Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sycamore, Early November
after a photograph by Amy Soricelli

by Marianne Szlyk

Half-erased, picked-at, leafless trunks rise
past the chain link fence
and over the tenants’ parking in back.
These trees are not
the mossed-over, well-hydrated
trees out west or down south.
These trees are not
the mellow summer trees
out on the island of festivals.

If someone were to sit beneath
these sycamore trees,
he’d be in some beater
used only to drive out of the city
and to the big-box stores
for the items
he cannot bear to buy
one by one at the bodega.

He’d be hiding
from his apartment,
his roommate, his friends,
all that he stores without closets,
from his bad job, from his worse one.
He’d be plotting
to find someplace better,
someplace other
than the space behind
this building the color
of rancid butter, welfare cheese,
some soundtrack other
than a cassette tape’s tinny
horns and strings,
the vocalist’s Midwestern rebuke.

Or maybe, just maybe
he’d be grateful,
having found this place,
his place for now,
behind the chalk-yellow building
and beneath the trees
at the center of everything,
not that far from
where Ella once sang
Dream a Little Dream
of Me.


  1. Marianne....not only is this a beautiful poem but it moves me to know that my picture inspired these beautiful words...thank you so much for sharing this....

  2. Thank you, Amy. I had written a comment this morning, but perhaps I had hit the wrong button! Russell may have told you that I had been inspired by "Building, Late November," but I don't think he told you how much I enjoyed your photographs. I appreciate your mix of Manhattan, the Bronx, and City Island. :)

    1. p.s. One of the first things I realized when I lived in NYC in the 90s was this--the city was so much more than Manhattan!

  3. Both of you clearly have a feeling for NYC and for the buzz of the place, but might like to know that reading of and seeing New York, through Amy's lovely photo-collection and fine atmospheric poems like Marianne's, and reading from the 3,000-mile distance of rural Wales, I get a real sense of the buzz of the place myself.

  4. Thank you, Robert. :) Did you take a look at the images of Wales in Eye on Wales here?

  5. Yes, the Eye on Wales is another fine collection - and very true to Wales as it is. :)

  6. Oh good, I think I'll show it to my father, Robert. He loves photography, and we were in Wales back in 1985. :)