Marginalia, no.198

Coma is for the living.

~ Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

I was tempted to misread the word as “comma,” because if periods are for the dead then commas, too, are for the living. But then the ancient Romans (all of them quite dead) cared little for punctuation of any kind, even when they were alive. Nor did they believe in a lower case. No truly heroic society will rely on such things. Some days, therefore, I expect a sudden apocalypse, other days a long byzantine coma. Today we had a small earthquake. A sorry rain is falling, barely enough to speckle the street and raise a whiff of oil and dust. I’m sleepy and can’t seem to keep my spinal column straight: my head bobs forward like a bowling ball held up by a sapling. I feel myself slipping into a comma.


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