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Peter Cherches reads from Autobiography Without Words

Pelekinesis has just published a new collection of short stories by Peter Cherches called Autobiography Without Words, which is a title I really like by the way. Peter reads several of these stories in the Vimeo below. I heard him read at Dixon Place in December of last year. They are charming, entertaining stories, very centering short short stories that often end with a smile bemused or sardonic, ironic or nostalgic, a perfect gift for any friend who will be able to read them anywhere. Even standing in line.

I typed out one of the stories called Compassion. It is the last story in the book of 82 short stories, and the last story Peter reads on the Vimeo. There is a flawless flowing to Peter’s prose, equal to the author’s reading, concise and sensible, surreal and congenial, where the past and the future live in the present and anything can happen, happy surprises in what would ordinarily be a mundane world.

I also typed out CODA, a poem at the end. It is a beautiful way to end a book.


A man who looked like my mother with a mustache told me I must be on the wrong line. Isn’t this the line for compassion? I asked. No this is the line for luncheon meat, he replied. Well, then, where is the line for compassion? I asked. Let me see, he said, I think the compassion line is down that way (he pointed), between mustard and indignation.
I started walking toward mustard and indignation, but I could find no compassion, as the line between mustard and indignation turned out to be the one for bird calls.
I asked the guy at the end of the bird call line if he knew where the compassion line was. I think I remember seeing it when I was heading over here, he said, let me think. Oh, yes, it’s over there (he pointed) just past incontinence. I really didn’t feel like passing incontinence, so I waited 45 minutes and then my turn came. I was given the Swainson’s Thrush. It was stunningly beautiful. As beautiful, I’d venture to say, as compassion.




Autobiography Without Words is published by Pelekinesis. Check them out:


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