Translated by Matvei Yankelevich and Simona Schneider
How easy it is for a person to get tangled up in insignificant things. You can walk for hours from the table to the wardrobe and from the wardrobe to the couch and never find a way out. You can even forget where you are and shoot arrows into some small cabinet on the wall. “Beware, cabinet!” you can yell at it. “I’ll get you!” Or you can lie down on the floor and examine the dust. There is inspiration in this, too. It’s best to do it on a schedule, in conformity with time. Although it’s difficult to determine the time limit, for what are the time limits of dust?
It’s even better to gaze into a tub of water. To look at water is always good for you and edifying. Even if you can’t see anything in it, it’s still good. We looked at the water and saw nothing in it, and soon we got bored. But we comforted ourselves that still we had done a good deed. We counted on our fingers. But what were we counting—we didn’t know; for is water in any way countable?
Daniil Kharms was barely published in his lifetime, though he was well-known for his nontraditional public readings and other performances. Recent English translations of his work include Incidences (Serpent’s Tail) and The Blue Notebook (Ugly Duckling Presse).
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