BH Two / Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Listening to Electric Cambodia by Marianne Szlyk

Tiny ants invade your house,
spilling over the window sill.
The ceiling fan stirs the air
until it’s as warm as your beer.
Ants speckle the sea-green tile floor.
The organ swirls
as the girl in the lemon dress
steps up to the mic.

Glowing, she sings in Khmer.
It is 1967.
She has no worries.
She is sixteen

and will not live to see thirty.

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6 thoughts on “Listening to Electric Cambodia by Marianne Szlyk

  1. Marianne is an associate professor of English at Montgomery College in
    Rockville, MD. Her poems have appeared in The Antigonish Review,
    Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Eos: The
    Creative Context, Ishaan Literary Review, and Jellyfish Whispers. She
    and her husband own far too many CDs, among them Electric Cambodia.

  2. A wonderful poem in its brevity. In these few lines there are multitudes. This dichotomy of all human experience—the existential journey in microcosm—and the larger global realities of coming political conflict in macrocosm, is always an interesting perspective; not least because it points up the tragedy of the girl ” in the lemon dress”. The simple act of singing, the joy of communicating, the innocence and optimism of youth, are always eclipsed by the evils of political ideology and the desire for power. In short, all of us find ways to “breathe life into our dreams in order to ameliorate the nightmare” — (See my extended poem —
    ‘A History of Feeling’…)

    But what better way to exist and connect to one’s fellow man than sing like a bird! I very much enjoyed this powerful little poem!

    Regards.

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