the ocean is always looking for a way into your boat

and the city again spotless

26 August
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Soft Radio

I don't know if Ivan is dead & I don't know

who to ask. Thin
the last time I saw him, yellow, the hospital
made him yellow. Percodan

made two of him,
one aching from the stitches, one

hovering above, whispering

it's alright, it's alright. Demerol
flattened the doctors into playing cards,

as they fell on top of him. Behind each-
outerspace, release. at 17: crystal

meth, we loved
the ring of it, like a girl's

name, like a jewel. We stole candles
& a crowbar, tore
the plywood off a ruined beachhouse

to spend the night in a tilted room. We knew

what to take-marijuana
made the world small, a pinpoint, opium

left us in the shower, counting
tiles, valium liked to drive, liked

the red lights of traffic at night, the
heater off the window, the soft

radio. It

was easy: always a two-dollar coat
on Avenue A, you could always

sell your dog. Maybe Ivan
is still sweating, propped at his table
at Foley's, nodding

though no one is talking. His loft,
a Pompeii, holes kicked in the plaster, he

pisses out the window
leaving long yellow icicles to dangle over the heads
of businessmen. On the train today

an advertisement-
a pill rising over New York like the sun,
like redemption, radiating, promising

a clear new day,

& the city again spotless,
the Statue of Liberty, perfect clouds, the water

all clear.
I don't know if Ivan is dead. The same restlessness
walks a young man

through moving subway cars, toward
or away from someone he might love,

as a woman on the platform opens & closes
an umbrella, an enormous lung,

as a man rolls quarters between his fingers,
chanting anyone, anyone.

-Nick Flynn
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