Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Brad Rose: Three Poems

Lip Reading

It’s a voluminous day, the lightning fragrant as rose petals in pink rain. I’m in the basement, growling. It’s too noisy to nap. On the plus side, today, I’ve only got little veins in my head. Why, I wonder, is the sky such an accident? Melinda says I have a nervous tic, but I tell her it’s probably just six of one, a half dozen of the other. She says, You can never be too careful, Wolfie. Since she quit her job at Marky G’s dance studio, it’s been nice to have her around the house, especially when she’s unarmed.  Hey, did you hear those explosions yesterday on Old School St.? At least there were no shots fired. I’ve always said that sooner or later, something like that was bound to happen. Me and Melinda offered to help, but there were already so many innocent bystanders. A couple of months ago, I saw the school principal coming out of the 4 Aces Motel.  It was about 11 PM.  ­­­­­­He didn’t look too sleepy to me. I guess education is good for everyone. You know how they say it’s really quiet in heaven? Nobody speaks, and God just reads everybody’s lips. It’s like everybody’s confessing a secret they don’t know they have. Can’t be sure yet, but I think that’s how it works.


How Do You Do, Mr. Snake?

In less than 100 million years, Saturn will lose its rings. You’re going to love it, although I have no idea what an ice breaker breaks when there’s no ice. Say, what day of the week do you suppose it is in hell? Everybody’s been so busy kissing themselves, my lips are chapped. Of course, it’s not a crime to enjoy yourself every once in a while. Now that it’s the weekend, the dead are off the clock, so they’re sleeping late. And who can blame them? They’re beside themselves with excitement. Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse, I’m doing disguised impressions of myself. Sometimes you’ve just got to fool yourself into thinking you’re not somebody else. At my birthday party, my next of kin, Little Knuckles, said torture is most enjoyed when it’s least remembered. Then an angry Serpent jumped out of the cake and barked, Bring me diamonds more beautiful than God.  It was a lovely day. The sun shone bright and the trees relaxed in the casual breeze. I was more polite than usual to the animals.


Nothing but the Truth

Spent the morning shooting messengers.  It was like the big time in miniature. Rolled the windows down, let my accidental haircut blow in the scattershot wind. Made a beeline and stopped at the store—a really big store surrounded by a parking lot. Bought a vowel and some facts. Gotta love the data. The boss says I’m not a team player. I’m only half-qualified, but I can bench press a ton. Even on weekdays, I’m my own mobile home. You could be too, with a little practice. Mona said I’m beautiful, but it could kill me. Damn, if she wasn’t right. Nearly totaled the car around Portland. No, not that Portland. Was watching the invisible motion of still objects. You probably wonder why? You know me, I’m not the pretend kind. All those black wires snaking into my brain. I wouldn’t lie to you. I like pulling the trigger.


cover of de/tonations by Brad Rose
de/tonations by Brad Rose

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