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Harmonies from Within The Maze
By Christopher J. Bradley
Compiled 11/9/01 3:03:29 AM


Head Kick
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 5:36:28 PM

Kicking in the Head
Is more fun
Than getting head kicked.


Composing
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 5:51:20 PM

To compose
To write
To make music
And fill the ear with voice.

This is something I often did
By low light
In the green room
In any season.

I often dreamed of fantastic places
Robots Planes and Cars
Traveling together between the spaces
Left behind through time.

Jotting notes down with a pen
I'd make them come to life
And build the tracks with keyboard gear
To make steely drums bite.

Composition is an art
A pattern of woven skills
Not quite the phantom it appears
To the weak of will.

Someday I'll share my symphony
To see what people think
As they dance and dine and thrill
To my sand washed blink.

A Steak Sandwich In The Suburban Jungle
By Christopher J. Bradley
9/10/01 11:18:29 PM

Tonight after a visit to the doctor
And a trip to the post office to mail items auctioned
At a profit of less than zero
On the commerce rails of e-bay
I ventured with my aunt and her grand schemes
To the mall in Cheektowaga
Under the assumption that we were going to pick up glasses.

The optical shop at JC Penney's resides beneath a large parking awning
At the side of the mall
And allowed easy access for my aunt who walks with a cane.
I parked the car and finished a cigarette before following her inside.
The store smelled like cloth and salon gel as I entered the foyer

I went quickly to the restroom
When leaving a father and young son debated over which stall to use.
I remember having the same conversation with my father
And having the same conversation again with my young brother
In public.
This choice is something men secretly learn to despise when older I believe.
It is unfortunate that in the twenty first century we still are not a cleaner people.
With a towel in my hands I left them to their concerns.

In the optical shop I cleaned my face of blackheads in the mirror
While listening to my aunt complain about the glasses she had purchased.
I knew her secret.
I thought she believed she could get a better deal elsewhere.
I was quiet as I was expected to be
But inside I wanted to scream
What is this madness?
To order custom lenses and frames and then expect to return them?
People aged twenty-eight are never permitted that sort of luxury.

In any case the optical shop was left promptly
And I drove her past Buca Di Beppo's
A place where I'd had a festive dinner with friends
She noticed a sign that said Health Department Inspected
And I laughed
As if other restaurants weren't.

We kept driving
And in mid travel agreed on Pizzeria UNO
A place conveniently traveled to by Millersport and a short cut
That turned out to be not so short
Where we discussed the menu at length
And I found a steak sandwich
That suited me just fine.

I used A1
Which I told her I'd gotten into the habit of using
At Bob Evans
With the Steak and Eggs Special.
I used the sauce liberally and enjoyed every bite
Especially the cooked mushrooms onions and peppers.
I wanted to tell her how much the sandwich reminded me of Chicago
But it would have seemed redundant
As she already knew it was a Chicago chain.

I thought back to eating Breaded Steak Sandwiches
With Bear and the other Sig Ep Brothers
And going on a burrito run while listening to Jane's Addiction
With Parry Farrell screaming "Coming Down The Mountain."
In the back seat of a packed Honda.
I don't believe there is ever a time I felt more of a part of a group
Outside of the days when I co-ordinated the BBS'ers in high school.
I felt equal and free and nervous
The blackness of the Jazz city at night
Took me in and I was safe there with the other explorers of our generation.

But to describe this in a moment
How would it have been possible
And to someone so set
I would have needed an hour.
Maybe introducing her to books was enough for a night
After dinner I took her to Barnes and Noble for coffee
And we shared some words about design
And heroic accidents
And drank caramel coffee

With any luck we can do this again.
And without as many rifts.

Maybe by the time the next time comes
She'll have already dealt with the glasses.

Hurling new Dough
By Christopher J. Bradley
1/27/01 9:10:07 AM

At four o'clock I rushed the kitchen
Every Friday after school
For almost a year.

I cleaned the dishes first
Washing my hands in the soapy lather
While the restaraunt was getting set
For dinner rush.

My other kitchen help
Prepared the dough in a big metal mixer
While we all listened to tunes on discs
Of MC Hammer or the Eagles.

No one ever had to slice mushrooms
We used them from an industrial size can
But we did have to cut onions and peppers.
The dough was rolled neatly into balls
And placed in plastic refrigerator trays
While what we needed was brought out
To the racks above the cutting table.

When the first order would come in
From the restaraunt or the phone
The music would go a little louder
And the hurling would begin.
I was nervous the first time I was asked
To go at it with the dough.
I was a delivery driver never a chef
They always flung it so high in the air
And I thought catching it might be a problem.

The trick the black cook said
Was to throw it like a frisbee
So that the rubbery stuff would stretch out
And float back to you on air.
It took some faith that it would work
A flimsy aerodynamic sail
And it did come back to me
So many times that year.

Now Try The Best
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 4:47:39 PM

Before the days of cellular
Beepers or the rest
I delivered pizza pies
For you may have guessed it
The Best.

I'd enter through the side door
And saunter past the stove
Where they'd rest upon the oven
Warming in heat's glow.

Sometimes they came with chicken wings
And often times with pop
I'd grab a whole big bunch of food
And quickly leave the shop.

The car door opened with one hand
So boxes red and white with heat
Could radiate their odor's through the air
While resting on my seat.

If the need was there a city map
Would help me find my way
Through traffic lights
And auto fray.

The driveway was so perilous
On Military Road
That if I moved an inch too quick
Collisions might explode.

The radio was often blaring
When I'd start my trip
I'd ease right into traffic
And take a soda sip.

The tanginess of fresh made food
Lingered in the car
While I wove past shopping stores
Auto shops and bars.

Then into dim lit neighborhoods
Friendlier than not
I brought hot trays and bottles
For my tipping lot.

In my time I've had a slice or two
While delivering the goods
Courtesy of management
Or makers of the loot.

The Pizza was tasty and tangy
And made just to my request
If I'd worked there one more summer
I'd enjoy it all again.

To keep your driver satisfied
In comfort and in style
Ask him often and clearly
To come that extra mile.

It's clear when you receive your wings and Za
And they've surpassed the test
That you've tried all the rest of them
It's time to try the best.

The Greenery of Beans
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:17:34 PM

A cup of coffee isn't as simple as it looks
There is so much time in preparation
It has to start at the roots of a plant
Somewhere warm
Say for example
In Columbia or Guatemala.

Then it grows into a
Ferning vessel
That is carpentered
By the hands of workers who live
Subsistantly from the land.

They carry their satchels
Northward
Using horses and mules
To dispatchers
Who prepare and pack the kernels
To bring them to cafés.

There is more of a dynamic
In a café than you might realize
The clerk behind the counter
Might have been a customer for years
While poets and actors gather 'round
To share their hopes and fears
The game players find themselves there
Imbibing in the fruit
Of laborers beyond the line
Toiling in the South.

I drink it all in once again
The scenery and the scene
While writing on this tissue
Through crystalline caffeine
The people all around and about
Are the greenery of the beans.

Sketch an Edge
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 5:45:08 PM

Third grade after counting
I'd dig you from the clutter
A bright red rectangle
With a silver grey interior.

I'd draw my pictures
Dragging your pointer through the grey
To leave a thin black line
That would fade away with shaking
Or would fade away with time.

Now I've got a new solution
Maybe it will last a while
A mouse a scanner camera printer
And an ounce or two of rhyme.

Your tracing rays were easily gone
As will all the ink
When sand runs over sand again
And at last we sink.


Extra Tempestual Being
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 5:15:51 PM

She took me in a dream
In my own clean white sheeted bed
She had a larger than normal frontal lobe
Making her eyes stretch out like a black heart
Centered on her grey nostrils.

I was close to naked
And gripped the metal bars
At the side of my frame
As her touch set my sizzling spine upward.

She watched me
Her head slowly tilting right
In wonderment to my response
And I didn't feel the juice
Just the lightening in blue and magenta.

Her off black shouldrers
Were satined with a green-orange aura
And she faded slowly into darkness
Before I could follow to watch her fly off
through my window.

She had let me know
That somewhere in Space Time
Marcus Allen Bradley would be born
Even if no earthly mother would bring him.

And I've managed to capture
At least her essence
In at least a narrowly interested niche
In an off centered web in cyber-space
From tempera colors
She has revisited me.

My Extra Tempestual Being
You saved what might have gone the way of Poe's Usher
Never to Return
And for that

I can only paint your praise.


Origami Trick
By Christopher J. Bradley
1/11/01

Unfold
Recomplexify yourself
You are my magazine postcard textbook.

Refold
You thicken to make
Swans Tortoises and Tulips.

Swim
Nothing binds your skin
You are a singular wholeness on dark water

Crawl
Four legs will lean in
And travel you forward in slow steps.

Grow
Like a wild mushroom
Shoot up from every acre of green.

Then rest
Upon my coffee marked table
At the point of my aching pen.

From Harlem to 42nd
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 7:05:50 PM

The daylight was smashing
Through my gunmetal frames
I could see the teeming walkers
Strolling like panthers
Beside the row of rolling tires.

At each quick coming intersection.
I would have to stop and burn minutes away
From the air conditioning system
Of my curvy blackberry sedan.

The cigarette smoke filled the closed car
While I fidgeted with the yohimbe
In it's little gold packet
Wondering exactly what to do with it.

There was probably a warrant out
In that little truckstop region
Where I'd bought the sandwich.
Because I'd accidentally pocketed the gold.

I was among the pimps and hustlers of ninety seventh
In their "For Us By Us" Jersey's and chains
They crossed every which way
In front of and behind my bumpers.

While baby-mamas drove carriages
Along the smooth walks of modern harlem.
I felt no panic in the daylight
Of a May Parade.

Toward Seventieth
I could start to make out the businesses
And the street began to tighten
The pace of all the traffic quickened one step at a time.

As if each press of the break pedal
Increased the speed incrementally
I seriously noticed the weaving cabs
Bright yellow with their tank-like grills.

It finally broke my nervous system
At around fiftieth when I saw
The blinking clock
Trussed to a twenty story building

Flashing 3:16.
For God so loved the universe
That he brought me to it's apex...

And I rode to 42nd
And swung off left
To look for parking
The ramps were available
But for what I had to give
There was no room to slow down.

Grand Central Station
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 7:24:03 PM

So I twisted back and forth a while
Through the interstices of the metropolitan sidestreets
Looking for parking gaps
That wouldn't cost more than
Twenty for the day.

When I found there were none
Even that far from 5th
I started looking for an Avenue
To lead me to a Bridge
New York had exhausted me
And I was barely there
And couldn't spot an ATM in my exhaustion.

The motion was ceaseless
And tightly knit
An integrated blanket
Of twisting yarns.

Behind a half parked truck
I saw the light of an Avenue
From the darkness of an overshadowed street
And with a quick jog to the left
I was in the blaze of summer again.

With yellow taxi's blocking me out on all sides
I was so caught in the flow
That I could do nothing but shift left or right
To avoid collisions.

I saw a sport utility vehicle
Mix in with the mash of motion
And remembered to tune into Z100.

DMX was on the radio
Thumping hard with "Party Up!"
And all the cabs were speeding ahead
There was a tunnel within view.
At it's right was a massive hotel
I followed into the station
With the yellows.

And it was as if someone had flicked off the lightswitch.

There were people stepping to cabs so quickly it was difficult not to hit them.
I drove as far left as I could to get out of their way.
And I followed the curving of the tunnel
For a sixteenth of a mile
Until I could see the light
And a sign for Central Park.

Central Park
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 7:38:06 PM

The sign pointed straight ahead
So I continued on
Bloodshot and boiling
Not knowing the name of this thoroughfare

After passing over a bridge with neat white railings
The traffic thinned and slowed slightly
And I realized I was listening to a top 10 countdown
With Destiny's Child in the Mix at number 5.

I knew as I traveled that eminem would be at the top
His track had been convincing me that I was
"the real slim shady" all month
With that I progressed.
Past the towering underwear billboards
Hosting Nike and Gucci
And diamonds and leather
And on the right I began to see the greenery
With it's trimmers and it's Rollerbladers.

Suddenly I was attuned to the parking signs
And a meter welcomed me
The zone was 30 minutes with towing.
It was the best I could do.
So I got out of the Saturn
Stepped between vehicles
And paid.
I rested with the windows down
The breeze of mid-town
Bristling my whiskers.

Eminem blinged into my conciousness
And I woke up from a half dream
About Carolina and Scott
Would I make it there in time to get to Ashland?
Or would I have my tour interrupted?
I still had 15 minutes left.

The street called
but I wouldn't have made it two steps
I turned off the radio to hear it's burbling buzz

And I noticed that there was not a bird or insect
In sight.

Exit to George Washington
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 7:50:42 PM

Getting back into the river of cars was rough
I had to keep sticking my head out the window
To look for a large enough gap
The Saturn was bigger than the Shadow.

Finally I hit the gas and slowed the car in the right
My watch told me it was about 4:30 in silver and black plastic
Soon the park was behind me and I was completely engaged in motion
There were traffic lights all around.

I flowed straight ahead until the street changed names
I noticed a sign at the curbside that read Frederick Douglas Boulevard
I had entered through Harlem and exited to freedom.
The George Washington's steel frame was just ahead.

I followed to the end
Past more jersey's and carriages
Careful to stop with every red sign
Smoking my pulse up all the way.

I was hot and thirsty
So I opened a bottle of water
That I'd bought at the truck stop near Corning
Where they'd sold me the purple fry soda.

It seemed like I sweat before I swallowed.
The water poured from my wrinkled forehead
As I entered the concrete guide way
Trapped in a sluggish fiberglass conveyor
Baking like a tin foiled potato.

The cars and trucks were at an aneuristic halt.
Nothing moved.

I feared the worst If I had moved my foot from the brake
At an all too unpleasant moment.

I'll say I made it with caution
But that was far from the end of the experience
Getting out of the jungle concrete cost me twelve-fifty
Of the twenty in my wallet.

Garden State Extraction
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 4:39:21 PM

After the gargantuan bridge
Came an option
North or South
On the Garden State Parkway

I chose south thinking it would lead me
Down through Jersey
Toward the Carolinas
There was traffic to contend with plenty.

Red Blue and Silver Sedans were weaving
Like electrons through silicon wafers
And suddenly I realized
They were part of some kind of caravan.

It wasn't like a funeral procession
It happened too quick for that
It was like they were government
Surrounding a limousine.

Had one of the Clinton's been
Pushing out of the city
Toward the airport?
Or had they been traveling by auto back to D.C.?

I was lost in the nanosecond of their passing
In the swarm of metal husks
And so I kept pace with the last of the fifty or so of them
Until I spotted an Aamaco.

I veered off
And paid the attendent with a folded ten
Angled up like the tail of a swan
And had my tank refueled.

It was getting toward seven and I was hungry
So I pulled into the first small town I saw
Turned the radio down
And started looking for a cheap Italian place.

No Free Parking in Jersey
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 4:50:01 PM

When I exited into Jersey
The Traffic was fierce
But in a different way
It seemed like every car had custom rims.

The buildings were all compact
Like adobe brick houses on a New Mexico mesa
The asphault wasn't overly slanted
But tilted enough that you could feel the gravity.

There were businesses of all types
That I slowly passed by
But a lack of parking lots was plainly evident
And the streets were firmly lined.

It took me almost 30 minutes
To weave my way out of the small township
And when I finally got to the sign for the Garden State
I got forced left into a residential maze.

The red blue and silver cars were there again
Black Miatas and white jaguars were among them
I began to think they were leading me somewhere
In my exhaustion my thoughts were misplaced.

There was a purple heart monument
Clearly marked on one rightward channel
With effort I followed the signs through
And around.

I was so burned from the smoke and the sun
That I almost parked in the driveway to a home
But I continued on
and passed a little league baseball field

And then got lost in a dead end
Where a man on a riding mower
Was wearing earphones and it appeared -
That he was talking to himself.

I backed up and turned around
To watch a black crow hop across the street
And slowly wound a path
Back to a sign for the Parkway.

The Darkest Zing
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 5:28:13 PM

The swim in deep asphalt at the crack of night
Cleared the throb from my temples a bit
I still had a grape soda left.
So I carefully opened the twisting bottlecap
On the lean glass bottle and took randomly paced swigs.

Fortunately
The bottle fit neatly into my car's cupholder
So I could cruise with both hands for the most part
The signs indicated I was headed South
There was no sun as a guiding force.

So I floated adrift with the big wheelers
And the dashers sped past
All of those black and grey spy hunter sports cars
Slicking oil at ninety miles an hour
Hopping open gaps from nothing.

Then suddenly I was with them again
I had caught up with them all
They were a caravan for my protection
And there were video puzzles on the backs of the trucks
Silver fractalized bouncing balls iridescently gleamed.

Then it looked like a map flashed my retina
On the square sheet of steel
Of the next eighteen circled machine
And I flinched and drove right
Almost flinging through the path of a roadster.

They were teaching me to move at high velocity
Steering me this way and that
Guiding me down a never ending path
Of green and yellow caution signs
It was my own Daytona that I would never have.

It was as if Police didn't exist on that road
It had been sanctioned Holy
For the Zealots that were leading me to be briefed
And I thought back to the "Nissan/Comic Book" Escapade
And when I saw the squares I was there.

Rotating Lamps
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 7:14:48 PM

I didn't hear an audible siren
But a flash went off in the back of my head
When my eyes crossed the rear view
To land upon red and white rotating rooftop lamps.

I was in motion
Climbing right to the curb slowly
Praying that in deep night
This Police officer was for real.

I had been traveling slow
In a forty mile an hour zone
He didn't check for liquor or drugs
Just told me to get to a hotel fast.

He said there was one off to the left
But he didn't lead me there
And I saw the New Briton Square sign again
And just started back onto the Expressway.


Poison Tree in New Berlin
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 6:03:48 PM

2 cars exited from the ramps
One led to New Briton
The other to New Berlin.
I followed the one to New Berlin
And stopped at the edge of the compound.

The structure before me looked like a gatehouse.
I dared not exit the vehicle here.
So I slowly smoked a cigarette
And emptied my ashtray out the window
The car was gone.

Another soon followed down the road
So I revved my engine and followed it in.
They would lead me to my quarters
With the tightest security possible
And when I arrived it was more than I ever could have hoped for.

A house with a big driveway was here
I pulled in and put my cigarette out
The other car was gone in a flash
I stepped out of the car and headed for the door
To look for a manilla envelope packet with a key.

When I opened the door
A political magazine slid out
Written in German
This was not the place for me
But I stood for a moment before leaving.

Before the garage there was a spindling potted tree
The tree had thin leaves
They projected a perfect poisonous shadow
Before the large wooden frame
And the perfectly flat cement driveway pushed up against my shoes.

I desperately tried to weave my way out of that place
But at every turn there was a dead end or a wooden gate
Finally I found the block with the house again
And a kid around seventeen with a sleeveless shirt
Pointed me to the road out.

As I exited I noticed the carefully placed
"Trespassing Is Granted Zero Tolerance" signs
It really is a good thing I didn't panic
And stop at the police or fire stations
For any kind of assistance.


Lasergrid Pole Position
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 7:19:36 PM

The hallucinations from the magic soda got worse
The trucks were pushing the pace even faster
Once I had climbed the ramp back into the night sea
The white lines on blackness blurred.

My vehicle was crunching dots
Like an invisible Pac-Man
It was Pole Positioned for the other Square
Through a lasergrid set that only a cybernaut could navigate
Fortunately I was tuned in with my chip set to static.

I bopped back and forth across the lanes
At a high rate of velocity
Paying close attention to the Road Arrows
And Slick signs.

The cracks in the dry tar made my shocks jumble
And the beams drifted across in flashes of green and red
Like those of the raves so many years past
Except that these blipped in quick single shots.

The deeper into the electro-static maze I delved
The fewer vehicles there were
I was coordinated enough to maneuver while lighting smokes
And the air was cooling to comfortable.

It was like being inside a lightening tunnel
In a dream about the anger of Zeus
But drifting with the winds of the ocean clouds
Except that all that was there was blackness.

I hoped not to see any more creatures
Like I had outside of Corning
On that forested trail
Toward the beginning of the journey.


Camp Hill Hit Patches
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 7:31:16 PM

Roped back half acres
Of green fern slicked around the blackberry cocoon
They made me think of dangerous games
That take place in the forest.

Of men hunting men as ghosts
Cutting one another down like lumber
The smell of freshly composted rot
Lingered even as a taste to me.

They were like down town SAS
I couldn't see them but they were there
I tried to avoid those hit patches
By following the back end points of bent black arrows.

They were posted along the sides of the road
Like warning markers left near
The site of an Indian Burial Ground
Stand clear of the kill zones and everything will be fine.

The road wound slowly
And as I made my way past an industrial park
Buried in the greenery
I began to realize that Camp Hill was nearly gone.

A small bridge asked me to pass over
And I found myself compelled to cross
Knowing that it would be taken by ion pulse
From one of the birds in the sky.

None of it mattered much
I had passed safely through
The next phase would be critical to the plan
Closing the back door for good was the key.

They Can Read The Fine Print
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 7:39:24 PM

I passed the site of a blazing fire
With several cherry red trucks arranged outside of it
There was water everywhere on the dirty ground
And men in yellow fire coats were rushing toward the flame mirage.

I was directed forward
With a lighted cone
By a volunteer fireman
In a blue and white vest.

It seemed that in the township
There was still no where safe to park
I considered stopping in an office complex
But then proceeded.

There was a long road ahead anyway
One with a path of flashing lights
They were pinging me
And holding the unauthorized back.
By not aligning them with me exactly.

I opened the glovebox and took out the CD case
And placed the discs inside on the dashboard
I flipped them back side up
So that the data could be read by the birds

Music is so complex
That mixing two styles
For encryption
And then melding them with purple liquid
Was going to block out those without clearance.

I was in my greens and ready to hash it out
My shoes were tight on my feet.

I used my blinkers once or twice to break an arrow
On those who sped around me.

And I clenched my teeth like Grey Grantham
That writer must have covered those sorts of actions before.


For the Raccoons Fawns and Bunnies
By Christopher J. Bradley
5/24/01 12:27:02 AM

If I could capture all of your innocence
Curiosity and wonder
I would do everything in my power
To share it with my eight year old brother.

There is something to your furry world
That cannot be captured in a cartoon
About Angry Beavers
At least though the cartoon acknowledges
That there are beavers on earth.

If you had been given wings
You would be even more beautiful
As creatures of the ground though
You can find places that I cannot
Bound from the road by four rubber wheels.

Sometimes I see you
Moving at the edges of the wood
And I pray
That somehow
The wood might grow over all of us
And take us all into God's realm.

I know that you fare well there
Feasting on leaves and bugs
And that your bodies glow and shimmer in the sun
And dampen with the rain
And I marvel at how you survive the winters.

If I could
I would like to live inside your minds for a year
To feel the fury of a wild run with nature for a year
On long legs with clicking knees
Or swishing a striped tail through the bushes
While quickly sniffing at the air with my tender whiskers.

When we do get beyond this consciousness
I will make a point of having this little conversation with you
And see if maybe we can swap identities for a bit
For I know in heaven
We will be more than we can comprehend
And maybe we'll be able to share ourselves wholly with one another.

To the fawns raccoons and bunnies
I give you my peace and good will
And I will keep my tires
As best I can
Where they belong.


Accident
by Christopher J. Bradley
11/3/01 9:29:04 PM

I felt my bones cringle crackle
at the moment of impact
The green sport utility
hitting my rear trunk.

My car slid forward a little
on the pavement as I pressed the brake pedal harder.
And I watched the car come up quick from the left.
I instinctively put the car in park.

I was gripped by the stupidness of it all
as I groped for my cell phone
to dial 911
which ultimately would not answer.

I learned when I got home from the emergency room
that there had been an anthrax scare at the bridge.
What kind of nightmare had I been in the center of
In that room that night.

I was amazed at how they all kept their calm
while trying to fit me with a cervical brace.
Fortunately as I type now I am not in one
But my back is in pain

Moreso than ever...

And I pray that there will be relief.

I've been going for some walks lately
as prescribed
and I've enjoyed being around my family
It seems at times we barely live
but we will make it
if I have anything to say about it.

And someday I will get that scratch fixed
where someone keyed my car
even though that
cannot be remedied immediately.


An Angel Descends
By Christopher Bradley
Dedicated to Chuck Excel
3/6/01 6:04:45 PM

An angel descends
From out of the snowy skies
To make my life
A little more liveable.

He doesn't get deeply involved
Just gives me some simple surface words
That slowly sink into my being
As he and his companion depart.


My Assassin
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 5:23:20 PM

Before I died in 1994
I remember thinking
That I would have just a little bit of fun with her.

She was like a kitten
Curled up on an eighty year old man's lap.
One with claws that held her there
Poking into clean white fiber.

She looked into me from her perch
While I was avoiding playing chess
Her arms were around the old man
With her curling hair falling over denim.

Her eyes didn't want me to let them go.
And so I stayed a moment too long
Not noticing her bleach stained jeans
Until I gazed down to break her stare.

Her smile was full of dynamite
It was a grin full of the jester's humor
My bones would soon be breaking
Her thighs were made of C-4.

Little did I know at the time
My death was imminent
To every known cause
Of ultimate fulfillment.

My assassin disappeared
The next night into the rain
I wouldn't see her for one more year
When she would verify her claim.

Her sights had been on target
A fallen man I was
With little blood to hold on to
The ground chill to my fading heat.

She flew again
Like a vampire bat
Deep into the night
And with my faintest pleading gasps

"My assassin did me right."




Awkward Moments
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:06:52 PM

Why are people concerned
About these awkward moments that they have?
Spaces of seconds against the clock
When they might be asked about choices to make
About their relationships
To all these other people.

It seems that I create an awkward moment
When I speak or write
And so for a moment
I will let my pen rest
To give in to other's might.

But soon I'll tell it all again
With fury and with force
And let the awkward seconds spill about
Let nature run it's course.



Desire in Commercial Lust
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:11:06 PM

There is no desire in Commercial Lust.
Nothing is striven for
Only pulled away
Stripping heart from mind from soul
And draining the breath of life
From a dying orchid of decay.

There is a weeping sadness
In the shadowbox we see
On an entertainment shelf
Holding a TV.

The bright mag covers all the same
Flowing through the malls
Show models in their creepy stares
Drowned in alcohol.

The fortunate among us
Will come to realize
That to truly build a better self
Takes mental exercise.



Cubicles and Pods in January
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:55:14 PM

Our Office Space is divided
Into neatly tangled cubes
Filled with telephones and terminals
And bachlorettes and dudes.

The cubicles are sorted
Into circular grouped pods
Spindling round about with calendars
And supervisor wads.

A weave of red black office chairs
Find their ways about
While we all goggle into screens
As customers do shout.

The syncopated rhythm
Of typing keyboard keys
Makes our eardrums static out
The photocopy sheen.

Our breaks are stiffly metered out
By quick computer clocks
While bottled water's carried in
From Aquafina Trucks.

On occasion we get little toys
Or helium baloons
And everyone is deep in line
On Friday Afternoon.

I know I'll find my way out
Before the operation folds
But for now I'll keep the heat up
And try not to catch cold.



First Seconds of Airtime
By Christopher Bradley
3/6/01 5:57:36 PM
dedicated to Kari Arnold

The first seconds I used of airtime
Were a radio blast through space.
I received a busy signal
From my aunt's fixed line in the hospital room.

The beep beep bonging
Cut my ear as a shock
I suppose I didn't think
Anyone else would be contacting her
At that particular moment.

She'd gotten through the surgery alright
I guess that was a relief.
I had some lunch with my mother while there
And brought a vase full of Iris'
From the florist.

I am glad that she remembered
To bring the stuffed puppy dog
That I had purchased for her
for Christmas.

I finally got through
Calling from my car
To leave her the phone number
So that she could call me back
So that I could bring Mom home

For a little rest.



God Save the Machines
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:27:50 PM

God save the digital warriors
With Flexgrip PDA's
On Airplanes and in subways
From shutdowns or delays.

Keep them marching here and there
With pocketbooks and suits
Drinking Margaritas
While on Carribbean Cruise.

Bring them safe through
Terminals and Stiles
Keep them traveling cheap and free
On frequent flyer miles.

Give them stops in Boston
Dallas and Fort Worth
Televise their local calls
All around the earth.

Sparkle them with gifts and glories
On their wedding days
Grant them children two point five
With double income pay.
And smite their loathsome subjects
With molding bails of hay.

God save the machines
The doctors and their clerks
Speed their fancy jaguars
And flash them all the perks.



Grey Stone and Velvet in Albany
By Christopher J. Bradley

I remember looking out at a statue of Lincoln
From a room filled with historically preserved flags
On the upper floor of the New York State Legislative Chambers
At the top of a pink staircase in Albany.

They told us as we climbed it that it was
The Tallest Staircase in the United States
Quite possibly the world
Made of sand washed soapstone.

Earlier that day
We had shaken hands with the Governor in the Red Room
While he'd been doing a photo shoot
For Rolling Stone magazine.

And even earlier
We had met with the state comptroller
After a long walk through A narrow underground tunnel
For short the government employees called it the subway.

The curtains in the hallways
Of the senate building were velvet and mostly red
The atmosphere was like that of what I have imagined about Rome
And the senators were like animated puppets of the people.

I also remember drinking beer cooled in a bathtub
After perhaps the finest formal dinner I've ever attended
As kalimari Filet Minon and Deep Sea Bass
Mingled with Heineken and Killians in my body.

Albany dizzied me to the point of sickness once
Among the absurdity of fraternal antics
But it will never look as dreary again
Now that I have seen how well

Velvet complements
Grey Stone
On the inside.



I Never Met a Monkey
By Christopher J. Bradey
3/7/01 6:51:24 PM

I've never met a monkey
That I could have a signing with
I would like to though
I bet he could talk with his hands
Far better than I.

Maybe we'll get swift enough
And smart enough someday
To build a keyboard with big keys
So that they can share their memories.

It really does amaze me
That I've never seen anyone scientific
Make quite that suggestion.

Monkey poets of the world unite

Your time is on the horizon.


El Biblioteca Americano
By Christopher Bradley
3/7/01 5:43:20 PM

To complain in a library
Shaped like a sick albatross
Almost within earshot of two guards
Is like a bittersweet nectarine of wisdom.

There are many volumes and indices here
And individual books by the gross
There are full shelves
But no people browsing them.

The plants are still alive
But the florescent lights are blinking out
Like pinball tilt signs
In lightning white jitters.

It will be good not to come here
Too often
The place doesn't offer the
modernity of cybernews.

And the bookstore has a more brilliant sheen
And coffee with my favorite hosts
And an occasional aquaintance drops by
All this for a mere $2.35.

But who knows?
Maybe there is something to save this wretched place for
Maybe they'll one day line it with PC's
And make true access for those of

They who can not afford.


Fool's Tokens
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 6:30:25 PM

On a cool winter afternoon
I entered the Topic after a day of early training
For the Disney Interactive program
And bought six wooden nickels for four dollars
The Aroma of Amaretto steamed from my mug
Bearded Bob had poured me a free one.

I stamped my shoes from the cold
And reached past my shirt pocket for the tape
And handed it to him
Knowing that with the shop nearly empty
He would play it.
And he did.

The Stone Roses shimmered into being
And livened the mood of the wood and plaster café'
So I told Bob about life on the job
And he cautiously congradulated me
Perhaps having seen ambition before.

I sat at the bar and he and I drank in the sound
As I read the board for new drinks
Like Captain Hazelnut's Aneurism
Or Full Throttle Mocha
And as "Adored" finished...

In walked a heavy headed Russian capped Scottsman
Who was well known in these parts
But I hadn't been expecting him.
I bought him a Tanzanian
And we were deep into "Fool's Gold."

It was the eight minute rock out
That he'd taped for me
To listen to on quiet evenings
Om a storage closet in the University
What a drastic improvement!

Eureka!

That tape now rests on my parents' kitchen counter
We trade compact discs now
The Happy Mondays for a special mix of my own
And it takes longer as the distance divides
But there is always hope

For another grand adventure
Where Tokens Run Freely
Among Fools.



Praise for The Public
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 6:41:51 PM

When the public loves you
For example when you're a bartender
All kinds of praise and thanks sing forward
Most noteably in the form of tips.

But the public can be a coiling serpent
Throwing suspicious or paranoid glances your way
Whispering or hissing the unthinkable
For no apparent reason other than that you are there.

I praise the public
In all it's gross anguish
At unsightliness or the often quoted irregularity
It makes an effort to create order from chaos
To find the diamonds in the coal.

But I curse its' methods
For the sting of their stingers is bitter
I hurt inside when I feel their uncaring application
For whenever I choose to be
And for whatever worldly purpose or pursuit -

I am only a man
And can aspire to nothing greater
Than the good itself
And the inspiration of those who would also seek it.

So public
Have your praise
You have earned it through your deeds
And I expect that you will not take my gesture lightly.

After all
It is you
Who will carry the ripples
Of the smooth edges stones

That I so carefully pitch.


Screws Nails and Boards
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 5:38:21 PM

I've never really liked
Screws Nails or Boards.
Twisting Hammering or Sawing
Just never seemed to be my thing.

Sometimes I wish I'd learned better
How to work with wood or plaster
Because at times I wonder how nice it would be
To make myself a new bookshelf.

I've left behind the skills of carpentry
And wall hanging and wool
In exchange for a computer and a pen
And a calculator and paper.

I would like to build that bookshelf
But I can't quite figure out where to put it
It seems sometimes that my toys are owning too much real estate
In the corners of my room.
Old modems and audio modules and cases of copper wire
Clutter everything up.

And then I get too confused
About the papers in front of the dresser's floorspace
And I can't write about it anymore.



Movie Theater Scam
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/6/01 6:35:51 PM

A machine resting in a hallway
In the theater near home
Made me want to drill the thing
And fill it full of holes.

It authorized my credit card
And stuck me with a bill
But wouldn't print the tickets
To let me view the film.

So I shouted rants out at the clerk
Who didn't really care
It must have happened all the time
It must not be that rare.

Eventually they printed
And fell down through the slot
They got me past the ticket taker
Who'd been beyond earshot.

Next time I buy a ticket
I'll keep a careful stash
And never use a Master Plate
It's not as good as cash.



When the Blues turn Red
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 5:03:39 PM

Blood moves through the veins and arteries
Of a living man
Mutating from Blue to Red
Oxygenating the body
Swiftly in pulsations.

I think my pulse must have risen
The day it all became possible
Our region was within a breath of victory
My street's value could rise with a kick.

I lived on Norwood Avenue that year
The year the pressure caved
The star kicker for the Buffalo Bills
And the ball came down on rough grass.

Football is more lifestyle than sport to many Americans
It's players are the new gladiators of the Western Empire
They are one with our Art Commerce Trade and Literature
Of that last note this becomes a less than unique work.

Televised action however
Cannot compare with
The force of mass crossed with acceleration
In an inelastic forty yard line collision
Of flesh bone and gristling jaws.

I pressed into the mash a few times
In a red and grey t-shirt
On a field with my compatriots
Not far from Kominski park
In the shadow of Chicago's elevated train.

We were the champions of the season
Of an epic traversal
Through bruise and bone-shatter
We trudged through the cold wet muck of October.

And we drank
And we sang
And we dined.


The Latin Senate
By Christopher J. Bradley
3/7/01 6:18:40 PM

In 1998 A.D. we convened
In a hall on the University Campus
To discuss linguistic endeavors
And the fantasy
Of those who ruled for a thousand years.

There were two women among us
That I noticed right off
Because one had red hair
And the other lived in my hometown.

Another of the senators
Was a bone doctor
Studying paleontology
And bringing latin named artifacts to class
The most impressive of which was a cranium.

Our Cesar
A tall thin shadow caster
Spoke of the whims of Aphrodite and Hades
And the other subjects of Zeus
While instructing us in the necessity for oxen in past times.

I write to him from time to time now
And am glad to hear he married successfully
Unlike Attilla
And engineered his fortress
Somewhere more secure than this.

All of the other senators passed through the loopholes
Some not as flowingly as others.
And I remember reading and writing about
Cities in the clouds
Traveled to on chariots made of the air itself.

And I know that I can build bridges now
Between what I learn and what I want to show
And let the waters splash from the rivers of my mind
Through the aqueducts of data and parchment
To the citizenship at large.


Yohimbe Gold
By Christopher J. Bradley

It is Monday night
And I have awakened from a slumbering nap
To a streak dinner cooked by my sister
And served by my mother.

Everyone waited for me to finish
To sing happy birthday to her boyfriend
And finding myself without appetite due to the warmth of summer
I excused myself for a cigarette.

As I stepped from the front porch onto scraping cement
I recalled that I had spoken with Scott in North Carolina before sleeping
It had been so long
I told him about the Morrissey collection my friend had put together.
He let me know about his car disaster.

So as I watched the seagulls dance against the sky net
Of red orange turning to hues of evening blue
I remembered the packet of Yohimbe Gold of a year ago
That I was going to take to him
To make him smile if for no other reason.

I may have bought it or it may have been the first thing that I have stolen
Since I was five when I tried to get the buttons at the mall for my mother
In any case I was never charged for it and the store keeper must have found his profits
In the turkey sandwich he sold me.

I was lost on a long road toward New York
But that packet in the desert was like manna
A manna I had discovered in a lexicon in Boston
While playing Scrabble with him in a smoked out kitchen
In our small pink house not far from Davis.

That summer we drank Grolsh beer
Watched half a baseball game
Played Chess in Harvard Square
Played Doom against my OS/2 rigged 486
Worked in various offices
And got lost near Newton and the Charles River.

There was a girl at the supermarket
Who liked both of us
I kept imagining ways of impressing her with a mattress
My only piece of acquired furniture
Other than the television set

That only played
The sessions of the Yohimbe Gold cast
Over and over
Until they unleashed Windows
95.


On finishing books
By Christopher J. Bradley
9/10/01 11:07:50 PM

In the past two weeks I have finished
Completely read
Two books.

One a novel
The other a notorious compilation of poetry.

I hoped to start getting better at my composition
Through some adventures in reading.

I don't think that I've yet become more verbose.
I've been listening to the music of the people at work as well.

Their rhythms have an influence to my speech
And I will not say that the ideas expressed have cleansed my spirit

But I will say that giving them a try
Might help me to understand them better.

What is it about the inspiration of the 1860's for the future of today
That is left out of our modern hope for better times to come?

I know that only you who are left when I am gone might answer
As I live my slow time

Like the Mowhawks of Summer's past
And pray for autumn showers

To cool the fires in my heart
That burn for so many I cannot have
As I read and write

In an era of literary silence
And bombastic digital noise.


A Promise of New Life in Spring
By Christopher J. Bradley

I do not always understand the things that happen together
Events jumble up one after another and it is difficult to conclude that they have meaning.

This Spring I have heard that three people have died.
A man my age the great aunt of a friend and the grandmother of a friend's child.

I remember two of them from having met them
It seems they were good people and I expect they will find happiness in the next life.

Brian helped me to accomplish a great feat once
Carting 20 gallons of juice up a hill to a manor in Canada
Only so that we could bring them down again without pay.
He will go on in my memory as a great helper and a good friend

Though I did not know him well I look forward to meeting him again.

For Aunts and Grandmothers
There is truth that you have lived well and shared your lives with others
May each of you live on with them
In this life and the next.

For those who do not understand the promise of new life
I pray that they find it before the next Spring time that draws us apart and together.

Antique Piano Teacher
By Christopher J. Bradley
Dedicated to Glenn Tilou


My antique Piano Teacher
Made my fingers grind
Like the spokes of a tinsmith phonograph
With tune and beat and time.

The keys of Ivory and Black
Easily fell down
To hammer high strung strings of steel
And make melodic sound.

At first co-ordination
Was an awful stretch
It took a lot to follow notes
And make my digits flex.

I haven't yet matched Beethoven
Or Bach or Tchicovski
But I can now spin jazz about
In harmonic minor C.

He granted me composing art
And organized my skill
Someday I'll put a tune together
With a plastic quill.

The harmony of days gone by
Lives beyond his den
In the accolades of disciples
Of his discipline.

Fiery Leaves in Autumn
by Christopher Bradley
11/3/01 9:41:15 PM

Leaves wet like mud
line the cool autumn asphalt
Of my suburb street on a windless afternoon.
My brother and I shuffle through them.

We walk up the street to the top
Where he jogs
A little package of soccer muscles
His wind-breaker flicking against still air.

I fuss with my Sunoco cigarette lighter
And a package of reservation tobacco
And walk carefully behind him
Not wanting to jostle my lower back.

To be eight years old again
And not wonder about the troubles of adulthood.
My biggest concerns might be the Gameboy that had been
taken away because of an irresponsible comment.

There is always learning time
I think learning would be better than knowing
how the silence of old friends can be.
It is a quiet street now.

The days of chips and salsa are long since past
They pretty much ended when my brother's leather case was stolen.
And the dog started to get big.
Oh Sky? Do you care whether our visitors are friend or foe?

We watch the news waiting for a single confirmed kill
As though that will stop the misery that still stirs New Yorkers to unrest
On a day like today
And so few to come before the snow

When the fiery leaves of autumn
Are trodden through
Like wet licks of mud
On the heels of a young boy
And his mustached brother.


Painting The Rock
by Christopher J Bradley
11/28/99 5:30:51 PM

The Inter Greek Council
Each year
At Illinois Institute of Technology
Sponsored Greek Games.
One of the games
Was to Paint The Rock.

The Rock rested outside the student center
Underneath a maple tree
And there was never a day
that there weren't new letters scrawled upon it
In bright colored
spray paint.

I volunteered to paint the rock
And get points for our house
so I bought paint
And got up early
every morning
to paint the rock.

We would run over
with the cans in a backpack
watching for campus cops
and carefully apply the paint.
The rock was thick with many layers
coated by the 16 houses.

One day another house
painted after we did
so we took a butter knife
to the Rock.
The layers pulled off
like rubber
Years of paint littered the ground around the rock.

Someone did it again
and that night
after a brother stole acetate from the chemistry lab
They lit the rock on fire
and the flames were so high
That the tips of the branches of the tree were singed.

It didn't seem all that important
But there were other things we could have done
Homework Sleep Having Pizza with Women
But for everything else we could have done
We may as well have danced around it.
The Rock was ours.

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