3 AM, the Night of the Cast Party, and I Wonder Where You Are by Brad Rose

Brad Rose shows us to the dark of night and dark of soul in the corners and outskirts of the city. His audio recordings of his readings lend a gritty intimacy to his words.

Pyromaniac on Parole

Small and anxious, like caged dogs,
the neighboring bungalows are captive
to barred windows and dangling,
mid-June Christmas decorations.
From a slow, passing sedan, a wave of music
plays backwards, un-remembering, as it rolls by.
The sky, a scorched haze,
low and without birds.

Quiet as vapor, I turn the corner.
There’s something absolute in the air,
like a desert island ruled by an omnipotent leper.
If one of these houses was to catch fire,
spark, say, into a healthy blaze
and burn from the inside out,
even the trapped flames couldn’t escape.

The dry lawns, as if asleep, lie down before me.
The distant sun rehearses its quiet fire.
I don’t smoke.
In my clenched fist, a cigarette lighter.
The rest cannot be explained.

Listen to Brad Rose reading: Pyromaniac on Parole.

I’m Afraid You’ll Have to Evacuate the Building

I’m searching for a cure for rain.
I’m depending on the kindness of animals.
My skin is a vacant room.
I want to live in Disneyland.

My brother says I should be careful.
I sit too close to the screen,
make too many keystrokes.
My tears might be recorded for training purposes.

I’ve learned nowhere is safe from Satan.
Life is a burning window,
bones and blood, unsuitable for any occasion.
My voice is thinking for me.

Aren’t these beautiful decision trees?
I envy their see-through questions, their arrowed roots.
Like a god, a mosquito walks on water.
I ask, do I look like a bomb to you?

Listen to Brad Rose reading: I’m Afraid You’ll Have to Evacuate the Building.

3 AM, the Night of the Cast Party, and I Wonder Where You Are

I bolt awake,
gulp the vacant moment.
Outside, junk skyline,
octopus metal in the twist distance,
the good blinking of it,
while lightning white cars
slow-slither streets.
Everything is an atom of itself.
Death sentences, grisly pretty,
amid light-up shout music.

That leading man,
one lacquered nothing,
wing-sunk and experimenting
in his mirrored charm garden,
painting honeysuckle dust
beneath a summersault sky,

and you,

want’s dream, maundering
in a fierce somewhere, no gravity,
an untethered satellite of yourself,
an avalanche of uncollected sex data.

Lights dim,
a curtain rises.

Listen to Brad Rose reading: 3 AM, the Night of the Cast Party, and I Wonder Where You Are.

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Brad Rose was born in Queen of Angels Hospital, raised in Los Angeles and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015.) Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction, Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Lunch Ticket, Folio, decomP, The Baltimore Review, The Midwest Quarterly, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Posit, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing and other publications. Brad is the author of three electronic chapbooks: Democracy of Secrets, Dancing School Nerves and Coyotes Circle the Party Store. Explore his poetry and fiction and audio recordings of his poetry and learn more about him in a personal interview.