Brian Andreas calls his small pieces of writing stories, not poems, and I think he’s probably right. All the same, they have much of poetry about them: the vividness of tiny moments so specific that they turn out to feel universal. Many of his stories have an air of fantasy, including people flying, strange creatures, and generally magical realism. In looking him up for this post I discovered that he’s become successful enough for his empire to expand into all sorts of feel-good products that may possibly verge into platitudinous schlock. But I have found many of his earliest pieces to be delightfully quirky, surprising, poetic, and mostly true. Here are a few of my favorite stories celebrating the imagination.
We lay there & looked up at the night sky
& she told me about stars called blue squares & red swirls & I told her I’d never heard of them.
Of course not, she said,
the really important stuff they never tell you.
You have to imagine it on your own.
O no, she said, you can’t say just any old thing to the Wind. Only the Deepest Secrets will do.
& also you must not use the letter i
I have always thought that stars turn into white birds in the morning light & sleep with their heads under their wings until the dusk begins to walk through the streets.
[Picture: cover art, relief block print by Brian Andreas for Still Mostly True, 1994.]
(All three stories from Mostly True: Collected Stories & Drawings by Brian Andreas, 1993.)