An Education in Lies

An Education in Lies by Matt Briggs When I returned from Basic Training, I started looking for classes to take in writing. I was just past the registration date for the University of Washington Experimental College where there was a short story class taught by Richard Berman, M.F.A. The title at the end of his name, tacked on like P.H.D. seemed to indicate a professional status as a writer, certification by a board that confirmed his abilities as a genuine writer, although I was unsure what it meant.
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Genre of Silence

Genre of Silence by Matt Briggs My Father and the Genre of Silence My father died in 2011 and left behind him a rebuilt red Chevy Super Impala convertible 1968, a couple of houses, and about a half dozen shoeboxes full of several thousand photographs of the Central Cascade mountains. I hadn’t spoken with my father for five years before his death. Even before even though my dad had a lot to say and said it, his conversation was hardly intimate or even interactive.
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Seattle is a Vortex

Seattle is a Vortex by Matt Briggs I often stumble into a new part of Seattle. The smell of freshly poured concrete and sprayed paint creates a sensation like vertigo, like standing on top of the Aurora Bridge, staring down into the ship canal and realizing I’m standing on a shell of asphalt and concrete and steel wrapping the wind and current and muck. I might stand on a Seattle street with crowds milling around me next to a ten-story structure.
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Pacific Highway South: Best American Strip City

Pacific Highway South: Best American Strip City by Matt Briggs Walking the Dog I live across the street from a swampy vacant lot. Cottonwoods grow on the lot’s margins, and around the lot there are houses, apartment buildings, highways. There are a lot of people who never see one another. A bird’s nest, empty most of the time except during the spring migration, clings to the cottonwood closest to my subdivision.
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Fred Is Dead

Fred Is Dead by Matt Briggs My uncle was obsessed with being alive to the point where he didn’t live at all. He filled a cardboard box with free verse, a landfill with green bottles and a tin urn with his ashes. When I was first aware of him, he was growing things out, weird like Howard Hughes. Uncle Fred decided to grow a whisker under his chin as long as it would grow.
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Flag Ceremony

Flag Ceremony by Matt Briggs Sometime after I had been in my Army basic training unit long enough, I knew how to polish my boots until the surface held a thin, buffed glaze richer than the spay-on polish applied by the Drill Sergeants. The aerosol shine left a mucous sheen still shiny even after trail dirt and field dust coated their heels. I knew how to take my time stripping down the excess, black Kiwi wax and then applying a light touch and buffing the leather with my brush.
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