Suzanne Zweizig

Three Poems

20th Anniversary Reflections

Suzanne Zweizig was featured in the Sonnet Issue (Winter 2015, Volume 16:1, guest edited by Michael Gushue with Kim Roberts); and the Portfolio Issue, Nine Women Poets (Fall 2015, Volume 16:4, edited by Gowri Koneswaran). She co-edited the Poetry in Translation Issue with Nancy Naomi Carlson and Katherine E. Young (Summer 2015, Volume 16:3).

She writes, “Editing the translation issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, together with Katherine Young and Nancy Naomi Carlson, more than any other thing I did as a writer here in DC, made me feel part of the Washington DC poetry community. I always felt a little on the outskirts before that, but on that Sunday afternoon in 2015, when my co-editors and I sat in Kim Roberts‘s living room drinking tea, discussing and selecting the poems, while Kim worked upstairs and made occasional visits downstairs to us to explain the format of the journal—I felt at the center of something very alive and vibrant—the amazing community of writers that exists in the area and that the Beltway Poetry Quarterly has helped to foster and grow over the years. I am honored to have been part of it.”


Three Poems

On Meta Maxi Maxi-ness

Jean Tinguely (1943 -1991)

You’ve got to admire the gall of a man
who would make the Grosse Meta Maxi Maxi Utopia
sculpture. Not a Meta Maxi Utopia sculpture,

nor a Maxi Utopia sculpture, nor even
a simple Utopia sculpture, but a souped-up,
double-Maxi, beyond all Utopia sculpture.

You’ve got to admire the supreme gall
that, led by some thin blue tip of flame,
welded wheel to wheel, threw in

another rolling gear, plotted a tiny patch
of garden. And let there be water too:
a basin fountain turning trickle over trickle,

and here and there a stair, a step, a tractor part,
a pot, a vase, a rolling gear, the way he fit the place
for people: bridges, pathways, ladders up,

a door, a tub, a carousel horse, some gilt-
framed art, a garden gnome. And if
the whole shebang is as large and unsightly

as your great aunt’s mausoleum, the garden
no bigger than a commode, the stairs leading up,
only to come down, the gears always turning

and a shabby velvet curtain opening
and closing perpetually on the show—nevermind.
The gall. The meta maxi maxi gall.



You popcorn the trees, Mr. Mephistopheles,
with your leavings, your ghost shells split.
We know you’ve gone to song,
trilling in the margins of the air.

Sing your cavalier spondees, your luna park spree,
quivering unlouvered night!
Untent the flood; let the notes run.
We’ll sleep with our mouths open wide.



* Women’s Swimming Pool

No men allowed here where we women unfold,
the late-afternoon sun a soft fondle on our breasts.

Under trees, across towels, we drape ungussied,
or shimmy, jelly-free in the pool’s blue hum.

Here, no silicone alps, no miracle melons, no
super hoots, glossied, perked-up for sale.

Here, unstrung, only our own blurbs, sags and wiggles,
our own raucous giggles, our secret little jokes.

Here we sashay with no shame our amateur soufflés,
our lopsided loaves, our old lady’s weathered flops.

We unleash the bungee play of our mothers’ tugs.
the freestyle swing of our unidentical twins.

We love too the teenager’s round ready-to-roll,
though we know it will end the way of them all.

No matter, here you may flaunt your own:
your been-there-done-that’s, your false starts,

your revolutionary avant-garde, your timid beetles,
your earth-bound divas, your various gurgles of delight.



“On Meta Maxi Maxi-ness” first appeared in The Barn Owl Review. “Cicada” first appeared in Subtropics. Reprinted with permission of the author.



Suzanne Zweizig's poetry has appeared in 32 Poems, Barn Owl Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Subtropics, and RHINO. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and was a semi-finalist for The Nation/Discovery prize in 2003. Zweizig holds a PhD in English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida. After seven years living in Europe and the Middle East, she currently lives in Washington, DC.