"The Magpie Mirror Test," "A Murmation of Flutters," and "A Chance Meeting On The Strip"

The Magpie Mirror Test

Someone stained my blood with
dropper bottle dye. Bodies as
cinch-waisted ladies. Evolving,
we applauded, from glass to
plastic. Inventions in marble
mottling, easter egg dipping.
Bobbling away from us like
icebergs into vinegars of
calving blue arteries &
penguin blood. Strained by baleen,
beached & dried in little auk baskets.
This old blood. Old-fashioned in its
primary colors. Then shaved ice
came along in digital billboards
of blue raspberry; and we softened
on progress, and our teeth ached
on progress, and our brains cinched
on progress, and then our sun.
Our sun makes me feel crackled
like a dime-store child's makeup.
Our sun like when every caramel
brown sugar became a gimmick
of clear soda, sour taffy, cellophane
stomachs, & pregnant keychains.
Our sun because we claimed &
netted it as a bluefin tuna.
A pop of golden roe on a
bed of steamed rice. Spiked
under a naive & vulnerable
jaw, like infant skulls hiding
pitfalls for clumsy giants' thumbs.
Mirror red test magpies,
Infinite proud revealers:
Now with regret, but still with
soda can straws of regret.
Now with air fryers & steam ovens
of regret. Now softer, now
crisper. Scratching at the red spot
on something clearer. Crunching
so loud on ice no one listens
underwater for our gentler
convictions. No one needs us
now that we're netted, like plastic,
in every bolder medium,
at every lesser turn.



A Murmuration of Flutters

Your stethoscope smells
like miles of heart.
Rub it on the rulers
of your institutions.



A Chance Meeting On The Strip

Recycling plastic Picassos
into our blue bin period of conceits.
Cash strapped Hell that's hot humans
flocking wall-mount contraptions,
spitting out ramping up receipts.
Licking at sweating window
pulpit performance, Notice:
Only a pope gets a bullet-proof
classroom. I've been to Rome—
on the Travel Channel, unfazed:
Salvation is something you save
up for. Sell off your purity ring
for a Vegas drive-thru wedding.
Our glittering God it's hot humans
squatting on the last ice machines.
At night our flamingo dreams fill
with the most mysterious water.
It sounds like Titanic but rains
over-the-counter candy bars
wrapped in parchment constitutions.
Everlasting eastern sponge cake,
meet the western kernel of cool:
Jesus Christ, it's The King!—
leading us to a simple switch
on the Colorado River
      Where we can reverse
            the whole fucking thing.



Bradley David

Bradley David's poetry, fiction, images, and genre-blending works appear in Terrain.org, Allium, Rougarou, Exacting Clam, Always Crashing, Anti-Heroin Chic, and numerous other publications and anthologies. He is Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated, and won Identity Theory's 2022 2022-Word Poetry Contest. Bradley is also the hybrids senior editor at JMWW Journal. He lives with his partner on an acre just outside Los Angeles where he rescues poultry, bribes wildlife, and pouts about the general state of affairs. Selected work at provincejournal.com. Bradley recommends Mojave Desert Land Trust.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - 21:03