Brad Rose

Note to Self

I am my own equivalent.
I’m named after myself.
I’m someone who’s memorized a secret vocabulary
to describe the future.
I believe the world is alphabetical,
that it’s moving unstoppably from A to Z.
Of course, I have to remind myself
that we see only the hands of the clock,
not time, itself,
and that no matter how far we go,
it’s just the distance traveled,
but there are so many directions
it’s difficult to know
which way to proceed.
You can stand perfectly still,
but the commotion is your head
is a red radio
playing all the blue songs, at once,
a box of nails nailed to a wall of boxes.

Once, I got mad at my friend.
It happened in a car.
It was an accident.
I didn’t mean for it to happen,
but it did.
Most things happen that way.
Even music, even death.

Did you know that hummingbirds sing?
They sing to themselves.
You can’t hear them,
I can’t hear them,
but they sing, anyway.

It’s like attending the funeral of someone
you don’t know.
You’re sorry they’re dead,
but you can’t cry,
you can’t shed a tear,
unless they’re someone
who reminds you of someone.
Then you cry.
You cry your eyes out
because you can’t help it.
You cry because they remind you
of someone who reminds you
of you.

Quarry Lake

Cement-dry August. All day, I’ve studied my memories. The past will not apologize. It’s a jeweler cutting stones, but not diamonds.

Underneath that misspelled tattoo, your smooth, bronze skin, a membrane of beauty.

On the phone, you declared, This is not my life, then hung up.

All those years I was afraid to swim in Quarry Lake, its anonymous bottom, like an unlit room, locked.

The police reported it as an accident. I know you were not afraid. Time running out, the underwater crew recovered you, just before their deadline.

Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston. He is a 2013 recipient of Camroc Press Review’s Editor’s Favorite Poetry Award and the 2014 winner of unFold Magazine’s “FIVE (5) Contest” for his found poem “Signs of Reincarnation at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, NY, NY.” Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, The Potomac, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Common Line Journal, The Molotov Cocktail, Sleetmagazine, Monkeybicycle, Camroc Press Review, MadHat Lit, Burning Word, and other publications. Links to his poetry and fiction can be found at http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com/, including his chapbook of miniature fiction, “Coyotes Circle the Party Store,” https://sites.google.com/site/bradroserhpchapbook/ . Audio recordings of a selection of Brad’s published poetry can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/bradrose1.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 7)

 
Welcome to this, our seventh issue of Posit, which rings in the end of summer with a number of works concerned, more and less directly, with love and loss. Although the travails of the heart are foregrounded in the pieces by Carl Boon, Joan Cappello, B.K. Fischer, Amorak Huey, and Simon Perchik, we also perceive a fittingly elegiac aspect in this issue’s contributions by Andrew Collard, Ian Miller, Brad Rose and Katherine Soniat. So, it is with the greatest pleasure and admiration that we present:

Carl Boon’s evocative narratives, seeded with unsettling admissions and haunting insights, in which “One of us grew older, / the other grew silent . . ./ as the children collided / with monsters . . .” and “We see/the moth imposed upon,/balance indistinct from flight;”

Joan Capello’s potent prose miniatures, inviting us into the narrator’s emotional core even as they pull us up short with their reminders of “hypoallergenic bed clothes” and tellingly developed tics;

Andrew Collard’s enigmatic elegies, which challenge us to imagine a world in which “loneliness is its own falling” and “Hunters of the paper-tin drip on like ages, / impart the finest ripples as they come and unbecome;”

Joanna Penn Cooper’s gracefully grounded musings on parenting and other intersections of self and other, infused with an artist’s sensitivity to the magic of an everyday touched by the “daimon, not demon;”

B.K. Fischer’s pitch-perfect, penetrating prosody, honed into verses as wistful as they are sharp, positioning the staccato musicality of “your chorus,/your orchid-rhymes-with-orange oracle, your/stiletto Geppetto pancetta vendetta latte/hottie” beside puzzles such as “what’s the use/of violent kinds of delightfulness/if there’s no pleasure in not getting/tired of it?”

Amorak Huey’s haunting deployment of the image in language as brisk and ringing as “I am the cracked limb. The lightning scar. The smell of ash,” creating a complex amalgam of hope and resignation, nostalgia and realism: “After so many/trips to any empty mailbox, even the sky/would fall out of love with the sand;”

The resonance and reach of Stephanie King’s sharply compressed, cryptic formulations whose curt simplicity opens into such mysteries as “I’m quite sure the groan is interior” and “This is a mental aroma;”

The concrete yet magical flash fictions of Ian Patrick Miller, touching down in Prague, Chicago, and Hawaii with a deft touch that offers glimpses of a daughter who “goes to sleep inside her lips, the mouth of secrets,” a wife with a fever like “a hived, winged thing,” and a mass of angels “heaped, quills snapped, eyes blinded, long sinewy arms reaching up for whatever has tossed them down;”

Simon Perchik’s poignant and unvarnished probing of the realities of love and loss, in which “the moon behind the moon/works its huge tides” and the survivor’s struggle to come to terms with a beloved’s mortality is “bit by bit broken apart/with care and mornings;”

Brad Rose’s stark combination of irony, plain speaking, and elegiac lyricism, giving us poems as memorable and disturbing as the Quarry Lake victim’s “smooth, bronze skin, a membrane of beauty;”

Gary Sloboda’s eloquent elegies to time and its ravages, including the (deceased) poet Hannah Weiner, time itself: “erased in a fine gauze of leaves, a tide of quivering stains,” and of course mortality: “our watchfulness and the abattoir to which the watching leads” – for all ephemeral beauties, including “our bodies . . . tending their evanescence;”

And Katherine Soniat’s elegantly crafted new pieces, displaying her “quick-silver tongue . . . always wanting one more eternity,” taking on scripture, which “drools and rolls over” for “these twitchy recurring regressions through sex, greed/and bedlam” as well as the hubris of those of us “upright one[s] – who think ourselves first and foremost, especially while writing poetry.”

As ever, thank you for reading, and our special thanks to our contributors (past, present, and future) for entrusting their extraordinary work to Posit.

—Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann

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It is my pleasure to introduce the visual art of Posit 7.

Working in the genre of ‘official’ portraiture, Carl LeMieux presents us with images of our American presidential pantheon unlike any commissioned by the White House. They are funny, irreverent and revealing of the mythos surrounding each of them.

The objects Matt Mitros creates are a combination of scientific experiments gone sideways and a science fiction vision of the world. Surreal and beautiful, they seem to be born of their own universe.

Similarly, Chris Motley has taken the craft of knitting and elevated the process into the realm of contemporary sculpture. Reminiscent of the natural world, her biomorphic forms delight us with their surprising marriage of humble materials and sophisticated conceptualization.

Mark Perlman’s beautifully composed abstract paintings are deliciously lyrical. Color and line move in a syncopated way that juxtaposes fragments of pattern and form in richly layered surfaces.

Chris Schiavo’s unaltered iPhone photographs of the New York City subway have a fevered, dreamlike quality. Presenting bits of recognizable images poking through abstracted patterns of light and line, they capture the rhythm and energy of a metropolitan population on the move.

Enjoy!

—Melissa Stern