Poetry Suite by Jeremy Radin

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, June 1st, 2015

"The absence, eaten by packs of stars."

jeremy radin poems nailed magazine
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These poems are excerpt from a larger work, a collection of poems called, Dear Sal, inspired by the play Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson.

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from Dear Sal

 

The old men of the delicatessen
speak of playing chess against
the angels, of clothing & feathers
piled beside the bed. They raise

wooden canes toward fluorescents,
pronounce a dark & humid question
for which I have no answer. I laugh –
a bludgeoned music, say the river

remembers better than I. My beard,
still, belying nothing. I do not speak
your unchosen name, the infinite
space it unravels in my mouth.

In the dead of winter I wander through
the streets, costumed in the clothing
of a bridegroom. I tighten my tie past
the threshold of mercy & burst apart

into the snow.

 

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from Dear Sal

 

More about the pigeons: I know very little.
Of this, they constantly remind me.
You ……. they say ………….know very little.

It’s not that we have conversations, you see,
or that I’m going mad after all these years.
It’s just that when my father’s body was hauled
out of that room, they were all
……………………….I noticed. Strange

that it is night, I thought, & the sky is full
of pigeons. I cannot prove anything
but you must know this is true. You must
……………………..have heard them shudder,
seen the specks of light between the gaps
in their feathers. ………..All the pigeons

of all the world that by day disperse
into parks & make their dirty circles
…………………………………..over the heads
of opera singers; by night they gather
in the sky, spread ……..their wings
to make the dark. How terrifically
humbling to know
………………………..so little.

Last night I dreamt of you
………………………..slipping
…………..from a shadow
…………..like the Earth
slipping
from her gown of pigeons

& I could not get off the floor
…………..for the weight
of all that I do not know.

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from Dear Sal

 

……………………………Now the river tells what it saw:

White smoke. Oysters in the trash. Pearls ground in a machine. Axes hung
from a windmill. The weaponization of the sycamore. This country. & then
the wonder. The softness of great distance from war. The very opposite
of the world. A woman becomes a man becomes a woman becomes
the evening in question – a magnificent festival of noiseless wings.

……………………………Now the owls:

O yes …..That ……How remarkable ………what you do….. with each other
…………..Your terrible …………bodies ……….becoming
…………………….suddenly incapable ………..of what they ……….continue
to do …..to our bodies …………To the one ……body ……………….O G-d
……………………..when they …………made…………… the sound
…………..of their true ………….bodies ……………………………..we could not
help ………………..ourselves ………..The silent nation of us
……………………………..rushing toward ……………….those countless
twinkling mice………………… knowing………………. this time
……………..we would take them ……….in ………our claws

……………………………Now the stars:

Do you think you can understand this?

………………………………………….A birth!

We moved toward each other.

We made ready…………. for the welcome.

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from Dear Sal

 

With the window
………….open I stand
……………………..licking the wind

………….sending a fleet
of phantom tongues
……………………..to roost between
………….your legs

You dream you are
………….in ancient Rome
……………………..drowning in a vault
………….of Nero’s roses

Petals foam
………….from the corners
……………………..of your mouth

………….The room llit
by scarlet arcs

………….There is nothing
……………………..to be
………….afraid of, Sal

Place your hand
………….on the miracle

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from Dear Sal

 

I am coming, Sal.
In a beat-up Plymouth, powered by stars.
Down a road of stars through trees of stars.
Every button of my brand new suit is a star.
My cufflinks, stars, I wear a star in my lapel.
I washed my hair with a handful of stars.
The sky shaken loose, I lathered my beard.
I’m coming to you with a bouquet of stars.
With a blanket of stars & a basket of stars.
With a bottle of stars & a banquet of stars.
For years I have pulled stars from my body:
Here is the joy, here is the grief, here is
the slaughter I have shaped into stars.
I have polished the stars & buried them.
Stars of my nipples, stars of my knees,
stars of my vertebrae, stars of my lungs.
An orchard has grown, it is heavy & yours.
I will gather the fruit & transport it to you.
See how it falls from my pockets & armpits.
My bones are stars & the stars are for you.
My wound is a star & my wound is for you.
We’ll hold these stars to each other’s lips.
& drink the ghosts from each other’s stars.
I am coming to you with a wedding of stars,
a meadow of stars & a chuppah of stars,
a book of stars with our song written in it.
If the hush returns with its claws unbroken
we’ll be there Sal, with stars in our knuckles,
stars in our hammer, stars in our singing.
A volley of stars will pummel this country.
The absence, eaten by packs of stars.
A voice will speak in the voice of a star.
A voice will speak & the river will stand.
The river will stand & I love you Sally.
I love you Sally & the river will carve
our names into the dark.

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Header image courtesy of Vanessa Moselle. To view her photo essay, “These Human Shells,” go here.

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jeremy radin poet poems nailed magazineJeremy Radin is a poet and actor living in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in numerous journals including Pen Center’s The Rattling Wall, Union Station, NAILED, and Freezeray and his first book, Slow Dance with Sasquatch, is available from Write Bloody Publishing. You may have seen him on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or in a restaurant aggressively eating pancakes by himself. Follow him @germyradin.

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Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.