Djelloul Marbrook

One poem


Why should I in insolence ignore
the microbial life of an old window
or anything that doesn’t seem to hover into view?
All the dumb talk about original sin
just covers up what we do every day,
ignoring our vestigial gifts,
pretending not to say what we’ve already said
in a thousand other ways.
What is insolence but us beset
by what we think we need to stay alive?
I looked out of the window and saw
utility poles stitching Gaeia autopsied.
Nobody’s going to forgive you
for the original sin of being you,
that’s on you, you’ll just have to find
other felons to hang out with
and some day you may even break out
of the squint of I into the blaze of you.
How are your grievances coming along?
Are they ready to rest under a paving stone?
Will you insist it have a name,
having taken your insolence with you
as if the fungi you ignored, the empires
in the cracks, the glances that gave birth
to chimera, the summons that shook
the marrow in your bones, were faery tales?
You ignored them too, the faeries,
the elementals, the possibility
that the one great adventure meant for you
waited in what you didn’t know.
I’ve gone from I to you, did you notice?
And it was really all I was meant to do.

This poem is included in a forthcoming manuscript called Once The Humans Were Gone.


Djelloul Marbrook

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 (November 2018). Forthcoming October 14 is Suffer the Children (poems and prose). A retired newspaper editor, photographer and U.S. 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 (  




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