Djelloul Marbrook

Djelloul Marbrook


Photo credits to Jim Smith

Poems from Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds (Leaky Boot Press, UK, publication date April 10, 2017)
( of the Kosovo Fund for Cultural Education and Heritage


Forever is a very short time,
a speck caught in a viewing scope
signalling the eye to send
distorted images to the brain,
to imply whatever’s wanted
will never come, therefore
there’s plenty of time to dicker
wth what’s going on, thinking
looking back’s for someone else
and you will die gloriously,
being spared of retrospect.
Forever blew up in the face
of an old man in a mirror, who can’t
remember what he was waiting for.
Verbs continue to serve him well,
but adverbs seem equivocal,
adjectives foul, and the only pronoun
of any use is you lugging
that very short time around.

Hard of hearing

I don’t know what people are saying anymore.
My bad hearing’s an excuse to make demands
on words only a medical examiner would make,
to leave a rough-sewn Y on their chests, to draw
conclusions the living twist themselves to evade.
What’re they saying, these puppets on a string?
Why do regional accents that once I understood
fall off the map of comprehension now, and why
am I more than pleased to see words fly away,
having shitted in our coffee and hissed like geese?
And then there’s the question of which one I’m talking to,
not then but now. Who are you that I imagine
you know what I’m saying? Take the name-droppers,
why drop them on me? Names are heavy burdens,
luggage best lost in airports, money manufactured
by bankrupt society. I’d rather flood with counterfeits
the makers of such currencies. Perhaps, perhaps
that’s what I’m doing, holding words to impossible light.

That something

Ponds and fires and eyes of others, stare
one foot at a time, clothes dropping away
until the pretense of having been leaves
a burnt imprint on the grass, a stain
on the sidewalk, a few mysterious cuttings,
a shadow that cannot be accounted for.
That something in you that scared bullies
goes to rest in the one true nakedness—
you’ve given up fond places before
to stare into the eyes of others; the difference
is now you feel invisibility coming on,
a nakedness for which there is no cure,
a final illness for which your life has been
nostalgia, a condition for which there is no protocol.
It’s what you get for such a life unblinking,
for climbing over the slanted girders of I
to get at the emplacements of them & finally
in torrents to pour from the clitoral cup of you
all over the black marble sheet of the earth.

I would like to wake in a formal garden

butterflies in a silver sea at my feet.
If you wish this for me I will remember you.
Let us make no further plans. Developments
will be the consequence of butterflies,
names will turn to pollen,
and I will walk away.

No maze, I will be done with that,
but I would like an arboretum to shelter in
when thunder shakes the ground and lightning
limns the true shape of ideas. I will fade
and fall apart, I will not intrude or possess.
After a long while smiling in the evening
I will walk away.

Nothing will ever be true again,
or false, and whatever I understood
will become light taking its time
to arrive upon the face of one
who seeing me across the street
will remember a great bonfire
before doubts closed in.

Beyond Montauk

Don’t look back is like saying look,
I’m tightrope walking, thinking
don’t look too far ahead, stop
this chasm from BC to AD is
more alluring than the other side.

Time stopped when I kissed Mary Corbett.

The wire throbbed and nothing good
would ever happen again in spite
of rosy promises, even those I believed,
nothing good because the sweetness of her breath
opened my pores to true intent
and nothing could shut them to storms,
nothing good because pretense
would never come easy again.

We should have gone on to Babylon
to see a movie, not swim
in each other’s eyes.

After my death,
which ought to have been a beginning
of something more than Amityville,
all I wanted to be was one
with how it happens, the music
and the mathematics of it.
I wanted
not to want at all, beyond Montauk.

Witch’s skirt

Size and shape lie in ruins,
their names may well be runes.
He used to know square from circle,
oval from aught, height, width, depth,
even their uses, but the moon
pulls their tides out. Gravity
goes up in smoke. Measure
seems a presumption. Place
a melting chunk of ice. Panic
turns to ecstasy. Weight
is temporary inconvenience.
He has become a rune sewn
into a witch’s skirt.

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