Imperial Youth Review Contributor Interview: Garrett Cook asks Tom Bradley 7 Questions

1. Favorite soup.

I eat only raw vegetables, fruits and legumes. I never go near the gas ring except to make coffee. So I guess coffee is my favorite soup.

2. How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?

That’s a mean prank. You’re trying to start that tune looping endlessly inside my skull. It won’t work. Lots of people, when they hear a nasty ditty coming on, will cover their ears and go “na-naa-naaa” to drown it out. But I have a more effective method. I call it The Mysterium Expedient, after Scriabin’s monstrous work of the same name.

The Mysterium is a week-long rite, an apocalyptic liturgy of “omni-art” that absorbs and dissolves the entire sensorium, not just auditory, but visual, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and even the famous “sixth sense” of the Buddhists, comprising manas and dharma. Dance and procession engage the kinesthetic-motoric, bringing the entire being into engagement.


The Mysterium will be celebrated in a Kashmiri gorge among the foothills of the Himalayas, and staged in a strangely protean cathedral. Built expressly for the occasion, this edifice will writhe and swell like a transcendent amoeba. Scriabin says, “…it will not be constructed of one single type of stone, but will continually change with the atmosphere and motion of the Mysterium.” The architecture is made malleable via the expedient of artificial mists, scented and entheogenically tinctured, and the synchronized projection of colors by a tastiera per luce, or “keyboard of lights.”

Bells the size of yacht hulls, alloyed of platinum and electrum, are hung from cumulonimbic clouds that swell among the corbelled vaults, and these clouds are engendered and seeded by entire metric tons of cinnamon and sandalwood, benzoin and mace, storax and galbanum, combusting in boundless bonfires and wafting over the attending multitudes. In their simultaneous week-long orgasm, spectators and performers become cloudlike themselves, indistinguishable one from another, as the Mysterium builds to its climax: nothing less than the annihilation of humanity and the engendering of a more vigorous race of beings.

At the center of it all, playing the role of Celebrant, or Synaesthete Demiurge, is Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. Seated at his grand piano, he directs his gigantic brace of mixed antiphonal choirs and his orchestra of thousands. They are playing the strangest, most terrifyingly delirious music. All is imbued with the Mystic Chord: C F# Bb E A D. Everything is derived from iterations and inversions of this quartile structure, in endless permutations and combinations

Difficult as it might be to believe, Scriabin’s Mysterium in the Himalayas is bigger even than John Lennon’s Beatles at Shea Stadium. Whenever my ear-holes get congested with what Mel Torme used to call “three-chord manure,” when I hear the monotonous, nasal whimpers of anaemic pussies like John Lennon, I cover my ears and, instead of going “na-naaa-naa,” I hum the Mystic Chord in various inversions and arpeggiations, and place my ears in the Kashmiri Himalayas, my astral monad in Scriabin’s hands.

3. Who are you and what do you do?

I’m nobody other than the author, most recently, of Family Romance (Jaded Ibis Press) and Felicia’s Nose (MadHat Press). Both are coincidentally illustrated by Imperial Youth Review artist Nick Patterson. (See embedded trailer.)

And I do nothing other than be the author (also recently) of A Pleasure Jaunt With One of the Sex Workers Who Don’t Exist in the People’s Republic of China (Neopoiesis Press), Even the Dog Won’t Touch Me (Ahadada Press), Hemorrhaging Slave of an Obese Eunuch (Dog Horn Publishing), My Hands Were Clean (Unlikely Books) and Put It Down in a Book (The Drill Press), which was named 3:AM Magazine‘s Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2009. Further curiosity about my beings and doings can be indulged at

4. You do a lot with overseas publishers. Do you feel there is something they can teach American publishing?

Publishing is not something that should be discussed in public. A good book writhes with its own animation, causing good readers to forget it comprises bits of the alphabet arrayed on a flat surface. Why, then, would we burden our audience with the sordid details of how our objects came to materialize in their hands? The hiring of teen biker gangs to terrorize the local typesetters union; the busting of printer’s devils over green celluloid visors; the sexual coercion of sad bookstore employees; the doping of rival authors; the hacking of–this should all be hushed up, like our most distressing toilet behaviors. In the absence of a follow-up question, I assume you agree.


5. What are your feelings toward Imperial Youth Review and Issue 1? Do you have any favorite pieces?

I love Imperial Youth Review. In Issue One, I especially admire the poems of Adam Lowe. As vividly as any poet writing today, Adam invokes the headlong horror-delight of erotic infatuation. And he does it with such naturalness as to render invisible the exquisite craft with which he brings his imagery into diamond focus. I can’t begin to imagine the process that results in such lapidary spontaneity. I think Adam has been studying Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, too.

6. What are your current and future projects?

My current two books (Family Romance and Felicia’s Nose), as well as my two upcoming books, are explicitly Scriabinesque in their synaesthesia. All four are inspired by the Mysterium in the merging of visuals and verbals. They are collaborations with Imperial Youth artists.

In Family Romance as well as We’ll See Who Seduces Whom (coming soon from Unlikely Books), I have accepted the challenge posed by stacks of preexisting art. In the latter case the ekphrasis is in verse, and the ineffable images have sprung from the cranial alembic of alchemical visionary David Aronson. Our guarantee: visuals came first, then verbals.

Publisher Jonathan Penton says of We’ll See Who Seduces Whom, “This is Bhagavad-Gita porn…by far, the most peculiar book of erotica, and the weirdest book of poetry outside of outright psychoses, I’ve ever seen.”

My other David Aronson collaboration, a katabasic nekyia with secret title and hidden nature, is coming this spring from the legendary occultural publisher, Mandrake of Oxford.

7. Say something else about John Lennon’s ass.

So many insidious jingles flatulated from that dark place. They are coiled in the air like snake balloons, poised to loop endlessly into the ear-holes of Imperial Youths. When a Lennon butt-ditty begins to hiss and whine in a restaurant, elevator, gas station, glory hole, mega-church, or stupid movie soundtrack, Imperial Youths are urged to have recourse to the Mysterium Expedient, as outlined above in Question Two.



One thought on “Imperial Youth Review Contributor Interview: Garrett Cook asks Tom Bradley 7 Questions

  1. Pingback: PENMANSHIP CLASS by Tom Bradley | Bizarro Pulp

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