23 April 2014

Prose Poem

Possibility had seemed like a matter of counting backwards.

Growing up we saw the awful bungling in our books.

Our blood flowed as though it, and us, were a part of something bigger.

Secret truths signaled to us.

Our cousins drifted away like money.

We pass by each other in a vast forest.

We wonder about importance.

We grow small.

Smaller still is the stuff of the universe.

Your roommate gets lost and he hasn't paid his share of the rent.

Turns out the world is just a world.

We stand in shallow graves and try to think of something to say.

20 April 2014

Plum Blossoms in Snow

A didgeridoo announces your misspelled arrival.

Worse things have happened.

We're not sure what.

Professors are looking into things.

Birds have interesting inner workings.

A misunderstood caw.

It's a conclusion, anyway.

Tuvan throat singing remains an esoteric pleasure.

Had Sibelius lived longer...

You wander the grassy expanse.

The wind howls, as it does.


It's the parking lot of a K-Mart.

They're busting unions and selling underwear.

Seems as though you've been here before.

Suddenly you're old.

23 May 2012

This Website Has Moved

Please check out bradliening.com. This website will remain here as a museum slash treasure trove of old poems, reviews, automatic writings, and other literary and artistic effluvia. There are just about 1000 posts in the archives. In the meantime, some links of note:

Hell Yes Press
InDigest Magazine
Lowbrow Press


23 April 2012

21 Love Poems: On Sale Now!

This handsome cassette is for sale over at the Hell Yes website. Click here to check it out.

17 April 2012

A Very Personal Message To The Poetry Community On Behalf Of Diane Di Prima...

Diane di Prima is obviously an important figure in American letters, and she could use a little help and love right now. Click here to read a post by Amber Tamblyn at the Poetry Foundation and find out what you can do.

14 April 2012

21 Love Poems Mix Tape Release Party TONIGHT!

6:00 PM CST
Boneshaker Books
2002 23rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

28 March 2012

There's News from Hell Yes Press

from the Hell Yes Press website:

Dear Friends,

Hell Yes Press is pleased to announce that 21 Love Poems is available in limited release. 21 Love Poems is an anthology of love poems on cassette, read to you by the poets themselves.

There are 2 ways to get this bad boy:

1. We're officially launching this anthology at the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City, IA, on Saturday, March 31, as part of the Small Press and Literary Journal Book Fair (at the Mill, 120 E Burlington St). Come by the book fair between 11 AM and 4 PM.

If you can't make it to Mission Creek...

2. Come to our Minneapolis launch party in April. Details are forthcoming, but rest assured said details are rad.

If you can't make it to the Minneapolis launch...

3. Cassettes will then be for sale after the launch via our website, also in April, if we have not sold out already. The run is limited to 65 cassettes.

Purchase in any capacity includes a downloadable PDF chapbook of the anthology so you can read along as you listen to our contributors' voices. Contributors include:

Monica Wendel
Steven Karl
Dina Hardy
Scott Abels
Dustin Luke Nelson
Tyler Gobble
MC Hyland
Patrick Kiley
Elizabeth Spackman
David Bartone
Gregory Lawless
Ada Limón
Dan Rosenberg
Nick Sturm
Alexis Orgera
Matt Hart
Jess Grover
Ryan Collins
Adam Fell
Isaac Sullivan
Masin Persina

With artwork by the amazing Joseph Rizzo. Thank you to all of the people who made this possible.



It's a strange coincidence that Adrienne Rich died today--Hell Yes cribbed the title from her great poem, obviously.

17 March 2012

Rainer Maria Rilke: "Black Cat"

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

16 March 2012

Samuel Beckett: from "Waiting for Godot"

Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.

15 March 2012

Emily Dickinson: "640"

I cannot live with You –
It would be Life –
And Life is over there –
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to –
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain –
Like a Cup –

Discarded of the Housewife –
Quaint – or Broke –
A newer Sevres pleases –
Old Ones crack –

I could not die – with You –
For One must wait
To shut the Other's Gaze down –
You – could not –

And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze –
Without my Right of Frost –
Death's privilege?

Nor could I rise – with You –
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus' –
That New Grace

Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye –
Except that You than He
Shone closer by –

They'd judge Us – How –
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to –
I could not –

Because You saturated Sight –
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be –
Though My Name
Rang loudest
On the Heavenly fame –

And were You – saved –
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not –
That self – were Hell to Me –

So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here –
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer –
And that White Sustenance –
Despair –

14 March 2012

William Shakespeare: "Sonnet 14"

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy;
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find.
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert:
Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

13 March 2012

James Dickey: "The Heaven of Animals"

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

12 March 2012

Gertrude Stein: "Guillame Apollinaire"

Give known or pin ware.
Fancy teeth, gas strips.
Elbow elect, sour stout pore, pore caesar, pour state at.
Leave eye lessons I. Leave I. Lessons. I. Leave I lessons, I.

10 March 2012

Shakespeare: "Sonnet 97"

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

William Matthews: "The Bear at the Dump"

Amidst the too much that we buy and throw
away and the far too much we wrap it in,
the bear found a few items of special
interest--a honeydew rind, a used tampon,
the bone from a leg of lamb. He'd rock back
lightly onto his rear paws and slash
open a plastic bag, and then his nose--
jammed almost with a surfeit of rank
and likely information, for he would pause--
and then his whole dowsing snout would
insinuate itself a little way
inside. By now he'd have hunched his weight
forward slightly, and then he'd snatch it back,
trailed by some tidbit in his teeth. He'd look
around. What a good boy am he.
The guardian of the dump was used
to this and not amused. "He'll drag that shit
every which damn way," he grumbled
who'd dozed and scraped a pit to keep that shit
where the town paid to contain it.
The others of us looked and looked. "City
folks like you don't get to see this often,"
one year-round resident accused me.
Some winter I'll bring him down to learn
to love a rat working a length of subway
track. "Nope," I replied. Just then the bear
decamped for the woods with a marl of grease
and slather in his mouth and on his snout,
picking up speed, not cute (nor had he been
cute before, slavering with greed, his weight
all sunk to his seated rump and his nose stuck
up to sift the rich and fetid air, shaped
like a huge, furry pear), but richly
fed on the slow-simmering dump, and gone
into the bug-thick woods and anecdote.

09 March 2012

George Oppen: "Leviathan"

Truth also is the pursuit of it:
Like happiness, and it will not stand.

Even the verse begins to eat away
In the acid. Pursuit, pursuit;

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.

How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—

We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable

Is the 'preponderance of objects,' The sky lights
Daily with that predominance

And we have become the present.

We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

08 March 2012

Wilfred Owen: "Futility"

Move him into the sun --
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds --
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, -- still warm, -- too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
-- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?