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Brad Rose

Never Can Tell

Every day offers an opportunity to explore your personal style, so yesterday I painted open eyes on my sleep mask. You, too, can learn to see things in a different light. It just takes a little practice. Sometimes it’s hard to know who we really are. Deep down we’re all just persons, although those twin robots who received the face transplants at their birthday party are still searching for their birth mothers. This week, thanks to the hollow bees, I received more stings than a flutter of jellyfish. Didn’t hurt a bit. Sure, I’ve read the Voodoo Bible, but I’m not a member of any clubs. I could care less about the terrorists’ rebranding. Melisa says I’m too unfathomable to be deep. What choice do I have? A strict determinist with a mediocre IQ, I always look both ways before crossing the street. As fate would have it, you never can tell.



The moderate extremists are enjoying their fun—first come, first served—when the torture music starts, and I begin to feel itchy as a pack of wild dogs at a flea circus. In the noisy corners, their co-conspirators are busy disseminating their anti-conspiracy theories, and it dawns on me that no matter how long I live, I’m only going to make as much money as I’ll ever make. It’s not random chance, it’s the other kind. Evidently, since the inspector general refused to investigate himself, no one believes the exculpatory evidence. And who can blame them? You need more than luck to avoid boredom in the outfield, so I always carry my copy of The Illustrated Guide to the Underworld in the event that there are no further events. The Egyptians knew a thing or two about death and hieroglyphics, which is why I lie, but I don’t curse. A blue-green gem blazing bright in a black, broken, void, earth is a beautiful planet. Mr. Scissors phoned and said I should visit it for a while, take a little time, get my bearings.


Who Could Ask for More?

Just tuned-up my flamethrower, otherwise it wouldn’t be a fair fight. God knows, it’s not easy working in the service sector. Pretty soon, I’m going to reverse my polarities, too. Shake things up a little. Have you ever wondered what’s under all those islands? They look like they’ve lost a lot of weight. If you asked them, they’d probably blame it on someone else. Of course, before the invention of answers, everyone just had questions. Mostly, they talked to themselves. I’m not complaining, mind you. I mean, who doesn’t like a department store holiday? Summer breezes, grass skirts, the hula, no criminal charges pending. By the way, the animals are looking out for something upright and furless that might shoot and eat them. Close your eyes. So many great memories.


Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of three collections of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015), de/tonations, (Nixes Mate Press, 2020), and Momentary Turbulence (Cernvena Barva Press, 2020). WordinEdgeWise from Cerven Barva Press is forthcoming in 2022. His sixth chapbook, Collateral, was recently released by Right Hand Pointing. Brad’s poetry has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The American Journal of Poetry, New York Quarterly, Cloud Bank, Into the Void, and other publications. (A complete list of publications is available at: ) Brad’s website is: Selected readings are available at


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