Poetica

Scott Garson
American Gymnopedies
Cow Heavy Books, 2010

Wigleaf literary journal publisher Scott Garson has written a book of flash fiction, American Gymnopedies (Cow Heavy Books). In minute detail, Garson writes of “windblown drizzle,” bringing his unique gifts of perception to the page. Resounding an unabashed honesty, an intimate vulnerability, we find a generous drafting. “I’d be a rich man if I could seize the molecules that skate my eyes in this infected light,” Garson writes.

From Manhattan: “That jukebox is an actual wishing well. I’m dancing. Our quarter has rounded the bend. I’m floating in cigarette ash.”

Awarded for his fiction from Playboy Magazine and published in many journals, Garson brings some of the pieces in the collection from other forums. “Buffalo,” one of the most memorable pieces, ran singularly in Buffalo ArtVoice in 2009. It is a narrative nearly every artist can recall. It is a man finding other work to support his art:

I hadn’t planned on coming back. When I did, I found work in a call center…If I wasn’t needed—the work was irregular—I’d walk home, or where I was staying. I was staying with a friend. His apartment was unadorned, and too hot for some reason or other, so I’d open a window. I’d watch the icicles drip through the fingery warp of the heat… “Who are you?” I said aloud at the corner of Ashland and Summer Street. I kicked the U.S. mailbox there, but the coat of snow didn’t fall off.

In Garson’s pain, we are comforted, not only in literal commiseration but in the warmth he is able to draw to the page, honey siphoned. “I’ll sing for my nameless compatriots here at the coin laundry on 21st Avenue. I’ll sing for your ship, wherever it’s headed, and for the word my chords will someday spell, and for each of the sharpened colors in the whirl of a tearful eye.”

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