My neighbor’s son, learning piano
moves his fingers through the passages
a single note at a time, each lasting an equal interval,
each of them loud, distinct,
deliberate as a camel’s walk through sand.
For him now, all is dispassion, a simple putting in place;
and so, giving equal weight to each mark in his folded-back book,
bending his head towards the difficult task,
he is like a soldier or a saint: blank-faced, and given wholly
to an obedience he does not need to understand.
He is even-handed, I think to myself,
and so, just. But in what we think of as music
there is no justice, nor in the evasive beauty of this boy,
glimpsed through his window across the lawn,
nor in what he will become, years from now, whatever he will become.
For now though, it is the same to him:
right note or wrong, he plays only for playing’s sake
through the late afternoon, through stumbling and error,
through children’s songs, Brahms, long-rehearsed, steady progressions,
as he learns the ancient laws—that human action is judgment,
each note struggling with the rest.
That justice lacking passion fails, betrays.
ZYZZYVA EventsJune 16, 2017
ZYZZYVA Big Dance Party & Annual Fundraiser
Location: 7 p.m., Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco
Description: A night of '80s & '90s dance music, emceed by Daniel Handler, and featuring DJ Teemoney. Silent auction, specially priced drinks, & special guests Caille Millner, Paul Yamazaki, and Ruth Madievsky. For tickets: http://zyzzyvadanceparty.brownpapertickets.com/July 15, 2017
Master Class Mixer: Literary Magazines with Laura Cogan
Location: 1 p.m., Mechanics Institute Board Room, 57 Post St., 4th Floor, San Francisco
Description: Three-hour class (sponsored by Litquake) with ZYZZYVA's editor covering the various aspects of getting work published in literary journals. Seating limited to 15 students, and concludes with reception. For ticket info: http://bit.ly/2pIsH9I
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