Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Grand Piano -- Holloway Reading Series

This Friday, November 18, at 6:30 The Grand Piano will be read at the Holloway Reading Series at Cal Berkeley in 315 Wheeler Hall, the Maude Fife Room. The Grand Piano is "AN EXPERIMENT IN COLLECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY ... a multi-volume, collaborative work centered on the rise of Language poetry in San Francisco in the second half of the 1970s." Should be a notable reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Breath Control"

Lately, I've been spending a some time on a random word generator site, WatchOut4Snakes, and have been using some of my lunches to try my hand at flash fiction. I find it a brilliant escape for a little while, which makes it fine for those products of my escapism that find egress themselves back into oblivion when I delete them. That said, a few seem worthy of this modest publishing:


Breath Control

When I was younger and the sky seemed larger, I was told that the wind was alive. That the breezes and currents and gusts were the world’s breath and as such were what animated all of us. I liked this idea because of the slight dissonance it caused: I knew I was not my little brother or neighborhood friend but if the wind was everywhere and animating everybody then how were we different? I spent a lot of time as a kid holding my breath trying to figure out who I was.

I got pretty good at it. At first, I could only hold it for a minute, but after months of practice, I could last over three minutes. I’ve heard that some magician held his for 17 minutes, which impressed me but also made me wonder if he was searching for himself as well. At some point I stopped practicing, and forgot all about the winds—though I always loved windy days, the way that autumn leaves go crazy and how trees seem suddenly to be more alive than you recall.

My mother was the one who told me about the wind. When I heard that she was gone, it was pretty late. I got the call, cried, told my wife, made arrangements, and finally went to bed. I woke up when it was still dark; the house was still and I could hear the wind right past the windows. I wanted the wind to crack its cheeks, for branches to break from trees, to hear her in the world.

The moon was covered with dark clouds so the hills surrounding my house were great black giants hunched over, the oak to the west of the house was swaying and twitching like it was going to take a step, like everything was on a cusp, was holding its breath. I realized that I should stop. I opened my mouth wide so the wind, the night, everything rushed in and I knew she had been right.


Oh yeah! If any are very determined, November is National Novel Writing Month, and there is still time to get going! Read more here: