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More years pass and the book does not leave the drawer.

According to our author the book does not begin but opens on

a typewriter near a radiator. The typing machine has been

aimed at the window overlooking a park. It's been oiled and

blown out. At heart it is domestic as an old washer with them

white sheets coming off the platen. In the missing teeth much

has been suppressed. In the space and a half, regrettable things

have been said. Nothing can be taken back. The author wanted

this book to be friendly, to say, Come up on the porch with

me, I've got peaches; I don't mind if you smoke. It would be written

in the author's own voice. A dedication was planned to

Tyrone and Tina whose names the author read in a sidewalk on

Broad. The machine's vocation was to type, but its avocation

was to tell everyone up before light, I love you, I always will; to

tell the sisters waiting on their amniocenteses, Everything's

going to be fine. And to make something happen for the

hundreds of Floridians betting the quinella. It would have

dinner ready for people on their feet twelve house a day. And

something else for the ones making bread hand over fist, the

gouging s-o-bs. But the book was too dependent. Women were

scattered across pages who loved the desert, but moved into

town to meet a man. The women, understand, weren't getting

any younger. Some of these women were pecking notes into the

text when the author was out walking. One note said: John Lee

you're still in my dreambooks, et cetera. The author had no

foresight. In previous drafts the good died right off like notes

on an acoustic guitar. Others died of money, that is, fell of

odorless, invisible, utterly quiet wounds. The work recorded

whatever it heard: dog gnawing its rump, the stove's clock, man

next door taking out his cans, and things that went on farther

down, below buildings and composts, all with the patience of a

dumb beast chewing grass, with the inconsolable eyes of the

herd. Basically the book was intended as a hair-raising

document of the organisms. Thus and so the book opens: I have

been meaning to write you for a long long time. I've been

feeling so blue John Lee.

The Next to Last Draft

C. D. Wright

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