Dear Morpheus, The Glue That Is You by John Bradley


Anyone who has ever woken at 3 a.m. unable to turn off the brain knows the value of that precious elixir we call sleep.  Dear Morpheus, The Glue That Is You explores the realms of sleep, sleeplessness, and dreams.  There are poems addressed to Morpheus, looking for answers from the Greek god of dreams.  There are also memories that keep the seeker of sleep from finding rest, yet how can these memories ever be released?  And there are dream poems, portals to the world where Morpheus, in many forms and disguises, dwells.  It’s here, in dreams, that we seem closest to the mysteries of Morpheus and that “glue” of sleep that restores and heals.  The book opens and closes with an invocation to “the balm of sleep,” useful for those 3 a.m. islands of insomnia.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 120
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: January, 2023
  • ISBN: 978-1-953252-71-5


This is a fabulous, wild, dreamy, exciting, fun collection of 49 poems. It wows. The poems are the product of brainstorms and trust, intuition and drift, a finely tuned sensitivity to sound and language plus a totally unpredictable gathering of allusions, all combined with a quirky sense of humor and the guts to push to extremes. It’s that unusual book of poems, a page-turner. Often surreal, always imaginative, these overbrimming poems delight, confound, evoke, invigorate, dazzle, rush, overwhelm, lurch, and sing. The poems join to create a book length poem, but each can and should be read by itself, in glorious isolation. —John Levy, author of Silence Like Another Name

In a culture where communication must be clear and sleep evades us, Dear Morpheus, The Glue That Is You reminds us that the landscape of sleep should be like poetry: an oceanic vastness where we are comforted precisely because “one word can spin / a lemon into a lime, and two words back into a wooden egg.” Sleep, like poetry, is where we encounter the amalgamation of personal and literary history “until there is nothing else but.” This book is everything we need to exchange one realm for another, lighter one. John Bradley offers us a balm of delirium and the weightless feeling of “all the feathers one body can bear.” —Beth McDermott, author of Figure 1



IT’S NOT EVERY DAY I hear a recording of a photograph consumed by starlight. My aura, I couldn’t seem

to find it today at the corner of Lunch and Divine.

When I came back, there was rice stuck to the bicycle’s
handlebars. I found you tangled in the film director’s

hairbrush not far from the window. There’s a bird’s

wing stuck under your nose, my wife’s left ear signals
to me at the party. The last thing I can remember

is falling asleep in your hand. Every ten seconds

you tell me: I will let go of you in ten seconds. I hear them
quarrel at night over the gender of the avocado

in the baby’s crib. Pieces of my hand, you said looking

at my foot, were once pieces of a snail. When my father
jumped out that open door over Sicily, did he call

out Geronimo? Or Morpheus? Purging me from your

files, you smell of formaldehyde. One word can spin
a lemon into a lime, and two words back into

a wooden egg. Every ten seconds, tell me: I won’t
let go of you for ten seconds. Someone without

a history of blood needs to record the progeny
of the blade. The moon purring: Let me sleep,

my dear, curled in your armpit.


John BradleyJohn Bradley was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts; Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska; Massapequa and Lynbrook, New York; and Wayzata, Minnesota. His first book, Love-in-Idleness: The Poetry of Robert Zingarello, won the Washington Prize, in 1989, and a second edition, expanded and revised, was published by Work Works.  Besides writing poetry, he is also fond of composing aphorisms, some of which appear in the anthologies Short Flights and Short Circuits. He’s been a reviewer of poetry books for Rain Taxi for many years. The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, he’s currently a poetry editor for Cider Press Review. He lives in DeKalb, Illinois, with his wife, Jana, and their cats, Kiki and Zuzu.

Additional information

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in