Thursday, 14 March 2019

Poet on the Subway

by Marianne Szlyk

I can’t write in public.
I’m not that thin girl
hunched over her moleskin notebook,
bearing down with Bic pen,
filling up pages with miniscule
print, crisp phrases, line breaks.

My handwriting bloats, falls down,
falls apart, not clutching the
pole, not toeing the lines
as the car shakes and
passing people clip my hand.

When I was that girl
hunched over, I was reading.
I remember riding all the way
to Union Square just so
that I could finish my book.
Co-workers said I’d be mugged
if I kept doing that.  
I imagined riding to Brooklyn,
losing myself in Balzac, stopping
at line’s end, Coney Island
at night, the summer’s finale
in sour and bitter indigo.

There I’d pretend to wait
for another train, one leaving
for anyplace other than this
city, anyplace other than this
life where I was that girl
hunched over, not writing.

* * * * *

Marianne Szlyk is a professor of English and Reading at Montgomery College. She also edits The Song Is... a blog-zine for poetry and prose inspired by music (especially jazz). Her full-length book, On the Other Side of the Window, is now available from Pski's Porch. Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, is available on Amazon. Her poems have appeared in of/with, bird's thumb, Loch Raven Review, Cactifur, Mad Swirl, Setu, Solidago, Red Bird Chapbook's Weekly Read, Mermaid Mirror, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh's art. She invites you to stop by her blog-zine and perhaps even submit some poems:

1 comment:

  1. "Sour and bitter indigo" is clinging to my memory--I think it wants to move in!