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Jesse Bradley
J. Bradley invented revenge in the year 103 CE. He loves like an empty wallet on a first date. His first collection of poetry, "Dodging
Traffic" came out October 2009 through Ampersand Books.  Lust for him @

Son, when you start writing poetry
you'll be tempted to say things like
"If I slit my wrists, I would bleed
rhetorical questions."

This is called a slam line,
a concept that redefines a moment
into asthmatics stealing oxygen
from an audience.

That's why slam poets are grateful
audiences don't have the text;
give them more than a moment
to figure out what you're saying,
they're gonna ask
"what the fuck was that?"

They'd write feedback on the margins
like an unpopular yearbook:
"This is filler.  I hope you don't live
like you write because it sucks
when the focus of your existence
is stalling for time."

It's ok if you want to stretch your verse
like underwear and water wings
but be prepared to pluck the stingers
from your neck and forearms.

Failure is hard.  I've learned to wear it
like Magnum condoms so I can fuck victory
from the jaws of defeat.  You'll use it
to throw galas of pity; I won't stop you
from the way you treat your tears
like hors d'oeuvres.

Every writer needs a focus
so I give you this crucifix of Raymond Carver
nailed to a bottle of gin and a typewriter.
Look hard at the text engraved
in the bottle neck: "No tricks".

May this mantra snap at your back
when you crack your knuckles, think
of crafting lines that marginalia
and time eat alive, realize the poetry
in failure.