Western Voices: Marianne Szlyk

Marianne Szlyk edits The Song Is... a blog-zine for poetry and prose inspired by music (especially jazz). Her poems have appeared in of/with, bird's thumb, Cactifur, Mad Swirl, Setu, Solidago, Red Bird Chapbook's Weekly Read, Mermaid Mirror, Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh's art. Her full-length book, On the Other Side of the Window, is now available from Pski's Porch and Amazon. She invites you to stop by her blog-zine and perhaps even submit some poems:  http://thesongis.blogspot.com

On Drawing the Six of Cups

Snow-covered spruce, my age-mates, surround me
as I walk the long-gone path,
once dirt, trodden-down grass, and stone,
now asphalt.  Ghosts of ponies linger,
breath rising and mingling with mine.

Beneath tall white pines, needles lie
as if no snow fell today,
heaping onto stiff spruce, bare trees,
bleached grass, and stony fields alike.
A toy stove, still aqua and
white, waits below.  Plastic, it will
persist long after the trees will
be felled, long after I’m gone.
I look for a sword but find
only dolls, only a white bear
in a yellowed hand-smocked dress.

Dancing in 1984

In Friday night’s blood-red ballroom, clots
of couples twirl to electronic music,
notes like string binding them together,
keeping them apart.

No cat who can see through
patchouli murk, Lila looks for space
away from mirrors, shirtless bald men,
tiny sleeveless women.

White skirt flapping, she runs past
couples now clutching, now coming apart. 
Her bare feet pound the floor.
She stops, finding herself next to
the fire escape.

The man she came with dances
beside flickering candles.  A birdlike woman
flutters past, red hair like feathers.
He touches her elbow, a wing.

Wincing, Lila imagines blue flame catching
the hem of his faded jeans,
burning this brick building down
while she waits on the fire escape.

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