Marianne Szlyk

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Crepuscule with Callie

Waves of scent wash over her:
urine (human and animal)
sweat   damp wool
bad coffee no cream
worse cigarettes flame
a perfume called Joy.

A landscape quakes:
calico tuxedo gray orange
white black tabby Manx.
The notes on the record
skip
as the landscape
seen through cigarette smoke
shimmers and shifts.

Chase or be chased.
Nip or be nipped.
Lick or be licked.

The other cats multiply.
They leap onto counters
and crowd around windows.
Lights twinkle with kindness
out there.  Raindrops sizzle.
Inside the cats multiply
sniffing at cold coffee cups and ashtrays
chasing nipping licking.

Behind the last door,
where the air is clear,
the man in the suit and hat
will not stir. He barely breathes.
They say that one night
he played the piano
with his elbows
while the sax wailed
like a car alarm from the future
while the audience held up
lit cigarettes.
Another night he did not play at all.

If she were herself,
she’d rattle the blinds
until he awoke
and let her out
of this nightmare.
He doesn’t have to play
the piano for her.
Just get her out.

Again the landscape shifts.
The record skips.

Beyond the last door,
Callie still seeks the threads
of her waking life,
no coffee no cigarettes
no chasing nipping licking,
the presence of real joy.

© 2017 Marianne Szlyk

Marianne Szlyk is a professor at Montgomery College and the editor of The Song Is…, a blog-zine for poetry inspired by jazz and other things.  Her chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press and is available on Amazon.  She is working on another chapbook, On the Other Side of the Glass, a collection of nature poetry.

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6 Responses to Marianne Szlyk

  1. A very surrealistic poem ,a Dali in words,nicely done Marianne/Mike thanks for sharing,
    best wishes,angelee

  2. marianne as usual a wonderul poem… i like you spoke about your loveable callie and little thelma as well.. hope callie is doing well .. your writing is always amazing
    congratulations marianne and thank you for sharing mike maggio
    ritamarie recine

    • Thank you, Rita 🙂 Callie is doing better today. She and Thelma are both 13 or 14.
      This is a fun poem to perform. I’m glad that Mike enabled me to share it.

  3. MaryJo says:

    Marianne, you never cease to amaze me with your acrobatic leaps. I didn’t realize Callie was sick. Glad she is better.

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