May 6-12, 2019: Poetry from Carrie Magness Radna and Michael A. Griffith

Carrie Magness Radna and Michael A. Griffith

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Carrie Magness Radna

Bio (auto)

Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Carrie Magness Radna is an archival audiovisual cataloger at the New York Public Library, a singer, a lyricist-songwriter, and a poet who loves to travel. Her poems have previously appeared in the Oracular Tree, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mediterranean Poetry, First Literary Review-East, The Poetic Bond VIII (Willowdown Books), Shot Glass Journal (issue 27), and will be published in Nomad’s Choir, Polarity E-Magazine and a yet untitled Transcendent Poetry Anthology from Cosmographia in Summer 2019. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press), was published in January 2019.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Carrie Magness Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lucky stars/Afternoon colors

I. [Imagined]:

Missed the good luck
given on this holy Irish holiday of days, while stuck
rehearsing in Riverdale with quiet singing Jews,
not blessed with the knowledge of reading music.

C’mon Unicorn Girl:
you traded your rainbows for blue stars
blessed by David.
At least green is still your favorite color,
after all the red-faced clovered dancers
took off their tap shoes
and went to bed

but my man needs to work,
so, I planned to steal away to Roosevelt Island
after Purim rehearsal
before the setting sun spun its gold out,
when the blue hour peaks
and the moon peeks
out in a silver haze

(No, I didn’t make it to the island tonight;
tiredness crept in and took hold instead.
It was but a sweet, wee, golden dream!)

II. [Real]:

Patterns and colors hover by
as I circled the island by foot.

I blame the tint of my sunglasses
on turning the Friday afternoon light
into the perfect shade of blush pink;
hazy clouds now resemble a young,
5-year-old ballerina’s tutu,
and the brickwork on apartment buildings
glow a fierce salmon pink
thanks to the sun.

The Queensboro Bridge turned
butter yellow by the time
I first saw the tramway (not yet).

I was almost run over
by a giant black and white
spotted hound with huge jowls,
who stopped to lick his ball sack,
(his cute owner apologized
with a wordless shrug)

I chased the pink light
towards the Octogon,
freshly mowed and Spring green
but still closed for the season.

The light is now fading.
I took off my shades, and then
the pink clouds
instantly faded to a silvery grey;
the blue hour
brought forth sexy shadows
lapping in the water
as I walked along the East River.

The lights upon the Bridge
lit the narrow talons and towers,
they remind me of toothpicks.

(My Dad and I once built
a bridge made of toothpicks when
I was 11. I cannot imagine
him being here with me now;
even here in this quiet, floating hamlet,
he would pronounce this place
as too urban for him)

Too bad, Dad. I enjoy these places
like I’m enjoying my Golden Heart roll
with two pieces salmon sushi
and some seaweed salad,
decorated by a purple orchid.

On Roosevelt Island,
the colors of the afternoon
dance in my mind
like a breathing tapestry—

Now lucky
after day is done,
the big, red RI tram
takes us all home;
the lights of Manhattan
pierce the dark
with white, blue and gold
stars and boxes


Michael A. Griffith

Bio (auto)

Michael A. Griffith’s chapbooks Bloodline (The Blue Nib) and Exposed (Soma Publishing and Hidden Constellation Press) were released in fall 2018. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry in October 2018. He lives near Princeton, NJ and teaches at Raritan Valley Community College. He is Poetry Editor (US/Canada) for The Blue Nib magazine. 

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Michael A. Griffith and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Satan’s Toy Car

Let me tell you,
it was an August back before The War.
Mama and me sat on the front porch
watching the day pass us by like
a ol’ wounded dog.

Hot day,
too hot to move much.
Flies buzzing ‘round,
outhouse smelling real ripe.

Complaining did no good,
but we done it anyhow.

Day kept on limping by,
we kept on fanning ourselves,
sweating there, hoping
for a breeze what might never come.

What did come was Satan.

Pulled up in a long red car.
A big city car.
Shiny, real shiny in the sun.

He waves, comes up to the porch
carrying a black suitcase bigger’n me.
Smiles so big,
white, white teeth
mouth never touched chaw or a cigarette.

But he was still a bad, bad man.

Says he’s got all kinds of stuff for sale
in that big black case. Jewelry, watches, toys,
perfumes, soaps and notions.
(Not sure what “notions” are,
but the way he looked up at Mama when he said
that word makes me think
they ain’t good things for her or most any lady.)

Can he come on in and show her?

Well, he comes right up on the porch and
hands me a tin car he has in his pocket.
He says “Free. Just for you, sonny boy.
You take it and go play now.”

Mama says my name like a angry pastor would
but I wasn’t really gon’ta take it,
’cause I knew Satan when I seen him.

That white suit, black shoes what never touched
mud or seen dust on them.
Never been in grass.
His hair so oiled, forehead wetter’n my shirt was.
Too slick, too white, too clean in the damn heat.
Man just had to be Satan.

Kept trying to get Mama to
take him inside, to show her his stuff,
telling me to take the toy car,
red and shiny, just like his city car,
to go and play, he wants to talk with my mama.

He leaned in close to her
and she never stopped fanning her face,
rocking in her chair.

He smiled real, real big
whispered so quiet I could never hear.

Then Mama, she stopped her fanning,
stopped her rocking,
looked Satan in his eyes
and slapped him so hard he went spinning.

Slap loud as a whip crack!
Satan’s cheek red as his city car.
Him so angry he shouted every bad word on Earth,
calling my Mama names no lady ever ought to hear.

Yes sir, he go storming back to his big red car
thumping that big black case of his.
He threw that toy car off in the yard fast as lightning.

He drives away real loud and there’s a big breeze.
Starts to cool off a minute later and a nice soft rain comes.
Makes Mama and me both smile and feel real good.

Day later I fetched Satan’s toy car,
buried it up at the church
where it ain’t done no harm
or no good ever since.