Crevass and fold

The Eternal City resembles a gigantic old brain that long ago gave up any interest in the world–it being too graspable a proposition–and settled for its own crevasses and folds. Negotiating their narrows, where even a thought about yourself is too cumbersome, or their expanses, where the concept of the universe itself appears puny, you feel like a worn-out needle shuffling the grooves of a vast record–to the center and back–extracting with your soles the tune that the days of yore hum to the present…History is not a discipline but something that is not yours–which is the main definition of beauty. Hence, the sentiment, for it is not going to love you back. It is a one-way affair, and you recognize its platonic nature in this city instantly. The closer you get to the object of your desire, the more marble or bronze it gets, as the natives’ fabled profiles scatter around like animated coins escaped from some broken terra-cotta jar

– Joseph Brodsky. On Grief and Reason: Essays. FSG, 1995


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