Olivier Cadiot

Excerpts from Future, Former, Fugitive (Roof Books, 2003)
translated by Cole Swensen



From The Shipwreck






In little pieces the blue morning
ends of sky suddenly blue
suddenly the sky entirely blue broad daylight
[wake up]

Black piece by tiny piece I am there in the alley ooo ooo
black blacker and blacker the circular vault
I am there etc. ( diagram : Me: X; the night: Y; the hedge: Z.)



Birds in a spiral the edge of the plains of
the birds amassed at the edge of spiral streams etc.
cacophanous piiii liri-liii
(response of all on the edge of)


The sound tak the sound tak the exotic sound frogs or
woodpecker or cicadas or termites the sound
the exotic sound and suddenly nothing. Suddenly: nothing. Silence.






From The Island 


4.                                                                                                                           THENEXTMORNING.

The next morning was like a Sunday (remember: The Days ***) a soft and luminous sensation with the light coming back into the house and the softness outside the sidewalk freshly washed by the sprinkler the coolness of the air mixed with sun that's the kind of day I love she'd always cry.

Ah just like me I replied and I sang:

Hallelujah -
the birds - click
the wings

and it stopped
and it started again

It's random - I told him - the stopping and starting of song but you'd never know it you'd say it's carefully arranged. Okay well that's just what I want to do it stops and it starts again and breaks up the time marvelously you can sit there and listen without doing a thing. Ah she said interested Ah Oh.

But on the island there was no one to tell this to and to enjoy things with (add here: My regrets) and there was nothing to do but to replay memories in your head and talk to yourself the rest of the time. Like Granny said in everything there's the good and the bad and she was right.

The skies change but not the soul Felix recited. Whatever you'd wanted to escape is precisely what you come back to. Intact.




24.                                                                                      WHY THINGS HAVEN'T CHANGED .

In the clearing a little below the freshwater lake I had found yellow flowers resembling carnations growing in abundance at the foot of a very tall tree resembling a cedar but with darker leaves and lower branches.

I had made an herbal guide by gluing leaves and unusual flowers into the unused pages of a large book I'd found in the boxes. I cut out the Latin names of the species they most resembled in order to find equivalents in form, color, or lineage between the species back there and the ones here.

It was morning oh and yes I wanted to make the most of it good legs good feet good eye swim run shoot walk.

Gooood Moooorning!
[I'm getting up I'm getting up]
Your dressing gown M'lord!
Sick! no it can't be true!
Ah I'm dying of laughter I'm suffocating

Black-blaaack-blackkk                                                               Raspy voice with sniffles .


Liquid that is at the level of that which contains it the water
darken flow disappear 

The ground flooded with water the ground eroded washed away
deposited by the waters the mud is bottomless
after the rain

 what gathers
Like certain cloth folds back on itself

 tends to open up beyond
while they're very deep

A device beneath the skin
The air he exhales
                                                                          the luminous animal
but lighter for flight

Action of wings flapping                                                                                                He mimes.
action of hands flapping
Wings movement movement of wings

What you're entirely missing is aim [I walked around the room with my arms crossed behind my back] yes! it's about finding what's lost.

And then on the metaphysical side it's NO.
What is really meant, for example, by "tends to open up beyond?"
It opens? It doesn't open? And why does it open and how etc. I want facts.

You mean disappointed? An opportunity missed? An object lost? Without recourse? Nothing more? Good-bye over finished? Is that it? Is that what you mean? Yes! All right
we've got to try something else.
We've got to try something else.

Silence. Clouds darken the sky the clouds have darkened the sky. Nothing more black. Birds turn in spirals along the wall the clouds have darkened the sky black silence. The clouds darken the sky. Wall. Motionless birds. Compact wind-swept silence. Black.


 37.                                                                                                                                                 APRIL.


I I feel strange things
this morning
yes really


Didn't you say something? but I heard "uh"

there's something on this island how can I put it strange I don't know exactly something that "hovers" you know up there

Nothing you're saying nothing so

Something that remains despite everything a feeling (because finally it's my life "to be there") the fear of passing the time of life itself

The fear that it corresponds exactly Ah that's my life

Oh yes that figures
it's the complete time of your life that you pass

Good answer: ok (at first)

and second: but why [groaning] why isn't this a time "apart" a time for nothing why? Get it: it's just like that .



38.                                                                                                            WHY I'M EXCAVATING .

One morning I'd recovered the stone arm discovered earlier in the forest (see: The Arm of Stone). Folded arm resembling the arm of a stone angel covered in blue and green moss. You don't find a stone arm without finding the rest pretty soon: religion? Corpse inversion? Ritual technique?

I'd prepared a museum for these objects: catacombs, anterooms, first room, south passage, colonnade, second room, corridor, etc. You could sit down behind a display window. You could see: stuffed birds, inscriptions, explanatory signs, the stone arm and other discoveries. You can conserve repair ameliorate. It was the "museum spirit" that led me to restoring these things. I had to repair them before displaying them specificite natura. Ex filia paritem meminans quaelle patria. Sicut principem morituri sagitte. Utinam vos et cujus indignes (must be punished) morituri (guilty of being dead) suspendis dies et caelus fuisse (suspended in the absent day?).





39.                                                                                                    ANOTHER STRANGE DREAM.

Mrs. Jones

Sir I'm so happy to see you
I'm certainly the happier of the two(you might think he's the meanest of the three but
no it's not true)

the window is open
(the door is too)
the rays -> the rays of light
clack of the doves


Sir I'm so happy to see you (he replies) I'm certainly the happier of the two.
Great! (he sings) what-gorgeous-weather

The next day
we went from one house to the next without finding anyone
Let them speak! I couldn't open the window
I cannot open the window
I cannot open the window

there'd be more fruit in our garden if there wasn't a wall here
I fall upon exactly what I need
you don't have to come here



The window is open
the door is too

I'm very happy to see you
I'm certainly the happier of the two

he arrived early and he closed all the windows

Ma ï dieur frennd, a ï challe nevveur forguette youre ka ï nndness and dj è nérosité

(I can't respond)

you are not woude you are notte stône'z
you are a m è nne

Mistir whoooo? She said checking me out from behind
her glasses
I wake up with a start.




42.                                                                                                  WHY I BECAME AN ARTIST.

Influenced by these literary people I decided to become an artist. Artist, o.k., yes! but how? No doubt the problems that I imagined at first were all the classic ones: how to represent the nature that surrounds me? How to render the shadow of a tree? How to render the shadow of a tree in a sun-lit field? And then: how to render the shadow of a tree in a sun-lit field with the sky reflecting the water which reflects in inverted color the field the way a wall can reflect a face? And I gave up.

How to represent dawn? How to represent dawn and its freshness the pure printed blue? How to represent dawn with its freshness the pure printed blue full of the strident singing of birds in flight the deep green hedges circling spiraling high ff-fff?

How to represent the pale line of the water and the line of grass? How to represent the pale line of the water and the line of aspirate undulating grasses articulated filaments? How to represent the pale line of the water and the line of aspirate undulating grasses articulated filaments?

How to represent the line of the grasses in the rapid freezing current running rapidly? How to represent the pale line of the water and the line of aspirate undulating grasses articulated filaments in the rapid freezing current running rapidly with the reflection of the pure imprinted blue sky with the strident singing of birds in flight the deep green hedges circling spiraling high ff-fff?



50.                                                                                                                                                    NIGHT.

I dreamed of the forest where I'd been that morning but larger darker and even more unknown. And I discovered a statue buried under a pile of leaves and dirt whose finger pointed toward a huge tree at the foot of which was buried a small metal box that I couldn't open.
12345678910 The combination? Impossible! and I woke up with a start

is patient (...) that
that can't end is
that which can'

no this that
or this
oh but oh you
speak what
that to say that

this that can'
this that cannot-

more nothing




51.                                                                                                                   NIGHT (CONTINUED).

The love he brought her was huge and dangerous
The love he brought her was huge and dangerous

The l-ove he br-ou-ght h-er w-as hu-ge and

It was storming outside rain wind

touch and kiss

here + like that + that

gust of wind through the pines

and she was content

and she laughed



52.                                                                                                                    NIGHT (CONTINUED).

More nothing
swirling through the night
bad words

to be more precise
weather or tumultuous

that turns to a torrent
painful as thinking
of a cliff

stops me
to my survival like stocking up
black shadow

middle of
flesh and blood
no one
no one
stretching out an arm 




57.                                                                                                                                   TO BE ENGRAVED.

you all the friends family & others disappeared
eternal regrets.

to x.
unknown friend impossible to find again

to the
of those who remain on high
July August September
think of you.

I miss you so much
taken from theirs before their time

his yours mine
parted forever
and ever and ever

the sacred and recovered
bones of the one
by whom was

ashes and fingers
on us
& shine.

so be it
and indefinitely calm
among beautiful things.