Hospital Earth, By Djelloul Marbrook


Hospital earth

Can we walk around?

His wounds are giant screwholes
by which we hold down our grief.

We are her bronze plaques,
saying tragically usual things.

Can we walk around
to persuade ourselves life is going on
if only in a shudder of green scrubs?

Words bore into our granite minds,
janitors will polish us at night
with solvent dreams,
gurneys will rush past bearing
the bungles of civilizations,
our griefs will surpass relatives’
because we have had time for terror
to sink in, its pink hue announcing
the costliness of another day.

Can we walk around,
buy gewgaws in the gift shop,
slug a machine, slurp coffee
and listen to the wind arguing
with canopies while gauges
inside measure varying degrees
of hopelessness and shifts change
the greater hopelessness of going home?

Can we walk around
to jig corrosion out of of our bones,
to look in on the casualties of war
and infamous diplomacies
that bring earth to this hospital
of emergency operations
to fix the heart with threads of soul?

Who is dead,
whose death awoke us past midnight
and trucked us here in an ambulance
of schadenfreude because it’s not us,
not yet, so we can celebrate,
mock-solemn as we are,
with another war?

Who is dead?

That is why we walk around to see,
to understand why we are here,
not sleeping in our beds
but pretending we know what to do,
how to grieve, who to grieve, when
all we know is how to bolt ourselves in
against demons riding tsunamis
and calling themselves our friends.

Can we walk around
to shake this dream
or will security bar us
and in whose name?

About Writing for Peace Adviser Djelloul Marbrook

djelloul-marbrook leaning“Our poetry, our fiction, our art is the news of our society, not the fog that a handful of oligarchs call the news. War means profit to these oligarchs. How to smash this lock on the way we view conflict? First, writers must be conscious of their role as rogue operatives. They must subvert the propaganda machine that conceals the real purpose of war in geopolitical blather. We have examples of this—the scriptwriters of the films The International and Lord of War. They showed us that war is a racket, like insider trading.”  ~Djelloul Marbrook

Djelloul Marbrook is the author of three poetry books, Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press, winner of the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry), Brushstrokes and Glances (2010, Deerbrook Editions), and Brash Ice (2014, Leaky Boot Press, UK). His poems have been published by American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Taos Poetry Journal, Orbis (UK), From the Fishouse, Oberon, The Same, Reed, Fledgling Rag, Poets Against the War, Poemeleon, Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Atticus Review, Deep Water Literary Journal, and Daylight Burglary, among others. He is also the author of five books of fiction: Mean Bastards Making Nice (2014, Leaky Boot Press, UK), Guest Boy (2012, Mira Publishing House CLC, Leeds, UK), Saraceno (2012, Bliss Plot Press, NY), Artemisia’s Wolf (2011, Prakash Books, India), and Alice Miller’s Room (1999,, UK). He won the 2008 Literal Latté fiction prize for “Artists Hill” (, an excerpt from Crowds of One, Book 2 in the Guest Boy trilogy, forthcoming in 2015 from Mira). His short fiction publishers include Literal Latté, Orbis (UK), Breakfast All Day (UK), Prima Materia (NY) and Potomac Review (MD). He serves on Four Quarters Magazine’s poetry peer review board and maintains a lively Facebook and Twitter presence. A retired newspaper editor and Navy veteran, he lives in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn. Learn more about his work here.

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Writing for Peace News

Recommended Reading From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserOur pressure is working!

“Obama wanted Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of March but the largest coalition to ever work to oppose Fast Track has made that impossible. Through phone calls, emails, visits to members, rallies, bird-dogging and more, Congress is feeling the heat and struggling to get votes. We expect that Fast Track legislation will be introduced in mid-April.”

Writing for Peace May Day Events

  • 2015 DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts “Nature” Edition Book Release! Watch for news of the latest DoveTales, a truly extraordinary and beautiful edition of our annual journal.
  • 2015 Young Writer Winners Announcements! Find out what our prestigious judges (Antonya Nelson, Fiction; Steve Almond, Nonfiction; and Stephen Kuusisto, Poetry) have to say about our talented young writers!


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1 thought on “Hospital Earth, By Djelloul Marbrook

  1. Dean Metcalf

    Djelloul Marbrook is one of the few commenters on contemporary political life to whom I even bother to pay attention during these desert days. Thanks for your recent post “Hospital Earth.” Keep on, friend.


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