Riding Into Charles Street Station
by Marianne Szlyk, copyright 2017
The river wasn’t yet someone else’s necklace.
I glimpsed it on my way to work,
looking up from a book my boss had given me
about someone else’s city, one
I planned to return to someday.
A sailboat’s mast poked up,
white ceramic triangle found
on blue-gray waters.
Crew teams were scuttling home down the silver river
to breakfast and their first class, the mathematics
that would have freed me from electric typewriter
and telephone, from this two-hour commute
that ended at the ocean, the calculus
that would have kept me from
my residents and coworkers at Long Island Hospital.
I imagined walking alongside the river,
even just crossing it on foot
in sunlight that glittered on the water
like glass, like borrowed costume jewelry
and in the sunset that would stain it orange.
I imagined living near the river,
perhaps in the building I saw
right before entering the tunnel.
I would grow used to the sight of
trains before midnight and the black waters
after. The river would stay in my mind
the way that my aunt’s gift of pearls did,
kept for special occasions, therefore
But the river was always someone else’s necklace.
A dumpy girl in nylons and pastels, not
dressed for success, not even wearing earrings,
I was passing through on a subway car
that was often filled with other riders
blocking my view of the river.
Most of them had a better right
to this necklace than I did.
I was biding my time, waiting
to leave for some other city,
some other river that I could
touch and taste and smell,
a river that was not jewelry.
Bio: Marianne Szlyk is editor of The Song Is… , an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review, and professor of English at Montgomery College. Her 2nd poetry chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press (cover by Bea Garth). Her 1st chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking up at Trees of Heaven, is at: http://barometricpressures.blogspot.com/2014/10/listening-to-electric-cambodia-looking.html . Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including The San Pedro River Review, Cactifur, Of/with, bird’s thumb, Truck, Algebra of Owls, Setu, The Bees Are Dead, and South Florida Poetry Journal. Recently she was artist in residence at The Wild Word. Her environmental poems appear at: http://thewildword.com/we-disaster-tourists/ Please consider sending poems/art to her e-zine The Song Is… at: http://thesongis.blogspot.com/
Bio: Bea Garth is editor of Eos: The Creative Context, as well as an accomplished artist and poet. She will be featuring her artwork in the Clark County Open Art Studios this coming November, 2017. Her artwork has been featured in several magazines and book covers including Caesura, the DMQ Review, I Dream of Empathy, and Where The Wild Ox Roam. She has been president of 4 art organizations including president of the San Jose Art League, and the ceramics department at Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene, OR. She has organized many art and poetry events in both Eugene, OR and San Jose, CA, and was the brainchild for several poetry and art magazines, including Poetic Space and of course Eos: The Creative Context. She was also a co-originator (and the editor of the art and poetry section) of The Other Paper, a progressive monthly in Eugene, OR. She recently moved to Vancouver, WA and is now primarily focused on her own creative work again, as well as continuing to edit Eos. The synergy and potential of Eos was simply too good for her to let it go, especially in these troubled times. To see more of her artwork and some of her poetry, go to: https://bgarthart.com
Categories: drawing by Bea Garth, poem by Marianne Szlyk
Thank you very much, Tamara. I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to see your comment. Yes, Bea is a wonderful artist. She does ceramics as well.
I so envision this poetry…vivid images of the river that is stained orange by the sunset…and becomes borrowed costume jewelry! Interesting that the jewelry is borrowed and that the river is redeemed to
be a river..and not a necklace, implying the reality of nature…It is a very inspiring poignant poem and I like Bea Garths artwork. thank you for this.
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