Djelloul Marbrook


        I hope for an unimaginable species
        requiring epiphanies to describe,
        but every word’s a sin against truth,
        every line a struggle to be honest,
        every syllable a pitfall.
        Defeat must be welcomed,
        as artists know, bitterness
        must bless apples and humble us,
        help us to understand
        we’re not the ultimate of anything
        we’re seasoning, foretaste,
        interim creatures, intervals
        drunk on disrepute,
        the scent of our disrespect,
        angry to be mortal, operatically ashamed.
        The best we can do is open our arms
        to the species coming in.


Loss engorges the atmosphere,
hollow ague after ecstasy.
There should be lightning to break this spell,
rain to enlighten us.
I want to lay the land, but I don’t have a helicopter
to make rutting noises when I come
to a pause in the natural flow
of here and there. I want to preposterize
the interstices of the propeller blades
so that I can see what flashes in between
events. I don’t want to be the drummer
or driver of the hullaballo
or the solo guitarist or that one face in the crowd
that flips the moment upside down,
I want to be outcome glistening on the thighs
of those who should have been there,
I want to contemplate the ceiling
of the better selves that dare thisness
in the chaos of distraction,
not the knock on the door but the walking out
to nether parts
of a heartbroken detective or bellhop.
I don’t want to be a precipitating event,
I’ll settle for falling snow
and the equation that writes itself
on the blackboard you erase
just before the thunderbolt of day
shakes memories out of us
and cheapens them to gold.

Djelloul Marbrook
is the author of ten books of fiction and twelve of poetry, including Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press), winner of the Wick Poetry Prize and the International Book Award in Poetry. His latest fiction is the trilogy Light Piercing Water(2018). Suffer the Children (poems and a  novella) is for release Oct. 14. A retired newspaper editor, photographer and Navy veteran who grew up in Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan, he lives in Germantown with his wife Marilyn. He is widely published in journals and maintains a lively presence on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook (www.facebook.com/djelloul.marbrook.5).