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 EventsApril 7, 2017
2017 Library Laureates Benefit Gala
Location: 7 p.m., Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco
Description: Benefitting the SF Public Library, and featuring guests of honor Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Wiley, and other literary luminaries such as Rebecca Solnit, Karen Joy Fowler, Vanessa Hua, Soma Mei-Sheng Frazier, Gary Soto, and many more. More info about the event and tickets: http://bit.ly/2mq3Gz4April 17, 2017
In Conversation with Edie Meidav
Location: 7:30 p.m., The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., San Francisco
Description: Meidav, author of the novels "Lola, California," "The Far Field," and "Crawl Space," will be in conversation with Managing Editor Oscar Villalon about her new story collection, "Kingdom of the Young." Free. More info: http://bit.ly/2nxWOiMApril 22, 2017
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Location: 4:30 p.m., Hancock Foundation, Signing Area 1, University of Southern California
Description: Writing and Publishing: Breaking In & Then Some. Panel featuring the National Book Foundation's Lisa Lucas, agent Bonnie Nadell, & Managing Editor Oscar Villalon, moderated by agent Betsy Amster. Free. More info: http://sched.co/A1i5
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