Bill Lavender



1 (Apostrophe)


I have-- well, had-- a friend who claimed the only effect LSD had on him was to make him unsure whether his eyes were open or closed-- as if what the drug did was tear down the wall around the self and expose the synaethesthetic being to the world. Fowlie-- and who can blame him, an entire generation taught to reduce everything to psychology, the science of the walled-up self-- says you mistook your own childhood for the golden age of history. What you learned in the school of happiness may have only lasted a tenth of a second, but I would never want to translate you or anyone else, though just to do the magical study so far as I have I had to cloister myself a little. The night you wrote "O Saison" I was out riding motorcycles with friends and we turned off the road into a vineyard (this was in Arkansas believe it or not) and parked under the stars and ate grapes and smoked dope. Like you, we were happy. We didn't know it, of course; you never know it when you actually have the thing no matter how you study, except maybe on acid you might get that double drift, close your eyes and nothing changes.



2 (Life of X: timeline)


i is someone else

arrested as i got off the train for not having a centime

i am not sending you any stories... it costs too much!

you will have forced me to sell all your clothes

i will soon have a job and i am already working enough to live, though in a small way

i am paid by the month, 150 francs, i believe

if this happens, i will earn a good recommendation... and put aside a few hundred francs

Album of Forest and Farm Sawmills, in English

The Pocket Book of the Carpenter

by now i am very well versed in the coffee trade

i am the only employee and everything goes through me

moreover, i have about 200 francs in cash

Construction in Metal, by Monde, priced at 10 francs

Bottin, Paris et Etranger (telephone book)

Dictionary of Engineering military and civil, priced at 15 francs

Plaisanteries, jeux de mots, in Arabic

if i wish, i will quickly earn back the 2000 francs that this cost me

one of these photographs shows me standing on a terrace of the house; another, standing in a café garden; another, with my arms crossed in a banana garden

the agency at Harar, which i directed, is closed

since no one here can be trusted, i have to keep my savings on me and keep a constant eye on it

i still feel pretty well in this filthy country

i also buy many other things: gum, incense, ostrich plumes, ivory, dried leather, cloves, etc., etc.

Dictionary of Commerce and Navigation of Guillaumin

don't think i have become a slave merchant. the merchandise we import is rifles

if my associate had not died, i would have earned about thirty thousand francs

i continually carry about in my belt sixteen thousand and a few hundred francs in gold; it weighs about eight kilos and gives me dysentery

could i come home to you and get married next spring

i would leave here, and believe that the intense heat of Aden would do me good, but i am owed a great deal of money

after the deal is closed i will have about 35 thousand francs

i had to enter the Hospital of the Conception, where i pay 10 francs a day, doctors included

i have money on my person i can't even take care of

why do we exist



3 (etude)


circular manifestations concatenate

below ground and above the aether

exemplifications caught signing to each other

immemorial plaques relentless melting in conflagration

in end-of-millenium inward invisible latin storms

gray vowels captured bluejay blue rupture seamless

mottle of daylight and writing

carrying text to market in wheelbarrows

gray bread rag flour wormwood in water this stone

bringeth sleep to fish-signs in early winter waiting

out the viral thaw beyond organism in centered

houses of dream cardboard dwellers in concrete

island road-soot chateau(x) of lugubrious harmonies

where the cock crew croaked

sapping weakness from wordless webbing

of what stares back from the opaque

face of time not circular not skew

chord of infinite sustain

of infinite


our house dead nameless brother

rainbow of sound



October, 1999