Marianne Szlyk Poetry

Note: 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: . 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: Please consider sending poems/art to her e-zine The Song Is… at:


3 poems by Marianne Szlyk: summer into fall, winter…

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 •
Note from the editor: These 3 poems by Marianne Szlyk exude a feeling of jazz intertwining in our pores mixing with our complex multi dimensional culture. They are a good reminder of who we are–summer into fall into winter. 

The Last Summer without Air Conditioning

She sits on the porch
between the house and barn
with the friend who would
have been her landlady.

They sip OK Soda
from garnet goblets
as sun retreats into clouds
far from sunset or skyline.

The smell of grilled steak
rises from over the fence.
The Macarena bursts forth
from a car on Centre Street.

The neighbor with tiny glasses
slams his upstairs window shut.
His black guitar grinds and shrieks.
His mastiff howls.

The women pick at their salad
of dandelion greens
and avocado.
They will talk later.

She pretends that she can’t
hear her ex
ambling up the driveway,
but she can,

even over the gnash of guitar.

She pretends that she can
see the city
that she is leaving,
but this is it,

the city that she is leaving.

Dreams of Lafayette
St. Boniface’s narrow, slate spire
punctures the clouds in the sky.
Inside these apartments grad students
read literary theory. Espresso machines
rattle and Diet Coke chills.
A couple calmly speaks French.
His blue bike waits outside.
It is ready for him
to leave this Hoosier city
for someplace on the coast.

Trains shook our wooden house
on Ferry Street every night.
I would dream of earthquakes
shattering windows and ceilings crumbling
in apartments I once lived in.
When we couldn’t get back
to sleep, we graded papers
instead of reading theory. We
drove to the all-night Village
Pantry across Sixth Street’s tracks.

Now the trains are gone,
rerouted beyond the highway and
strip malls. The Village Pantry
closes at ten. I dream
of Lafayette, living in these
sturdy buildings, strong enough to
protect us and our child.
The bike, the one color,
the metallic shimmer of sky
in this black and white
world, is yours.

The Last Days of Fusion
As saxophone and piano washed
past doorways, the couple walked
down the street, looking to
enter places they would have
never dared three years ago.

December snow fell in spurts.
She clenched, then unclenched gray
gloved hands in the pocket
of her teal wool coat.
His coat was new, too.

Already places were shutting down.
This was not New York,
not Manhattan. His friend Elgar
had died. So they couldn’t
visit him in his three-decker,
so close to Harvard Square.

In the last days of fusion,
the couple walked on Mass Ave.,
avoiding their memories of Elgar,
nights they’d spent drinking tonic
and listening to Miles Davis
on crackling vinyl, to Elgar
cracking his jokes, telling his stories
about Cambridge in the Thirties.

Fine snow became light rain,
summoning the smell of damp wool.
A guitarist exited the cafe,
looking for his car as
the last trackless trolley fled
down Trapelo Road. In doorways,
the young men played horns,
making the old songs fizz
like soda with lime.

by Marianne Szlyk, copyright 2016


The Real Antarctica

SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 • ( 0 )
Poem by Marianne Szlyk, copyright 2012

The Real Antarctica

In the real Antarctica,
the tiny cruise ship sneaks between
the stony gray beach and the icebergs.
Below the water seems dark,
All the same
Lynne Cox once swam here.

A single man sits bundled up beside her.
The summer sun sheds much light,
no heat.
This is not the Antarctica she imagined
during the winter she lived in Brooklyn,
the winter she burned dinner
every night.

Another hot flash races through her body.
Deliberately, she throws off her hood,
tosses her gloves aside.
She unzips her parka, unfurls her hair.
She strips down to a t-shirt and jeans
and waits for the ice shelf to crash.


%d bloggers like this: