an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

Winter 2023-2024

Anthony Policano

back when I swallowed the radio

no tubes just transistors, D-batteries,
telescopic swivel antenna, volume &
fine-tune knobs & frequency needle steering
me to stations—commercial and pirate
some static some smooth as mercury
in my brain and in my soul
a hundred years into some lifetime past I go
back to my ten-year old bedroom with penlight
in my ten-year old bed under covers tenting
somewhere close to midnight and heaven’s gate
to a forbidden place proudly I felt I had grown
my future face and ears of my own

like Eden the world opened wide pouring its
tunes thru a speaker grille
beach boys dousing beach girls teasing a lot in polka dot
bikinis under the boardwalk there was some kind of
communion there—a religion of rhythm—a confession of
hipster sinners and saints and I liked them equally
I listened to what they all had to say
I bedded my head to the popular hits but also to the dark
songs never played in the light

I became a man of the night
a man dressed in black
a man Johnny Cash would have blessed
a man Muddy Waters would buy a bourbon
a man noble as Paul Robeson
a man steady as Ol’ Man River
and the moon behind my shuttered window bled
like Aretha’s rose in Black & Spanish Harlem

a continent below the concrete street
I’d ride that subway home in dreams
after falling asleep
entrance and exit stairs the same
just taken in different directions
up and down the frequency spectrum
in my radio days

Anthony Policano is a board member of the Long Island Poetry Collective and managing editor of Xanadu, their national poetry anthology. His poetry has been selectively published in many print and online journals. Anthony currently hosts a popular weekly poetry workshop vis Zoom