Three Poems by Jeremy Radin


Of war & corned beef sandwiches
we speak, noisy men in the deli
who move our hands too much.

We open our mouths & pigeons
tumble forth, coarse historians
of war & corned beef sandwiches.

At home I wrap the past in sheets
of absurdity. How many has it killed
who move our hands too much?

Rain falls from umbrellas like men
from memory. After funerals, dream
of war & corned beef sandwiches.

Stitch a coat of numbers. Protected
by math, question the wind: why us,
who move our hands too much?

A graying sun settles in my chest, 
flutters like a shot duck, dies in lakes
of war & corned beef sandwiches.

Around another coffin we gather,
sing again, welcome old ghosts
who move our hands. Too much

time away, you smoke on a whisper
of river. Sal, I am so goddamn tired
of war,
                       our hands, too much.





Here are the men of the delicatessen:

This is the name for me.

             “Kishka Phil”
Has he ever eaten anything else?

They come at least to his armpits. He looks 
like a man being swallowed by a corduroy whale.

               “Little Shofar”
Within the realm of his understanding
you will nowhere find the modulation of volume.

                “King Weimaraner”
He has had twelve of them, all named “Pierre”.

                “The Tallow Man”
Forty years in the manufacture of soap, 
the filthiest man you will ever meet.

                “Mt. Casanova”
At least three hundred & fifty pounds, he claims
to be with a different woman each night. We called 
him a liar until he showed us “The Portfolio”.

                 “The Limited Poet”
Every metaphor involves the female sex organs.

                  “Have You Heard”
An endlessness of riddles & jokes. 
Have you heard the one about the drunken pigeon?
The one about the Martian & the Jew? 
The one about Lincoln in the field of spoons?
The genie in the apple? The chemist, the fool, 
& the invention of America?

I have never seen him move his hands.
I turn back & his meal is gone.

                     “The Lithuanian”
He comes only in the late hours, opens
his mouth, fills the deli with the music
of the crossing of oceans.

                       “The Cantor”
When she sings, somewhere, a mountain.

                       “Grandfather Clock”
He sits alone at the corner table. Every hour 
on the hour he raises his hand. Three time 
he says a woman’s name, closes his eyes, 
& is silent.





On a field of bright sky

I battle with the angels.
Bodies of mosquitoes

& the incomplete faces
of scared, young soldiers.
I am trying to take back

a word. It is written black
into the chest of a storm
cloud. I do not know why
I must take this word, why

the angels are so intent
on guarding it, but death
is everywhere. My sword
is transparent with divine
blood. Angels perishing

all around me. I am wild
with sorrow & the word
glows & makes demands
I cannot hear. I kill & kill 

& kill holy things. I must
be the agent of sorrow,
& that must be the word.

Oh yes, there are men 
who live forever in joy

& I will find them too.




Jeremy Radin probably should have been raised by wolves. His poems have appeared. Find him on Twitter and tumblr.