6 Poems
by Bradley Paul

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My Quietness Has A Man In It

His name is Quiet Bernie.
He is fünfzig-fünfzig
about learning German,
fears der maus
in seine haus,
squeaking German
in his brain,
making prayers
to the Gott of mice.
Bernie, Quiet Bernie.
Squeak yourself!



Two Front Teeth

Eric comes down the Christmas steps to see what’s all the rumpus. The light is blue because blue gels are over all the lights. He stops on the landing, scans; an Evil Elf jumps on him, fangs in Eric’s latex jugular; then corn syrup blood over all the walls. Take two, three, thirteen. The Evil Elf jumps again and again and the lights are hot despite their blue. Next day: the shoot is done, and Gretchen paints over the blood. Doesn’t work. A second coat, and a third; she paints the wall red, even. But the blood shows still. Profondo rosso! The proof of Eric’s many deaths.



On the Sleeve

Oh, I was angry.
The guy was like “you’re a dick”
and I was like “No, you’re a dick,”
and he was like “I want to kill you”
and I was like “No, I want to kill you,”
and we kept that up for a good while.
But we resolved it so
now I’m happy, and
the sugars are solid
in the flesh of the pear
until a gale of diesel exhaust
blackens our lunch
and soots the café window.
Now I feel frustrated
at the cosmic antipathy
toward eating a decent pear.
It’s like this Iraq business,
or cancer out of nowhere.
One day everyone’s surplussing along,
the next day
all these people are dead.
The guy says
“That’s what a dick like you deserves,”
and I am angry with him again.
Call this a volatile
and artless set of moods,
self-centered, whatever,
but when the dog soldiers come to eat my heart,
their red velvet tunics
crusted hard in guts
that used to be wet,
I easily toss them my spleen
and as they gnash each other’s haunches
in a bloody dog soldier scrum
I skip away,
keeping my heart,
or so one says
to stay happy, happy, happy.



It’s Weird That So Many Animals Including Us Have Lungs

There was water everywhere and people drowned.
And the ones who didn’t drown got dysentery.
Fire ants floated in a ring until they found a treetop
and when the water was gone they came down
and ate whomever had died
and then whomever hadn’t.
It was bad.



A Monkey Could Write This Poem

And not even a trained one
and not even a chimp.
But the ones who aren’t so smart.
The ones who attack tourists in India.
They acclimate to people
and that makes them bold.
So they steal grape soda
and shrink-wrapped mangoes
and this makes them feel rich.
Which makes them paranoid.
Here come the smiling fatties,
Wealthy Monkey thinks,
they’re trying out a local word,
Dhanyavaad, Dhanyavaad.
Stupid khaki pants.
The next person who pets me
I bite their face.
Everyone wants my mangoes.



Immediately Upon Pruning a Favorite Tree

The surrounding life degrades
into tattered little cells of light
and in each cell
the cell’s iris opens
and we through it see
the cassowary,
blue but her black skull
like a plate broken through
her blue scalp,
digging about the fallen lemons,
convinced they are her eggs.