work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Key Satch(el), The Prose Poem: an International Journal,
and others. His work can also be found in anthologies such as The best of the Prose poem (White Pine Press)
and No Boundaries: Prose poems by 24 American Poets (Tupelo). He is the author of Love-in-idleness, which
won the Wahington Prize. Two books are forthcoming this year: Terrestrial Music (Curbstone), a poetry collection,
and War on Words, (Blaze Vox), a collection of correspondence with Tomaz Salamun. He has edited Atomic Ghost:
Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age, (coffee House) and Learning to Glow: A Nuclear Reader (University of Arizona
Press). Mr. Bradley has also received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.
The Man in the Flux
"There's something missing, some little
piece of the flux," said
the man in the flux.
"Maybe a tiny piece of you is what's missing," said
"Or maybe the missing piece is thinking right now that I'm
missing," said the man.
"Or maybe you're missing and yet not missing, just like me,"
said the flux, who was being sucked, even as it spoke,
back into the
The Wet Man Is Not Afraid of the Rain
He looks around him, behind
him, and then lowers his voice, so low I can
hardly hear him over the murmur in the restaurant. "The President," he
brushing away an invisible speck on the table, "has started eating
ants. Black ants at his desk in the Oval Office.
His doctors are
worried, but they're afraid to tell him to stop." "Why?" I wonder
aloud. "Because then he'd
do it secretly, and they'd have no idea how
many ants he's eating."
He's in the shower when they come for
him. He isn't surprised. He knew
they could hear everything he said, and probably what he thought.
let me wear my vest?" the naked man says, part question,
part demand, to the well-clothed men. No expression,
no reply from the
men in quiet suits who quietly handcuff him. "I've got a cold and I
need my vest." When
his escorts lead him out of his house, the local
news crew politely shoots the nude terrorist only from the waist up.
are your clothes?" shouts one reporter. "Did you contaminate
them?" "What sort of biotoxin were you preparing
in your shower?"
shouts another. "Ask the President," yells the naked man as he's hustled
into a waiting van.
"Ask him why he's eating black ants. Ask him why .
. . ."
"What's this story about a naked guy in Duluth
getting arrested when
he's in the shower?" the President asks. "A security risk, Mr.
says the President, brushing away an invisible
speck on his desk, "next time make sure they wrap a towel around his
parts before they let the press do their thing. A naked dude
don't look very, you know, terrorist-like." "Yes, Mr.
"And what's with all the ants on his chest?" the President says, bending
over the newspaper photo.
"Is he infected?" His assistant furrows his
brow: "We have reason to believe, sir, that he was training them
suicide attack ants. There's no telling what those wackos out there are
up to, Mr. President."
when the lab's done with them ants, have them brought to me.
Pronto. To, you know, interrogate 'em."
"And don't forget the tabasco."
Don't Blame the Chalk. I'd Rather Be Servicing Mr. & Mrs. Caulk
& Mrs. Caulk
take a short walk, come home, and seal their lips with white
thread. The weatherperson
feels a cocoon coming. "I feel so calm in
cotton," says someone you and I don't (yet) know. I've lost my globe,
black and tan one I've never owned. Gravity washes its transparent
hands. Mrs. Caulk, dropping the handwrought
ceramic bowl on her foot,
yowls, denaturing her and Mr. Caulk's oligarchic cat.
Mr. & Mrs. Caulk
make a frightful dog with a piece of chalk. I would not argue
while sipping slippery bark tea.
You can turn on some TVs while you're
not even home. Pleasure wears socks that sag below the ankles. The dog
Mrs. Caulk and she spites Mr. Caulk. You can see why I carry a
small monkey with a spare key. Guido tows a
howitzer made of balsa
wood. The dog chews on Bolivia and the Florida Keys.
goes about the house looking for Mrs. Caulk. A jar of black
olives can let you see in the dark. The
room whirls around so fast it
can't recall kiss or slap. "This must be the year of the sick sofa,"
says Mrs. Caulk.
Entropy makes me horny. I let Mrs. Caulk know I'm
wondering what's moldering below her cleanly feet, and she flips
garbage disposal so she can privately weep.
takes off her top on the
back porch as it's too hot and no one's
around. I feel sorry for Mr. Caulk, in the basement with a tuning fork.
table looks clean and strong, but can it hold a trombone? I lift a
sandwich above my head to check for leaks.
Eros hints an egg sandwich
turns her on. A pimple poses unavoidable questions. Mr. Caulk grows
hat, which scares Mrs. Caulk, which causes her toes to tingle.
Mr. & Mrs. Caulk
asleep on the front lawn. No one measures how little they
grow, how long they shrink. I lithograph Mr. Caulk's
unposed nose; it
can't hurt. A house made of dirt isn't necessarily dirty. Molina
thinks songs mutate into
pie, shoe, bra. I shave Mrs. Caulks' legs
while she's still asleep; I'm of age. That speck of blood behind
door. It makes me wonder if I'll have to come back here and do this all