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Epos, Epyllia
and Long Poems

Injuring Eternity by Tom Bradley
Guernica Editions

A precocious boy and his harried father are making a movie from scratch, using only materials in the backyard—or at least entertaining the possibilities. Their discussion embraces material science, biology and ethics, then expands to an examination of various cosmogonies and cosmologies, new and old, rational and borderline-psychotic. The bright boy’s pouting importune for full-time parenting is balking the old man’s efforts to go to work, until the encounter becomes a duel to the death--

...our half-blink of neat freedom, mortal coil
successfully off-shuffled, once, for all,
subséquent to a finished life of squirms.
It lasts, this liberation, say, how long:
a single flick’s immensurate duration,
a short-short subject, lit by half a pinch
of volatile magnesium, wrung from weeds...

“When is the world going to wake up to the genius of Tom Bradley? … One of the most criminally underrated authors on the planet.”
—Andrew Gallix. of the Guardian, Financial Times, Irish Times, New Statesman, BBC Radio 3, the Independent, Literary Review, the Times Literary Supplement





Energeticum - Phantasticum, A Profane Epyllion, written in seven cantos by Tom Bradley
MadHat Press

This poem, extending over fourteen hundred and sixty lines of blank verse, recounts history's first deliberate experimentation with LSD-25 (phantastica). Ernst Jünger, the notorious death-worshiping Iron Cross Honoree, slips in some amphetamine (energetica), resulting in a manifestation of the Plasmator, the insane spirit who has masqueraded as Jehovah for three millennia.

During this Ur-bummer time and space are roundly violated. We sit in with Mozart as he composes an inferior concerto for an obese patron. We help Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin annihilate humanity in the Himalayas. We reduce Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins to little boys and tuck them into their bunk-bed for the night, where they suffer lucid dreams of Roman beast wranglers and concentration camp matrons hiding in the closet. The Plasmator barges back in and assumes the shape of Wayne Newton, the Midnight Idol, who closes off the show with a guest appearance, live from Las Vegas.

page 6 of Energeticum - Phantasticum, A Profane Epyllion, written in seven cantos by Tom Bradleypage 7 of Energeticum - Phantasticum, A Profane Epyllion, written in seven cantos by Tom Bradley

The passages in red ink are inspired by the Comma Johanneum, a marginal gloss that, in the third century, was slipped into the western Bible by a sleepy copyist or a naughty forger. For eighteen hundred years people have been tangling over that brief clause. It has exercised everyone from Erasmus to Calvin to Newton to Pope Pius XI, because it determines whether the Trinity is true fact or flimflammery.

In the same spirit of troublemaking, Energeticum/Phantasticum's red-ink glosses will sometimes misdirect, as do Tom Bradley's footnotes to This Wasted Land, Felicia's Nose and Epigonesia.





Useful Despair as Taught to the Hemorrhaging Slave of an Obese Eunich
MadHat Press

Set during Nero's psychotic reign, this BLANK VERSE EPIC plunges a transsexed priestess of a Phrygian fertility cult into the becalmed Adriatic. He/She's attended by his/her erotically indecisive traveling partner who can't swim a stroke, and is clinging to him/her in this exhausted frame of mind--

...For me the Adriatic's sickly-warm,
as one imagines amniotic sauce
to be, or maybe recollects it as.
Existence dragged beyond the edge of surfeit
this time around, I balk to get re-sucked
into the crumby syrup of the womb....

see some of Nick Patterson's illustrations