October 20, 2012

Only Over My Dead Body

I love working on poems tied to a single, linking concept. One of those was my Kama Sutra series where each poem was the Kama Sutra of a person, a place, or a thing (here’s some of my favorites). Lately, my poem cycles have involved documenting things leading up to a relationship, the aftermath of a relationship, the disintegration of a relationship (with the exception of the Porn for the Blind series) but never the inner workings of how a relationship failed.

As of tomorrow, it will be five weeks since I broke up with my most recent girlfriend. The cycle I’m writing now helped me realize what I was willing to tolerate in said relationship, what I shouldn’t be willing to tolerate. After two more (it’s based on the Doomsday Clock), I’m done with that series.

I retreat back to fiction when I’m happy. I have nothing to document in that state, having the emotional clarity to create something new. All this introspection causes the poems to come out.

I wish sometimes that the emotional clarity in the poems would come out in the non-poetry moments that matter, the arguments, the serious discussions. I also wish that I wasn’t such a chameleon in a relationship, adaptable to the point where it can be harmful to my own ego and self-worth.

As of Monday, I’ll be in Memphis on business for 13 days, 12 nights. It will be isolating. Hopefully the acute void will help with some other writing projects that I’m working on.


I’m guilty of starting concepts I never finish with. One was this concept (I lost the anger and the emotional velocity. You can purchase some of the best of parts of this concept here) and the other was a collection of flash fiction pieces where each story ends with a Mexican standoff. This piece, published by The Holler Box, is from that failed idea. Enjoy. Bonus points if you know where the title came from.


I normally don’t drink before I read. However, I did at the latest Mr. Pierre’s Hump Day show because I was doing work I’ve done before and I had a hard day. I performed this with a band backing me and it was a blast.


Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. i love this blog format – i think it really suits you. i relate to a lot of the love issues you describe, although from a slightly different angle. i do some 12 step work around my stuff. i’d describe myself as a love addict/codependent. i have changed a lot through working on my core issues – so i don’t act out the way i once did – but amazingly i still feel some of the same things that drew me to unavailable men and away from available ones. before “recovery” i used the material of my addiction in my poetry, my writing, but i didn’t know it. and then one day i realized that the writing had become in a way an extension of that addiction: concocting a fantasy about a person, a relationship, or what i felt was missing and getting off on the artful telling of it. plus a lot of other things, a lot of other symptoms. it’s been really brutal at times, my unwinding of this, and trying to put it back together. things are settling out now and i’ve been able to write again.

    your writing is fantastic. nice to have found you on the web.

  2. oops. i just figured out why it looks different – i am on your wordpress site, not your tumblr site! anyway, it’s cool…


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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.

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


flash fiction, performances, poetry, publication news, self assessment, Writing


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