Timothy Bradford's poetry and other writings have appeared in Bombay
Gin, Diagram, Eclectica, Forward, H_NGM_N, JBooks, Mudlark,
Poems & Plays, Runes, and Terminus, among others. He is the author of
the introduction to Sadhus, a photography book on the ascetics of South
Asia published by Cuerpos Pintados in 2003, and he received the Koret
Foundation's Young Writer on Jewish Themes Award for 2004-2005 for his
novella-in-progress, based on the history of the Velodrome d'Hiver in Paris.
In the fall of 2005, he was a writer-in-residence and visiting lecturer at
Translation of Distance
They imagined days of vacation
via marks on the calendar, but in the actual
foothills of mental health
near Mt. Sanitas, so much muddier
than in memory, his mind feels impaled
on a wrought-iron fence, his patience
eaten by a mountain lion. Some monks
find sanity among family difficult.
His son disappears for a beat too long
--mountain lion?--then re-appears
from a molded plastic miniature castle
that he loves to hide in, pretending
to be a dog or feral cat
before returning to them a boy
with muddy knees.
Despite this play, the day ends
with little satisfaction, feels
like his wife's family's slide show.
Scrambled images click and whir
into focus on the white wall
while disembodied voices
offer interpretations from around
the darkened room. Sometimes
accord, sometimes not. Who
will order her family's inchoate history?
Later, on the porch, having completely forgotten
the Vinaya Pitaka's prohibition of alcohol, or pretending
to some knowledge of the indulgent Vajrayana school,
he relaxes with Drambuie and the words of Bodhidharma:
Open spaces--nothing holy.
"Relaxes" is an anagram for drunk, "open" rhymes with avoidance,
and nothing can write the adequate weight
of mountain air pouring over the pass from
the west. Over the bones of the day.
And he sees the wind has no patience,
which, unlike what his old teacher
Lama Patience said, seems a virtue.
On their walk the next day, his son
and he find a memorial
to Chief Niwot of Too Much Patience,
who was murdered with his people.
At the town's public library, three ripped
Lakota-Sioux hand out books
on child-rearing and hustle change.
During lunch in the library's small cafe,
his son sees Boulder Creek as going up and up,
not spatially away. He reads
the first three pages of Basho's
Narrow Road to the Interior.
His son climbs the creek to the sky.
Suddenly, he is related
to nothing save the rushing
water and the plastic
play castle, distant relative
to the ones built
by medieval samurai.
Ten miles. They walk ten miles and eat and read.
A good day by most accounts. Now the moon
does not exist above the low, pregnant clouds.
He sheds his robes and becomes
an embryo inside
the illuminated house of glass.
Your immanence, like a rusted hound,
St. Bernard Mastiff shrunk in rain to Poodle Pe-
kingese. The road was long. And winding.
Windy, too. And your knees knocked
on the macadam as you fell from da feet
to da chest and da hands. Kiss my black
gravel barrel, suck tarry wind, it sang.
You really should run more often, you
thought in anagram. "You" disguised as
me, which means oui.
Dear Anselm, let's call my daily life
Vermeer, my other life Goya. One
flooded with quiet light as a figure toils
making crepes dentelles, the other
the impact of being shot in a gauzy
white shirt while the mouth of night gnaws on
yr head. Furthermore, dawn and dusk
have been as subtle as buzz saws lately,
motoring across the sky of a consciousness
etched clean of words.
Summer always finds us--I, you, him,
the Proteus lie of pronouns, the protons
clear valance like a recorded, scratchy
bell. My head's not right, right?
Ring on the third stop, exit the diesel
beast and climb the chipped, garrulous
steps to the top. Stop. Ring again.
The thing that opens is a door. The
thing that opens what opens
is me. No verse, straight-on.
Past Life Drift
Their meeting? The sound
of a drawer of cutlery being quickly
drawn open, jangled. The nerve
set infinite, cut fresh fig on a
holographic plate. East Jerusalem,
1967, he knew they'd met
before, but it was queer, this
realignment of eyes when not
disguised by gun scopes. Blam, blam.
The sight of her bare breasts.
The Dead Sea taste
on his skin. And holy was the rifle,
the matzo and the sin.
Back to Front.