Two Poems – Marlene M. Tartaglione

The Island

The storm turns its dark wheel,
thunder anchored
to the mariner’s fist: & I,
in the middle,
your love.

Your landscape fills my earth:
It brings me no peace
I bring it poems–
Words from far away, like
obscure notes
in a bottle.
Along your horizon I move,
collecting time
like pebbles:
… How I am filled with
your absence!

…How long will it take
for these tides
to change?
I am widowed by your truth,
your jagged coast
an incongruous weather
that grasps
a glove.
even the gulls are speechless,
climbing your silence
a spiral


The Labyrinth

A city is between us, emphasizing
our distances: Streets open
like mouths
which feed on our hunger:
We seek them with appetites
unquenched, our arms
reaching out
like elastic weather groping
to bring more of us back
to ourselves–
each one alone,
each with a particular story.

A city is between us, setting our silence
against us
like heavy blocks: And you,
the proud architect,
have built an empire from this–
Loose ends, unfinished talk,
songs of stone that cannot burn.
It’s a house unfit
to live in,
even for the steppenwolf
that runs
like a wheel through my blood,
mad as Icarus
with his broken wings.

Years, like dead idols, lie
strangled at the root,
their hunger so great
that they
have built


Marlene M. Tartaglione is an artist whose creativity manifests through many disciplines– poetry, children’s literature, various expressions of the visual arts. Ms. Tartaglione was born & raised in New York City. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary presses (Wind Journal, Artist & Influence, Fertile Ground, The Chronogram, & others); it has been performed at such venues as the Brooklyn Museum, New York Cultural Center, Barnes & Noble/ B. Dalton Booksellers, New Federal Theater at the Henry Street Settlement (lower Manhattan), The Society for Ethical Culture, as well as the 1974 New York Book Fair. Ms. Tartaglione has garnered several honors–1981 Arturo Giovannitti Poetry award, New York University’s 1994 Herbert Rubin Prize for Outstanding Poem of the Year; in 2021, 2 honorable mention awards– one sponsored by Dreamers International Creative Writing magazine; the second, awarded by the Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Competition. Her writing & artwork are archived in the library of the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York; her poetry and children’s stories have been profiled in lectures presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. A number of Ms. Tartaglione’s poems are now part of the permanent archival collection of Hatch-Billops’ Black History annual, Artist & Influence, a recent endowment by its founders (James V. Hatch & Camille Billops) to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her writing has also been included in publications of both The Cooper Union and New York University. In addition to her involvement with poetry, Ms. Tartaglione’s has been involved with advocacy for human rights and social justice. She often uses her artistry to express these concerns. Ms. Tartaglione’s M.B.A. studies at NYU focused largely on the literature of Early Childhood, as well as documentary film. She also holds a B.FA. from the Cooper Union, where she studied poetry with eminent scholar/professor, Dr. Brian Swann.