POETRY – 5 Poems by Jeremy Radin



Touch was absolutely

out of the question. I couldn’t stop sweating. My heart, a butterfly pinned
to a glacier. Empires fell inside my mouth. I touched myself like a pogrom
& broke my sex into a history of inconsequential shames. I wept viciously
inside of my own stomach & had it condemned. From an upside-down bell
I drank silence, subsisted on the memory of someone else’s hands. Wolves
sang & I did not answer. I forgot their names. Mornings were the worst, then
there were days & evenings. Streetlights & darkened sycamore & suburban
grief so full it made me foolish. I shattered my fist on the Lord’s jaw. Sorrow
sat, licking my wrists & my neck. I slept at its convenience. O, uncelebrated
body. My penis, a lighthouse on the bottom of the ocean, shining shadows
at the undersides of boats. Nobody drowned for so many years. Desperate
for the making of those candy-throated ghosts, I found the rooms between
the violence of comets. I threw myself into anything’s path. Even the sky
bent around me. How lonely to be something that nothing wants to kill.


The gulls laugh like evil doctors,
twist through black spires
lancing into clouds, the gull-
colored sky tumbling over itself
& into my palms. Oh & churches,
churches, churches, grass
the dead wear. The light
bounces off of itself in the mist, rattles
back & forth. I am arriving
at a truth, making signals in the fog.
Soon the stars will be out, eating
buildings from my hands,
perching on these dry & thoughtless
fingers. I don’t know who
to think about when imagining making
love so I stop thinking
about making love & come crawling
back to this new cathedral
as a ghost written into air
by the aftermath of storms, by
water falling like dead fairies
from the trees. To say nothing
of the castle. Of dark walls
& moss & mice carrying rivers
on their backs. I make a noise
in the streets & nothing comes of it,
I traipse through a city careless
with magic. Oh clumsy, clumsy. I am
sorry & perfect, home at last,
a dumb bear bumbling
through libraries of flowers.


Again the fog phantoms in & I am a turtle making its labored way
across the moon’s surface. Beneath the light, a boy with a drum
becomes ambassador to silence, a woman opens her legs
& no one reads the pages. Forests of antlers burst from my palms,
frogs sleeping in the branches. Elsewhere, a spaniel floats
away on a bagpipe’s pronouncements, a girl points a wooden gun
at the sky, shooting the clouds into place. The wind, filed down
to an edge – we ride bicycles along its sharpness. & I am a turtle
turning the moon beneath my feet, another ghost architected
by the teeth of this city. My heart, a petition, a tattered flag
claiming nothing – but furious, furious with rain.


Look, look, she has seen
a squirrel. The hunt
begins & ends, squirrel
safe in a tree. An old man
watches my watching. He seems
Greek. I imagine the sun
in a veil of blood. It’s not
that I want to witness
something become killed,
it’s just that the day
is so peaceful. The hike
uneventful. Somewhere
people tweet undemanding
inspirations. & here I am with a being
of pure & elegant violence
acting like her only job
is to make shadows
all over the place, to waft around
like a Vashti Bunyan song, slinking
past a couple snarled
in each others’ sleep, taking refuge
in a tangle of something
not beautiful enough to learn
the name of, away
from me & my inquiries
that have murdered even the sky.


 & now we’re fucking the moon.
A thousand yowling coyotes & me
pumping away at La Luna, sweating,
taking Her Majesty from all sides.
I am high-fiving a coyote. I feel terrific
& real. My penis knows things
the government can’t even imagine.
Moon things. Coyote things. The coyotes
gathered around me, we high-five
each other & love-make
this beautiful thing of space.
Gentleman coyotes & lady coyotes
& every divine in-between coyotes
freaking out because our greatness
is like everywhere right now.
We are drinking champagne out of
the moon’s whatever. It’s amazing.
You should be here. I’m not just
saying that. I can’t stop thinking
about how great at this you would be.
You, who are without a doubt the one
I am actually thinking of, with your
certain eyes & certain hair & the certain
& valiant effort you made
to remember the sound of my name.

Jeremy 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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