Good women by Carrie Magness Radna

Good women don’t stay silent.
Good women speak up against injustice.
They need to stand up for each other
during the darkest times
of our personal history.

Most women
were taught to remain silent,
even when
the most heinous actions
against them happened,
but no more.

Good women eventually resolve
their differences,
solve their mysteries,
and soothe their traumas,
thanks from help by others.

The cuts will heal with time,
outer and inner wounds will become malleable
and the bad dreams will fade into mist.
Good women deal with bad dreams.

Lenox Ave. (February 3, 2020) 2/4/20 by Carrie Magness Radna

I wasn’t expecting the sound of seagulls

& water when I popped out of 2 train

at 135th Street

Randy birds mating,

attacking trash bags

outside of Harlem Medical Center

as I paced a few blocks

on Lenox Ave., also named

after the firebrand Malcolm X,

I wasn’t prepared for that

but where were the jazz greats

of yesteryear? I wanted my heart

& guts to be smacked shut

by their vibrato and music,

even on an early Monday morning

before the Research all-staff meeting

at Schomburg Center, &

their various bland bagels and croissants

but where Black History and culture

is still vibrant and alive,

where Maya Angelou

once danced upon the river-painted floor

that held the ashes of Langston Hughes.

After learning the subservience of slavery through art

& the photography of effervescent Black women,

I crossed 10 blocks on Lenox

to Red Rooster Cafe

with my boss, devouring

chicken & waffles

high as the fattest tower

on 125th Street;

we sachet our way back to Queens,

“Like a Natural Woman”

sung by the angel Aretha

led our way from blessed Harlem.

all trains are haunted 12/10-11/19 by Carrie Magness Radna

good-natured buttered-up angels who tripped out from Heaven’s Bar

caught their glittery shoes & minds between whirlwinds & dead turnstiles

they ride the empty trains constantly, getting out of the cold rain

but all trains are haunted—

the lazy A that took us home after last Saturday

night’s gig at Washington Heights, perhaps a shade of its grandfather

took Sir Duke & Billy Strayhorn aboard towards Harlem in 1940

it’s still midnight, almost the end of the line for randy trains—

it’s now time to cruise over to Queens Plaza Yards, to sleep with warmed-up cars,

to romance that special one it met on the tracks at Hoyt-Schermerhorn

when they were hitched up for only a week—it never forgets

how it shined and smelled (no hobos slept in it)   

its chrome face made the other trains shiver on the tracks as they raced upon the third rail,

sparks flew—we rode the 1930s Vintage Special Train to West 4th Street—it was haunted

sputtering diesel as it rolled on slowly from Herald Square, the lights went out three times

& a man stood in the center aisle, wearing a fedora & a caramel-colored long coat

as the passengers held carved, cream-colored handles in the mint-colored interior—

all subway riders are haunted by events:

broken hearts, tough-working days, able-drunkenness, despair, boredom,

longing for home or excitement, in every time or age  

Long Island City, Black Friday 11/29/19 by Carrie Magness Radna

Thomson Ave. is silenced during the morning of Black Friday—only the constant row of cars over Queens Plaza Yards offer any escape and life.

The walking streets by the 7 train are bare; the new skyscrapers shine by the 9 o’clock sun.

I’m the only one at work on time

in Long Island City. No money makes me save like a hoarding dragon—no-go into the stores today.

Must earn my keep after the big family meal; fighting after-effects of wine and sleepiness—must work with silence—

but I love silence. That’s when the ideas come.

Rose chalk drawing by Carrie Magness Radna

She drew a perfect red rose with silver leaves

one day outside on the sidewalk under my window.

“This is the only bouquet I can afford to give to you,” she warned her lover,

as if it was a portent of sudden poverty one could never get out from…

Enjoy it fair ones,

before the rain vanishes the tender blooms,

before love also decides to disappear

without any explanation at all.

Self-reflection of interviewee/interviewer 9/17/19 by Carrie Magness Radna

my careful superego, since childhood, is convinced that my ego will be famous someday,

so she records and states her questions and queries in mock interviews,

being fully in control of her own emotions as the id / ego spills over,

gushing about her hopes of being Best New Artist at the Grammys,

not rushing stories of the blows, the sting of arrows when the ego is wounded

by herself and/or others; she will recount the notes written down, the wounds

and verbal diarrhea the id has written and hidden away, the happy/down days,

the dark nights without stars, the bars and cars and lovers lost, at what cost?

the stroke to one’s self, the moldy moments left rotting on the shelf,

dreams gained and lost, revamped, renewed, love and losses true,

the binges, the hinges, the windows open and closed, the dogs hosed,

the dry cats who stick around, the friends who dick around and play along

and they start to sing your favorite songs without any reason at all–

thick and thin, the ego’s losses and wins, the sins committed under duress,

saved by confessing the id’s wrongs to God and to superego,

who did or thought about doing all the things that ego has described in detail.

superego could wail and flail but chooses not to;

she will report and reflect as if the ego was a true sister, a comrade-in-arms,

a star-in-the-making, hopefully eventually waking up her realization

that fame is almost impossible to possess, money is ephemeral,

visibility is food for the masses, and importance is only possible with one’s self.

Forest 9/7/19 by Carrie Magness Radna

Quietness, stillness is a temporary resolution,

after a paradigm shift shakes souls to their very true cores.

There’s a slight breather before the storm,

before the believers move in their humbling, clumsy,

aligned pantomime, waiting to be saved—

Death is unavoidable.

Doomed to leave this life unmarked by sorrow, fear and anger,

we make peace with some of the man-made muck,

while wondering through over-grown forests

we had never visited before,

without a torch to tell us where to step next…

I want to wake up in the next world

when it is time to go, when my time is up,

not before, not after

my heart has found true peace,

when I finally make my way

out of the forest,

after finding its overgrown heart,

and sadness’s threat

is over.

How did the door feel
By Carrie Magness Radna

How did the door feel,
constantly pressed against walls,
as the entire world went through it,
important, yet invisible?

Does it know the whole structure
of the house, or room
hinges upon its participation?

Often, the inhabitants are dismissive:
they slam, they bolt, they lock
themselves away from the rest of the world,
using doors as forts, conduits, walls,
so others can’t come in—

They constantly come knocking about
waiting on the other side,
wanting some attention,
so they wouldn’t be forgotten

“We hear ya knockin’ but you can’t come in”

And the ones who are chosen
to enter; will they respect the household?

Or will they barrel inside, crazy-eyed,
leaving stains of excrement or blood
on the handle? Or will they annoy
the house-keeper, with their cigarettes
and their endless chatter?
They linger by the door-jam, wanting to come in.

Or are they dear friends, who remember
not to slam the door, who remember
not to lock it behind them, who
sometimes brings the sunshine in?
Coffee and tea is brewed,
long conversations ensue–

Who will be the visitors today?
Or will the door still be closed,
ignored and alone,
trying to hold everything together?

Melted rain 2/21/19 by Carrie Magness Radna

Yesterday’s sojourn for the snow was short;
it fell fast and quick, and it disappeared
off of apartment buildings and scaffoldings
as rain, melting, hitting the heads of passersby
the morning after, in a bright day of sun,
making accidental mini-rainbows
dancing in sewage grates.

Sickness is done, must breathe easy.
Back to work, joining the crowd again
as we drive through underpasses and bridges
where the new melted rain
flows down easily.