Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Survival Notes. Adrian S. Potter

Survival Notes. Adrian S. Potter (Cervena Barva Press POBOX 440357 W. Somerville, Mass. 02144) $7.

Somerville’s Cervena Barva Press has published a collection of very short stories or flash fiction by Adrian Potter: “Survival Notes.” Potter is the winner of the 2003 Langston Hughes Poetry Contest and has numerous publication credits. Potter’s pieces have a raw edge to them. They take place for the most part in urban settings with angry male characters in the midst of existential crises. One story that peaked my interest in this collection was “Domestic Silence.” In this story, an unfortunate neighbor to a loud and argumentative couple, tracks the jazz music the abusive male in this unfortunate coupling plays to mute the loud protests of his many domestic brawls.

“ I’ve lived here for two years, long enough that I can determine the topic of their disputes by what record is playing. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” means that that the husband is releasing the frustration of financial woes onto her fragile ribcage. The swinging melodies of Duke Ellington are reserved for senseless shouting matches, the type of overreaction brought on by male jealousy. Electronic jazz-funk, like Herbie Hancock and the “Head Hunters,” is synonymous with the profanities and backhanded slaps that come from drinking binges. I don’t even have to explain the subtle irony when songs from Coltrane’s “ A Love Supreme” filter from underneath their doorway.”

I would like to see Potter develop more stories like this. He may be on to something.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Jan. 2008/ Somerville, Mass.

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