The plaque is in Italian, naturally. Giovanni Keats, it calls him.

– David Markson. Wittgenstein’s Mistress. Dalkey Archive Press, 1988


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