September 16, 2015

Brad Rose


That’s the fastest escalator I’ve ever ridden. I’m not afraid of heights. As long as they’re indoors. Looked through the plus-size department, but couldn’t find anything I liked. There’s a 7 billion dollar market in Halloween merchandise. That’s what the paper said. You’d think I could find something without horizontal stripes. Took the elevator down. I only go down in elevators, never up. I told Justine my luck really isn’t luck. It just looks that way. That’s why I keep my money in a paper bag. Looks like an old lunch. And those killer beeps. These days, they’re everywhere you go. No getting away from them. I’d wear earplugs, but I left them at church on Sunday. Pastor said we’ve all got a calling, but asked us to turn off our cell phones during the service. Said he didn’t think the Lord needed interruptions. He smiled when he said that. I turned mine to “vibrate” in case one of my kids got into an accident. Justine—she’s’ the prettiest darn thing—said she felt like playing poker after church. Some days you just feel it. We went to the Orleans and played a few hands. The place is clean. Mostly locals go there because the atmosphere is friendly. It’s low stakes. I didn’t trust the dealer, though. He looked like my parole officer. I think he was wearing a wig. I hate wigs on men. Of course, you can get used to almost anything, if you concentrate. Like those ventriloquists. They’re great concentrators. Hardly move their lips. And those dummies; it’s not easy with someone else’s words coming out of your mouth. Like that time in court. Sure, I knew I was an accomplice, but I didn’t plan the thing. I was just the driver. Didn’t even use a stolen car. Probably should have. Jack was the one that said there was a lot of money in there. Jack’s so smart. At least he thinks so. But what good did it do him? Got an even 20 for arson of an occupied structure. Thank goodness everybody got out. The place burned down in about a minute. Everybody got out. Everybody, but one. That’s what I call real luck.

Afternoon Rendezvous

The temperature crawls through the room.
I swallow you, like a glass of water.
On the floor, our deserted clothes rest comfortably
as a sleeping husband recovering from a cardiac event.
Your unattainable beauty, un-caged,
feral eyes, empty as a desert.
I swim through this deliberate amnesia,
this moment of fire forgetting flame.
Outside, the rain, a felled forest,
buildings, glistening bayonets,
I vow to keep our secret hidden from the gods.

Who would tell them? you ask.
Who would they punish, if they knew?

Before ‘The Three Dancers’

In the front yard,

sunburned, shirtless,

Picasso mows the blue grass.

The petulant scythe shaves close

the lawn’s picture plane.

The cloudless sky

is the color of a window.

In the mind’s eye

three figures writhe

against the curl of feral velocity.

He pauses,

& with an ice-white cloth,

daubs his damp brow,

stoops low toward the earth’s fresh cut scent,


What color are these weeds?


Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2013 recipient of a Camroc Press Review Editor’s Favorite Award. Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, Monkeybicycle, MadHat Lit, and other fine publications. Links to his writing can be found at: His chapbook of micro fiction, Coyotes Circle the Party Store, can be read at: Audio recordings of a selection of Brad’s poetry can be heard at:

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