Writers on Writing #71: J. Bradley
On Beginning The Bones of Us
There was stillness in the apartment the first morning she wasn't there anymore. I only left my office to go to the bathroom, ignoring the dwindling evidence of our life together.
On my way home from a reading the day before, I began drafting in my head a performance poem about melting my wedding band into a bullet. My mouth, my arms, wanted to create something that could shake an open mic or a poetry slam. I shut the fire hose off, coiled it tight.
It's easy to allow emotions to overwhelm writing, especially in poetry. When I read old notebooks, I see how my emotions corrupted tone and form. Here is an excerpt as Exhibit A:
reading the subtext when a woman says, "i just want to be friends," she says this to save face to be polite to not say
…."i don’t like you ….you geek”
or not say
…."you really creep me out ….if you don’t stop breathing ……..near me ….i’ll get a restraining order”
or not kick you firmly in the testicles.
In the stillness of that morning, isolated from the ruins of my marriage, the first line came: "It didn't take long for Paul to turn my wedding band into a bullet." It ended with a little girl biting into an apple, coughing up the princess sleeping inside her stomach.
J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books 2014). He lives at iheartfailure.net.