Richard Froude
from The History of Zero



Raised in a blue land, though paler lines ran through it. My poor, cold Beretta. Skin hung on a glass skeleton. How a name can itself be named.

Design finds virtue in its inevitability. Every breath a prototype, so that respiration becomes a creative act. Fear of flying. Fear of birds. These are not regrets, rather, interludes I have lived over and over.


High tides submerge the causeway. We steal food from fishermen, sleep under sackcloth in the lifeboat house. She feels something pulling at her. We are both familiar with gravity, his ability to escape blame. She wants to think of her life as a series of fluctuations. We try pacing our heartbeats with a seismograph.

Although there is nothing specific I can bring her, I am aware of a lack. She says this proves we are alive. There are procedures to atone for this, although many appear cosmetic.


She is mostly blank but Mays about her center in russet and gold. These are colors with histories. Colors of homecoming and October is homecoming in the sense that she can still find a gallon of milk for under a dollar. Of course it isn’t milk at all. This is the influence of gold, our dyslexic alchemy. Of course it isn’t a gallon because a gallon requires number and there is no number in October, only in its name.

We spend these days on straight roads and ignore the soil. We learn songs about the sun and recite them at rest stops. Some of our songs are only one or two syllables. In this way, we begin to differentiate between stops. So develops our geography as an assignment of music. Here, realism as the future of abstraction, the first notes of our nascent language.


The last Muslims are executed in Xante. Gone now are the Quakers, the Shakers, the Mormons, the Moonies, the Christians, the Jews, the Sikhs, the Scientologists, the Hindus, the Wiccans, the Buddhists, the Pagans, the Zoroastrians, the Satanists, the Monarchists, the Eroticists, all other organized religions. There is only Design, intelligent and otherwise.

Attempts to synchronize our dreams. A visible network of wires across the sky. She stands at the window and will not turn away. We will plant lilacs here, in the desert. We must adapt to a world without moisture. Amphetamines, barbiturates, nitrogen and dust.


Unity is truth. Beretta shits on this notion. She receives a telegram from her father. There are whispers of Zero in Kentucky, rumors of an underground city. I imagine the causeway but say nothing. Here, our two modes of immersion: water, loam.

Winter arrives as an awareness of our bodies. Now growing opaque, we must share our skin to keep warm. I calculate true north by the shade of her limbs. It is inevitable that Design will find the orphans.

The solstice passes quietly. Although many expire around us, their names remain.