Carrie Magness Radna is an archival audiovisual cataloger at the New York Public Library, a singer, a lyricist-songwriter, one-time food blogger (The Hungry Librarian, at http://hungrylibrarian.me) and a poet who loves to travel. Her poems have previously appeared in the Oracular Tree, Tuck Magazine and will be published in Nomad’s Choir and Muddy River Poetry Review. She won third prize for “The tunnel” (category: Words on the Wall: All-Genre Prompt) at the 69th annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (2017), where she attended workshops taught by the renowned poets Yolanda Wisher and Chrys Tobey, and has hung out with the irresistible and irreverent Mad Poets of Philadelphia, headed by Eileen D’Angelo. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she is a member of the Greater New York Music Library Association (GNYMLA), and is a member/have read/workshopped for the New York Poetry Forum, Parkside Poets, Riverside Poets, Brownstone Poets and Nomad’s Choir. When she’s not performing classical choral works with Riverside Choral Society or New Year’s Eve performances with the New York Festival Singers, or writing art song lyrics with her choir buddies, or penning her own folk songs for her chorus’ cabarets, or traveling, she lives with her husband Rudolf in Manhattan.
Roma is an Italian movie star,
her glamour stitched in every single pore.
She could make dogs out of diamonds,
fish food from all she sees,
she’s done it all.
The red blood of the ancient Romans
is laced deep in her bodice,
it runs freely through the Royal purple lace
of her corseted dress.
Her hair is shaded in a high-quality chestnut
shined with Moroccan Argan oil,
curled into a sculpted bun;
her lacquered lips shining
pink in the sunlight.
She is a star,
a greatest star of them all,
wandering through the ruins
of old times,
her men flock to her
in Armani tuxes,
ready for the show to begin.
Grotto Azzura (Sorrento and Capri)
It should be a wonder of the world,
the Blue Grotto outside of Sorrento
in the Mediterranean Sea.
The light reflects the blue, colored cave walls,
making the aquamarine water even bluer;
a cobalt blue that glows as your hand
becomes silver in the water—
Our boat captain sang “O sole mio” as they paddled inside.
My inner girl was laughing;
she wore a blue bikini
instead of a red one-piece with cutouts,
and she said:
Aren’t you glad you weren’t
a chicken shit,
that you got to see this,
& had jumped into the cold,
blue sea earlier while on the boat?
I say: “Si, carina.”
The spirit of Siena’s revered she-wolf
spoke to my soul today
as I stared as its statue
with the twins Romulus & Remus
hanging on, suckling
She must had been strong
to take care of those boys,
before one of the brothers
killed the other,
and founded both Rome & Siena.
Am I that strong?
In the bath, after a long, warm day
of drinking and exploring,
I had a dream as the hot water
relaxed my tired muscles
while my mind was still active:
I was the she-wolf,
but instead of twin boys,
I had two girls digging in for substance,
both polar opposites
but they worked well together.
And then, and then,
as I remembered I had missed seeing
The Birth of Venus,
the same, low, seasoned voice
you will be here again,
and you will bring her;
she will rival Botticelli’s vision
on every scale,
and she is yours,
and you two will
see the Venus together.
I don’t know
if that was the she-wolf
or my old-self talking.
They do sound almost the same…
I could feel his kiss in the back of my throat,
even when his lips stayed shut,
and after he left, I still felt the heat
from them on my own mouth
The last time my lips tasted greatness
was when I devoured fresh fragola in Venice
in a farmer’s market by the canals.
It was in May, on a warm day like this one—
The sweet red berry
was as big as a baby’s fist;
It tasted like honeyed sunshine.
Tonight’s gelato was full of strawberry
organically grown from Italy.
It reminded me of Venice.
But it didn’t break the spell
of tonight’s kiss,
even when some gelato
lingered for a few seconds on my lips,
it melted instantly.
After we exited the Blue Grotto in thin rowboats,
the sun met us outside,
dissolving in inner indigo into outer golden light
(we were blinded for a whole minute,
floating, bobbing, exposed
under a perfect sunlit sky,
us wiggling like fish)
Out on the main yacht,
we bathed under the sun for almost an hour,
us women wearing bandeaus and bikinis,
before the sea called to us
to dive into its cold, cold blue waves,
dotted with light.
All poems on this post: © Carrie Magness Radna
Published with the permission of Carrie Magness Radna