Category Archives: J. Bradley

Get Off This Quatrain by J. Bradley

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“Are you Angelina Jolie, because you look like a bone collector?” said Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

“Who are you supposed to be?” Lara Croft slowly drew out one of her holstered pistols, careful to not let sticky dart load misfire.

“I’m Mattie J.T. Stepanek, one of the greatest American poets of the 21st century, at least according to Oprah. Can I read you a poem I wrote for you?”

Lara aimed it at Mattie his left knee. “God, I wish I could make you crippled physically. I mean, you obviously are emotionally. Go ahead, read your poem.”

“My penis has purple veins and a heartsong. It can make your heartsong into a drum machine. Will you see me in the morning? I promise we won’t be boring. We can do it in this wheelchair. I promise not to pull your hair.”

The dart stuck onto the tombstone of Mattie’s forehead. “You might not get my phone number but you could win the costume contest tonight.”

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Masonry by J. Bradley

After the condom, my heart broke to the Smashing Pumpkins, I vowed to never let another girl ruin good music. With girlfriend #2, I shoved The Cure like a sock in her mouth so my little brother wouldn’t hear our carpet burn. After awhile, I dated girls with apartments and roommates, telling each of them their sighs were the only soundtrack I needed.

Our first song was The Darkness’s “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”; we were giddy like falsetto and power chords. Eventually the only thing that was cranked up to eleven was her mood swings. I tried explaining that a woman should not have hands as lecherous as Geppetto’s but she never listened, boxing me into the windowless van of her arms. I believed in loving all of someone, even the duct tape and chloroform.

Six years later on a couch in a strange house in Chicago, I drank beer, watched the weather, my marriage sour as Iron & Wine told me we would live like our ghosts will live. I listen to that set sometimes when clouds metastasize to build a callus in my gut note by note. Eventually, I’ll be ready for someone else to tear me down like a wall.

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