March 11-17, 2002: Kara Norman and J. Bradley

week of March 11-17, 2002

Kara Norman and J Bradley


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Kara Norman

Bio (auto)

I live in Richmond, Virginia, not much excitement here, but I’ve said that about many cities  I work at a record store, which suits me just fine, can’t argue with a job where you get paid to have an attitude  I attend college, where I am seeking two degrees in French and Statistics, no really, I am  I love to travel abroad as well as support local art and music and when I have the time, I enjoy writing poetry

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Kara Norman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Lemon Spring

By the hippie stand that sells lemon sugar elixir,
on a sun-warmed black iron bench,
she ignores Spearman and Jacques Demy Her shadow on crumbling bricks
shows wisps of her hair softly tangling in the breeze,
and pendulum feathers dangling from her ears The silver earrings create invisible magnetic field lines
in concentric circles around her neck,
and induce an electric force capable of keeping her
pipe-clamp necklace in equillibrium She hears bells echo from the antique jade temple,
its tower against an aquamarine sky Short, green spikes rise to the sun from their branches,
like the church, they wait for warmth,
while she passes time picking chips of paint
from the camouflaged bench;
the rust plays hide-and-seek with her chipping fingernails She’s sucking a lemon seed
while students stroll by, shades over their eyes,
still they squint at the horizon of their education,
as they pass through the heavy mirrored doors
into their scheduled semester lectures A stinging, cool wind sharply reminds her to open
her winter books and absorb her winter lessons,
but soon she will read Poppy Z Brite and Baudelaire She will wear shades and squint at her scholastic laziness,
as her steel-toed boots rest on a sun-warmed porch step She will drink a glass of lemon sugar elixir in Summer.

Blue Camel

I The neon glow of a blue camel
presides over the counter
and condones the smoke Long hall of a club,
duplex of drink bar and dance floor
with a smoke-screen door The blue camel watches Shards of mirror dangle
and tease clumsy ballerinas
with misshapen specks of happier skin Jewel strobe analyzed by those
glued to the wall with a sour mix drink Leather coats a man with a dark goatee Vinyl shapes the legs of a pink-haired imp Fishnet gloves the DJ, but a safety pin snags
and the record skips
II Tonal whine of string as the pitch increases Electrified solenoid shriek ends a coil of songs Guttural cough, a biker impatiently offbeat Hoarse laugh, flippant goddess impersonator Beer residue in green clanking bottles,
Smoke residue on yellow chattering teeth The hum of filament marches on
and leaves a wake of shining pavement
III Boots will cause blisters,
but to spiral in the sweat
is a meditation for the courageous Song remnants buzz in vodka soaked ears,
ashes ground into grenadine stained pants
and the shiver of skin emitting hormones Dragon tail smoke trails out the door Billboards of snake boots and country singers,
funded by the nearby Marlboro plant,
protrusions that jut into the cityscape But a fuzzy teal glow through the bar window
announces the true local cigarette brand.

April 30, 2000

I fell frog leg, sprawled,
a foot from my house
shiver down my back
to my numbing toes
inside boots,
which I dare not use
to defend myself
for fear of the sound I just heard Clanking, clicking single barrel
against the back of my metal necklace I’m not sure if it was street smarts
uncommon sense, illogical unintelligence
that made me throw my wallet
between my knees as I collapsed,
an accordion slinking to the muddy grass My hair, a canopy covering my calm face
more sober now than before
gin and tonic, screwdriver, tequila sunrise nightmare,
but my hands rose to my head
as if I were the culprit
and this young, frightened gangster
was arresting me for not protecting my friends He went for the distinct silver clenching to my fingers,
scraping skin, he pulled and had the audacity to call me “boo”,
a term of endearment that has always disgusted me,
“Boo!  I’m Casper the friendly ghost!”
He tugged again, “I don’t want to hurt you, boo “
I asked if I could give him my lineage
of presents and memories trapped in metal “Yes, boo, I just&Mac226; I don’t want to hurt you “
The rings slipped off
I heard crickets,
how quietly these men in black had flown around the corner
and I in my naiveté, innocent, I smiled,
expecting a joke, thinking I could summon reason They had walked by once, no words,
a warning, I know now Memories rushed of giggling toughness,
the stabbing, the car theft,
the women dying in her drive-by car,
a streak of nickel plated, chrome shiny rainbow
that nearly brushed my nose
then all I saw was my red weeping willow hair Tee pee brittle, my knees knocked to support me,
I barely remember how we filed through the back door That back door, which had opened sixty seconds ago,
four possible victims became three That back door, which had opened again,
as seven criminals flew around the brick,
a murder of crows in the night The whispered screams to confused ears,
“Get back in the house, get in the house!”
I was serene until my nervous hands
went to twitching fingers of habit
and my naked skin was what made me cry.

J Bradley

Bio (auto)

J Bradley is the Orlando Slammaster and host of the Broken Speech Poetry Slam, the best Poetry Slam in Orlando When he isn’t hosting, he tries to pick up women with his poetry Sadly, it never works He turns this rejection into the funniest poems that all can connect to, regardless of age, sex, color, creed, religion, and species Visit J on the web here:

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by J Bradley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

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
i want a woman
who is not afraid
to reject me
in new and innovative ways
don’t blow me off
with your mundane,
seen it on Growing Pains
a zillion times
blow-off lines
tell me
you are going to become
a nun
tell me
that you are going to save Third World nations
by joining the Peace Corps
tell me
you’ve been kidnapped by
a vegan terrorist cell
kidnapped by aliens
kidnapped by Walt Disney
tell me
you have contracted a rare disease
that will kill me
if i kiss you
one more time
tell me
you are a lesbian
and you were just using me
as your experimental foray
into heterosexuality
don’t tell me the truth
don’t tell me
that you can never love or like me
for me that will make me sad
being your friend
will just remind me of my shortcomings
of my failure
in wooing you
don’t be my friend burn that bridge
before you think
of crossing it
make sure
i burn
with it.

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