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Bradley Harrison




Are There Still Wild Horses in America

 I noticed several years between them

on the veranda. I wished them happy weather

but there was nothing I could do about the weather

and we all knew that. It is hard to believe one’s faith

some days: the party record you play at a funeral.

Some days we deem palm readers the least fraudulent

among us in their need to hold a hand, any hand at all.

And I suppose they were happy.

And then one day they were napping,

and then they were walking their dog

to its grave, and then they were in separate

rooms, and then they made desperate love,

and then they were normal, and I suppose

then one day they weren’t anymore.


Intermezzo in A Major

 Now I know the light in Vienna as one sings

coming towards me


I know worn-down houses

in the gutted industrial     in the decapitated


envelope     morning rages

from your clavicle


In my pocket     a threshold

In my gas tank   black rain


What a man in crisis

Christ is           a boy in London hidden

in the single white room

of his mother                     As I have at times


On these streets


Run the pianist down

The light in Vienna pulls at its blouse

There you are              also pulling


You are also in Auckland as I build my boat slowly


I am only a window     Do you see all the houses

Do you see     the man you love?

I refuse to live


A life in which I don’t get carried away

and often     A broken window cannot close

Now I know not         a mountain

to drive towards


I am so lost

to be American


Not that anything is or ever can be     even from over

wherever I am

the light in Vienna


We spoke up               new to feeling new


And also I am fragile


The evening years from this one

in a drifted café


I’ll hear Brahms

and there you are        with me


Clara how far

can your hands stretch?
At least across an ocean


Like most I know worth knowing

I need to quit drinking,

as every time I drink I fall in love,

and every time I fall in love

doors come off their hinges

signs come off their posts and posts

come out the ground, half

the varsity football team with bats

and crowbars and the mailboxes too

find their way to the fire

refusing to burn

as sometimes love will

drive you out into fields

in backs of pickups with all

the fucking stars clichéd

against night and you drift

on your back treading slowly

out in lake light

trying not to be seen

trying not to think

at the ways they refuse to lie

still as sometimes love will

float and sometimes love will

sing through the bottom

of the staff, stumble out

onto a balcony of birds

where the only part better

than the fall is the fall

after that and after that you get up

you get up and get it over


Bradley Harrison is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and a PhD student at the University of Missouri. His work can be found in New American WritingFugueNew Orleans ReviewForklift OhioBest New Poets 2012 and elsewhere. His chapbook, Diorama of a People, Burning is available from Ricochet Editions (2012).

Bradley Harrison grew up in small town Iowa and is a graduate of Truman State University. Currently a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas in Austin, his work can be found in Gulf Coast, CutBank, The Los Angeles Review, Hunger Mountain, New Orleans Review and other journals. His chapbook Diorama of a People, Burning is forthcoming from Ricochet Editions (Fall 2012).