4 Poems by Jason Tandon from his collection “The Actual World”

Jason Tandon is the author of five books of poetry, including This Far North, The Actual World, Quality of Life, and Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award from Black Lawrence Press.

These 4 poems are part of his collection “The Actual World” published by Black Lawrence Press

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Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

It was snowing on the lake.

I could not tell
where land ended,
where water began

and the line of the horizon seemed like
a smudged erasure
of pencil.

Sudden Death in Middle Age

When I heard that he’d had a heart attack

on a flight from Boston to Detroit

I went out to water the pots of sage

that flourish with little attention

on our west-facing stoop.

Straining to hear the water

seep through the soil, I saw an ant colony

migrating in multiple files

across the sidewalk.

On my hands and knees

what had looked like an organized march

was a frenzied mob of thousands

trampling one another

as if trapped inside a stadium riot—

the way that painting by Seurat

looks like a sunny day in the park,

crowds of people lounging

on the banks of a blue river,

but stand too close

and the images divide

into distinct dots of color

that dizzy the head and nauseate.

At a Loss

What can I say to my friend up the street
who lost her baby boy
one day after his birth?
I script and rehearse.

There’s a leak in my attic
down the chimney’s face.
Grubs have browned the lawn.
Months go by.

Visiting a Friend Who Was Given Six Months to Live Eleven Years Ago

He carved the venison into thick pink slices,
poured the wine,
and took my hand in prayer.

Jason Tandon is the author of five books of poetry, including This Far NorthThe Actual WorldQuality of Life, and Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award from Black Lawrence Press. His poems have appeared  in PloughsharesPrairie SchoonerThe Southern ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal, among others. Since 2008, he has taught in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University. 

His new book of poetry can be purchased through the following link:

link: https://blacklawrencepress.com/books/the-actual-world/

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August 6, 2023 7:19 pm

Such quiet, moving pieces. Such emotion fills the white spaces. So much power in so few words. Thank you.

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