Three Poems by Brad Rose

Read More: A brief Q&A with Brad Rose

My People

You know, the whole kit and caboodle. Like big, lousy fun. Say, could you pass me that cocktail? I love the little red umbrella. Can you eat the leaves? Yesterday, I felt sad as a birthday party everybody forgot to attend. To make up for it, I bought a book about snakes. The poisonous ones, mainly. I’m reading it out loud. No, no problem, as long as it doesn’t wake the dogs. Been listening to a lot of airport dance music, too. Overall, it’s pretty invisible, although I hate those gigantic notes. Who are they kidding? Steampunk wasn’t invented in the Ice Age. Remember the time that guy mistakenly shot my cousin, Billy, in the back? Thought Billy was somebody else. And he was. Remember? It happened down at the Sugar Shack. In one side and clean out the other. Just missed his heart. Billy was in the hospital for a better part of a year. Nearly the whole town visited him, even my kissy, kissy ex and her big, smiling-sonofabitch-banker husband. Before his accident, Billy sure could drive a truck. Liked long-haul because he liked to be alone whenever he was awake. When I asked him why he still drinks at the Sugar Shack, his face got sad and sloppy as a lost bloodhound’s, and he said, Too crowded at the Peanut House.

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A Blast

Yesterday on Green St. I saw an ambulance parked outside the funeral home. Picking up or dropping off? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the journey from the destination. Everybody needs to live two lives at once, even if they’re downsizing. I have the damndest time trying to remember my neighbors’ dreams. You know how it is. Of course, it doesn’t matter, when there’s nobody at home. Who says a dynamite tree doesn’t know how to have a good time? Don’t let the exploding fruit fool you. I was just in the Midwest with my other wife trying to square the crop circles. It’s always fun to celebrate cowboy and Indian summer, although the best thing about Nebraska is that it’s easier there to receive the secret transmissions. A lot easier than Kansas. Naturally, beggars can’t be choosers, but I don’t understand why my brother refuses to leave his screaming kids with me for the weekend. Nothing says family like the 4th of July. If those little monsters wouldn’t snuff out the glittering fuse, I know they’d have a blast.

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Suburban Landscape (with Flying Saucer)

In the Great Big Picture Book of Lies my picture doesn’t look like me. Recovering from a Lego injury, I’m wearing my mild socks. Mine is not a smile, but a simper. I’m not pushing the envelope, I’m an actor played by a husband. Sure, the kids are sober and the chimney has stopped smoking, but I look like an estranged taxidermist working remotely from a rental doomsday bunker in the Catskills. Clarise is mad at me, as usual. The car won’t start. The house plants have died on my watch. The cat, emulating the parrot, imitating the dog, has begun barking. Sitting in the back yard now, as far away from the unpaid bills as is humanly possible to be and still reside at this address, I’m wondering if Michelangelo had had a dog, would he, Michelangelo, that is, have painted the Sistine Chapel or settled for linoleum? I have a life-long student debt, whose associated student escapades have placed me on the fast-track, in slow motion. I think we have termites. At night I can hear them chewing. The roof leaks when it’s not raining. The washing machine refuses to rinse. Last week, I heard about a UFO crash on the edge of town. The mayor assures us it’s nothing serious, but what does he know about interstellar debris? There are no signs of intelligent life in his administration. The museum closed, the schools are sub-par, the sub-flooring is optimal, and the overhead is killing me. Yesterday, when Jack came over, I hardly recognized his car, it was so clean. Ours is a moon vehicle covered in both brown dust and red rust—the earthy colors of an alien planet. Janine wants horseback riding lessons. She thinks Equestrian will look good on her college applications. Her sister is studying internet dating. I hate the neighbors, except for Michelle, the cute one, hemmed in on our cul de sac. She smiles at me like I’m not married. If I were to be fired from my current management-manqué job, it would be a celebratory disaster. I’m reading about how to become a change agent in a cashless economy. I’m afraid I’m coming up short. My pajamas are floral hectogons in a brilliant shade of jungle puce. When I drink, I see wires. I’m dieting exclusively on chocolate cake. Yes, we have roses growing along our white picket fence, but I don’t understand the transmigration of souls. When the police arrive at our front door, I assure them I was nowhere near the scene of the crash, but inform them that ever since, Clarise has been acting a little funny. With his tentacle-like hand on his holstered firearm, the younger cop—the one whose face is slightly inhuman—tells me to put my hands over my head and that he knows the name of a good lawyer. It’s his brother. He’s new in town, he tells me, and doesn’t yet have any reputation, to speak of.


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Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Boston. He is the author of three collections of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015), de/tonations (Nixes Mate Press, 2020), and Momentary Turbulence (Cervena Barva Press, 2020). His fourth collection, WordinEdgeWise, is forthcoming in 2021 from Cervena Barva Press. Five times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and twice nominated for Best of the Net Anthology, his poetry and micro fiction have appeared in, The Los Angeles Times, The American Journal of Poetry, Clockhouse, Hunger Mountain, Sequestrum, Folio, decomP, Lunch Ticket, 45th Parallel, The Baltimore Review, Cultural Weekly, Into the Void, Miracle Monocle, Right Hand Pointing, and other publications. His story, “Desert Motel,” appears in the anthology Best Microfiction, 2019. Brad’s website is: www.bradrosepoetry.com Selected readings can be heard at http://bradrosepoetry.com/audio-readings/ A list of publications is available at: http://bradrosepoetry.com/2019/03/a-list-of-publications/

Read More: A brief Q&A with Brad Rose