Gary Reddin

Quantum Entanglement
(selections from)

Uncertainty Principle

there are features of this universe
that cannot be known
with complete precision 
positions and velocities
between two constants 
that hinge upon 
an unpredictability of motion 
but as distance scales them 
immeasurably closer 
their particles will dance 
between every possibility
and the two constants 
will find themselves 
in a frenzied state 
of uncertainty

Pink Camellias

you write that they represent 
a twitch in the chest 
in your cheeks 
Solnit called it blue 
the flame of desire 
endless distance between two points 
the ocean 
a linen London sky 
call it love 
but never write such a thing 
oh cliché, cliché, cliché
but what's a cliché
if not the hardest 

String Theory II

I am watching the sunset
burn away the blue distance 
you are looking for stars
because I promised them to you
and you hold me to my promise 
when they do appear 
the sky shows us 
in clear focus 
that there is no ground
beneath our feet 
I say we can't look down 
because that's when you fall 
but you tell me
in an infinite universe 
we are always looking down 
and it's okay 
to fall

Garden State

the manic pixie dream girl 
the disaffected young man
find love in a blur 
of bad indie rock 
and quirky dialogue 
at the airport
he rushes back to her 
because he has to
it's how the scene is written 
she doesn't want to cry 
he doesn't want to live in Jersey
yet that's how the movie ends
sometimes it fucking hurts
but it's sort of all we have 

The Art of Treason

Tony said 
to write is a treason 
so I understand why
it's impossible 
to translate the way 
my stomach twists itself
like a fish in a net
whenever I look in your eyes

despite the wall of distance 
or how my thoughts fog like 
a breath-drunk mirror
when you speak
or even something 
as simple as 
the minor uptick 
in my heartbeat 
from the way
you punctuate 
our conversation 

something will always be lost
in the translation 
but still we write 

because our treasonous hearts 
have no other recourse

Gary Reddin is a writer, poet, and journalist from Oklahoma. He grew up among the cicada songs and tornado sirens and his voice was born in that dissonance. He has an MFA from Lindenwood University. He is the author of “An Abridged History of American Violence” (Rose Rock Press, 2019). His work has appeared most recently in The Dillydoun Review, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Oklahoma Review and Essay Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @andrewreddin. 


Interview with Gary Reddin

Why Poetry?

I suppose the easy answer is “why not,” but I guess I should say something more profound. Well, for starters, I’m not a poet. Not in the traditional, prescriptive sense anyway. I’m just a writer who happens to indulge in poetry from time to time. I consider myself form/genre agnostic. I write in whatever form or genre suits the topic. So for this (these were a part of my MFA thesis) it was poetry. 

Where does a poem start for you? 

I consider my poetry highly fictionalized. So oftentimes it starts with a song lyric I heard, a story I read/wrote, or just a random intrusive thought. That idea then propagates into a poem. Not all the time, but most of the time this is how it starts. 

How long does it take for you to write a single poem? 

It’s fairly subjective. I have written poems in less than five minutes before. Others need to simmer for a little longer. I rarely, if ever, finish a poem in a single sitting. Sure there may be a bunch of lines on the page, but I will come back to them and revise over and over until I’ve cut the excess away and am left with the meat of the thing. 

Who are you currently reading? 

I’m reading Annie Dillard’s craft book currently, which is lovely. I’m also enjoying reading back through some of Rebecca Solnit’s work

Was this sequence an intrusive thought or song lyric? 

This sequence of poems all come from my collection “Quantum Entanglement,” and sort of run the gamut in terms of inspiration. If you have ever seen the movie Garden State you probably recognize where the inspiration for my poem of the same name came from. The Art of Treason is a bit of a love letter to Anthony Bourdain’s famous quote about writing being a kind of treason. Pink Camellias was inspired by a book that a good friend of mine wrote about a florist living in London.  And the other two are both bits of ephemera inspired by quantum mechanics. 

What are some features of poems that you enjoy when you read? 

I love a good turn of phrase, a word used in an unusual or surprising way, or an intriguing use of white space.

How has writing poetry influenced your writing? 

I think the biggest influence is on cadence. Poetry has a natural rhythm to it that I think often bleeds over into my other writing, particularly my creative nonfiction which often tends to lean more toward long-form narrative poetry.