Chocolate Heaven | Flagstaff | Tropical Malady


poems by Jason Bredle


Chocolate Heaven

It can be hard to look at all beings
with compassion when you take into
account the huge amount
of a-holes there are.
I’d never lick something
that’s been left in public
for just anyone to lick, you know?
And people do have fantasies
about making love
in front of monuments
and important buildings.
But if there’s a separate Heaven
for chocolate and no chocolate
in regular Heaven,
I need to know that right now.
This, we agree, is what we think
to ourselves as we go about
our daily routine.
But what of the routine?
Is there a wheelbarrow?
Words are secondary anyway.
We are our thoughts.
I’m getting into this form
of enlightenment where I let them all go.
There’s also this thing
about becoming delusional
that I don’t quite understand. I have to
eat all this chocolate because
I’m dying.



It can be a challenge to adjust
to a front facing bedroom.
What do you do
about all the peepers!
And the sunrise, just beyond the Sizzler?
Each morning is a blackbird
using the bathroom
on a 99 Toyota.
You wake up and go, WTF? Why
are my jimmy-jammies on backwards?
Then it’s like a tiny fist
punching you in the chest
five times in a row.
So many loved ones
think they understand the fear
in a moment like this.
Only the mountain is keeping me
from the voices in my head.
We’re in Flagstaff and it’s getting dark.
I’m an ordinary citizen who came
to pay respect to someone
with whom I felt I shared a bond.
I like the direction everything is moving.
I’ve never heard of it before.


Tropical Malady

Days melt into aquamarine.
The drowned won’t stop circling,
their thoughts for once
of the sky turning pink.
Then there was snow!
But we can’t all be
lightness unfolding.
How do birds find their way home?
When you asked, I thought
all this disappearing
would float through the water
like a memory. Maybe
the streets go in circles for a reason?
Maybe. Pastoral abuse, they said.
More than lush:
where the living are evidence
of the living. My new painting
is a tropical paradise.
Those aren’t sharks,
they’re dolphins.
It is, like many things,
about our dreams. But despite
all the aquatic creatures
flipping in and out of the water
in front of the sunset—
dolphins and flying fish of course
but also weirder stuff like a jellyfish
or starfish or here’s a lobster over here—
it’s pretty much asking us,
what is the origin of this despair
I feel?



Jason Bredle