Monday 5 May 2014

3 Poems by Marianne Szlyk

Radio Corvallis

Radio Corvallis is down for the night.
Once the sun rises, The Tornados’ “Telstar” will rise, too.
It will hover above the AM/FM/Shortwave radio on the table,
the spatter in the frying pan,
the smell of gingery curry, of onions in butter.

As the sun climbs further, the radio will reveal
saxophones and piano
above the guitars and drums,
the basses and baritones
beneath the tenor and falsetto,
and the Coasters themselves will strut through
this college-issue apartment.

But for only a few hours more, the refrigerator and lights
hum out of tune, electronica
for an audience of one.
I keep typing.
I keep the beat.

The Last Customers

 I sit in this restaurant
a mile past the end of the line.
It’s not quite the northernmost
Chinese restaurant in Moosonee,
Gateway to the Arctic,
or even a diner in the Bronx,
not even close.

But we three are the last customers.
The owner putters around us.
Her children do homework.

You yawn at the jokes
he continues to tell.
He fusses over the food
you consider bland.

Our salty, sour vegetables
cool.  Grains of rice harden.
Our drinks are tepid, without ice.

I take one mouthful
before the tofu soaks up
our bitterness.

I think about
what needs to die,
what needs to be born again.

A Tree of Heaven Grows in Brookline

I remember
 how long the men took
to snip at that fence
link by link,
wire cutters
coming closer
 and closer.
I expected
 to be taken apart,
limb by limb,
leaf by leaf.

I survive.
My leaves darken
in July light.
I thrive.


Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville as well as an associate editor at the Potomac Review.  Her poems have appeared in Kind of a Hurricane Press' anthology Of Sun and Sand, the Blue Hour Literary Anthology Volume Two, Jellyfish Whispers, Aberration Labyrinth, and other journals.

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