Silver Birch Press--Brad Rose Photo1

Bull-Leaping to Bach Cantata No. 54 (Stand Firm Against Sin)
by Brad Rose

I once knew a girl who sang in her sleep — hummed Bach cantatas. So pretty, the sleep-soaked notes, levitating above her pillow, her musical murmur, beckoning the night to draw closer. She was Danish, charming, traveling the Mediterranean. What did I know about music? A brash American, barely 21, flotsam in the blue latitudes where once, the minotaur lived and naked boys tumbled over the heads of bulls. In Heraklion, Bettina whispered the hot, still night to sleep, while in my tossing restlessness, all I could dream about was a rhythm section. And horns.

SOURCE: Originally published in The Molotov Cocktail (June 1, 2011).

PHOTOGRAPH: “Bull-Leaping to Bach Cantata No. 54” is set in the Mediterranean, on the Island of Crete, when the author was 21.  Pictured here, he is vacationing in Kauai, where the surf is much better than on Crete.  The photo was taken in the 20th century.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prose poem is based on my vacation travels in Greece and Crete many, many years ago. It is a true story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015). His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, Posit, decomP, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing and other publications. His chapbook of poetry, Democracy of Secrets, from Right Hand Pointing, can be read at  His chapbook of micro fiction Coyotes Circle the Party Store, can be read at this link. Links to Brad’s published poetry and fiction can be found at Audio recordings of a selection of Brad’s published poetry can be heard at