Aphorisms by John Bradley

John Bradley’s aphorisms are mundanely magnificent and nonchalantly sublime, like cracking open a fortune cookie to find not a saying but a symphony orchestra. Bradley‘s collection of aphorisms, Trancelumination, is out from Lowbrow Press in the autumn. He discovered the aphorism via Antonio Porchia, but says he finds himself “coming to the aphorism at a slant, as I’m a poet greatly influenced by surrealism. Maybe I should call them anti-aphorisms.” There is a definite sense of surrealism here, reminiscent of the fun surrealistic sayings of Paul Eluard and Benjamin Peret (Geary’s Guide, p. 369), which they gave the jocular title 152 Proverbs Adapted to the Taste of the Day. Bradley also invented the Journal of the International Collective of Cosmic Aphorists, a title his publisher likes so much that he now wants to create this very journal. “I feel like I stepped into a Borges short story,” Bradley quips. Step into Bradley’s surreal world of sentences here:

 

Smoke needs no passport.

 

Without love or malice, kiss your collarbone at least once a day.

 

Carry the fruit or the worm, your choice, but carry something.

 

Rain speaks many dialects, yet no one ever requires a translator.

 

The sparrow that built its nest inside the fire alarm has no need of a fire extinguisher.

 

A photograph of an open mouth reminds me of the space between the rungs of a ladder.

 

I made a list of everything I love. Then a list of everything I find annoying. They were exactly the same.