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Sokrates to Krito (letter from prison) 

From Brick 105

Brick 105 cover

Dear Krito, dont come today. If you do, Ill have to pretend to be asleep or ashamed or explain why I sent my wife home. Tears are all about the weeper, arent they? My kid has more sense. She was here, took one look around, said, Its really damp in this place you need a hat, came back a half-hour later with that woolly cap you gave me last winter. I like practical people. My death is set for three days hence. Theres nothing you can do. But let me thank you for the hemlock. I know it wasnt cheap with the bribes and the taxwhy cant they just grow the stuff in this country?but God, its better than the other way, the so-called bloodless crucifixion, with the stakes and the iron collar. No one wants to see another person die like thatKrito, youd have nightmares for years. And I sort of like the idea of just numbing out. Ive been numb for years, according to my wifeit was the only way to bear heroh that was unkind. Ive been unkind for years, at home anyway. Funny how the worst self comes out there. My life is guys, you know that! Guys and drinking. Im a talker. I believe in talkrip the lids off! let all the cats out of all the bags!though most of what I say is just common sense. Do I frighten people? Claiming theres no back wall? Nothing between you and your heart of darkness? Or if there is, you cant pray to it, you cant write poems about it, you cant compete for its love. It smells of terrible plans and nonexistence. Sorry, dramatic. Speaking of terrible plans though, dont let Plato visit me today either. Hell start quoting stuff I said in the old days, I shudder to hear it. Or hell lecture me on The Law. Its not the law putting you to death, its the lawyers, hell say and Ill say, Nice distinction. Then hell go on about swans or gymnastics or who knows what, hell go on, go on, go onwhenever I talk to our dear Plato, I feel Im drifting into eternity. You know what I mean. Or maybe you dont. Youre an odd one, Krito. You look like Bob Dylan with your little gold eyes and your skinny arms. And you just love argumentsam I right? When did I stop caring about arguments? Because I did, I stopped. My mind is blank as bread. Maybe its the hum in here. That hummingdo you hear itIit in the walls or in my ears? Voices, voicesits there all the time, voices with no words. It drowns out every other sound. Remember the old days when theyplay Iggy Pop all night to break the prisoners down? That was when the war was on; the beast is dozing now. Anyway, if you were here, I might not be able to get what youre sayingon the other hand, beloved Krito, if you do come, can you bring another one of those woolly caps? I gave mine to the guard. He looked miserable. Its really damp in this place. 

Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living.

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