In the middle of one conversation my lady friend and I were having with a stranger outside of our favorite bar about being in survival mode, I brought up the fact that writing helped me a lot process my divorce. My lady friend said she was afraid what I would write about her if we broke up.

Defamation is easy. Revenge fantasies are easy. Saying ‘fuck you’ is easy. I don’t do easy, the ‘it’s your fault we’re no longer together’ or ‘If I change, will you come back” pieces. This is a poem I wrote after an ex left me for someone else and kicked me out of the apartment we lived in so her new girlfriend could move in. (I apologize in advance for all the lower case I’s in advance but I had this whole E. E. Cummings fetish in my early-mid 20s that made me an emo-dick.)

Moving Day

today
is moving day
and the boxes,
the skeletal remains of bed frames
and other furniture
are not a strong metaphor
to the packing and stacking i have had to do
in my chest
and in my head.

this home
is no longer a home
but a mausoleum
littered with ashes of memories,
cast off kisses,
faded laughter,
and fingertip tickles
left behind in every space.

this was supposed to be our first place
now
it has become our last.

today is moving day
and the shouts between lovers and families
are not loud enough
to get me to say anything,
to stir me into beating my fists and tongue
against futility.
you have become the iceberg
that carves through the hulls of ships slowly
as you watch them sink.

the harder it is for me to speak to you
the easier it is to live without you
because all the goodbyes i had left
have been spent.

there will be no resurrection,
no reunion,
nothing left but the opaque wall of silence
erected
so there would be no second thoughts
about looking back and saying
hello.

today is moving day
and i have replaced my heart
with a moebius strip
because i have realized that love and loss
always fluctuate.
it’s learning to hold on to love for as long as you can
before loss takes it away
that’s the trick.

you should always enjoy saying
hello
but always remember
that you will have to say goodbye
someday.

hello.

goodbye.

The poems after that were about me processing the break up and about new women I stumbled onto. April-September of 2010 was the same cycle, though way more pieces about processing the separation and divorce because I was with my ex-wife for over six years and that’s a hard thing to shake when you’ve been with someone for over six years.

I will not write about fatal flaws, annoying quirks, regrets (mine, imagining yours). I examine the wreckage and report my findings.

I hope if you write and you are reading this that you do the same, that you are not taking the easy way out with ‘fuckyoubitch’ art but examining yourself and the entire situation and taking into consideration not just what your partner did wrong but what you did wrong in your relationship. Don’t be afraid to call yourself out. You sometimes need to do that to grow as a writer and as a person.

Speaking of break ups, “I Think The Kids Are In Trouble”, one of my We Will Celebrate Our Failures stories is up over at Haggard & Halloo. Click here to check it out.

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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

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poetry, publication news, self assessment

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