Three Poems from Brash Ice, by Djelloul Marbrook

Djelloul Marbrook©2015

Djelloul Marbrook©2015

Three Poems from Brash Ice

by Djelloul Marbrook

The ash tree’s scrawl

A dead man said goodbye to that barn;
can this be told by its looks?
what can an ash tree’s shadow
etched on the moon tempera of the roof
tell a passerby of that man’s sorrow
at having to leave his scythe and rake?

Everyone is a ghost of someone else,
everything is ghosted—dogs and children
know this, and soundlessly we understand
the languages of the carbon community
to which the word belong belongs,
in which belonging is a crime.

The redwing reading by swamp lights knows
the dead man comes to the barn to sleep
because the days are hard on his eyes.


As I have among humans here

There was my own next life
drawing lines between the stars
in anticipation of a final shape,
there in clouds’ womb wondering
if any more would be learned
by being another kind of beast,
a chimera of lights, a daemon
gamboling among universes
as I have among humans here.


That kind of beauty

I made a geometric,
I could not add a thing,
not according to that esthetic
that penetrates the object
but finds no other side.
My gaze is lost in what I make,
I don’t want it back,
I don’t ask for a report.
It warms my feet at night,
haunts me in a sob;
did it ever belong to me,
can I count it as a loss?
Not a perfect geometric
but something more than harm
that drowns the light
in certain people’s eyes,
the kind of beauty
that sops up the night.

Poems from Brash Ice, By Djelloul Marbrook (2014, Leaky Boot Press)

Hear three additional poems read by Djelloul Marbrook in the video for Brash Ice here.

Read Writing for Peace Adviser Robert Kostuck’s review of  Djelloul Marbrook’s book of fiction, Mean Bastards Making Nice here.

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.

Small Writing for Peace logo

Writing for Peace News

Update: The Young Navajo Stage 200-Mile Trek for Cultural Survival

by Lyla June Johnston

So proud of my sisters. Ayoo ahe’hee’ shadi adoo shideizhi. You are so beautiful and you are almost done with the first leg of #NihigaalBeeIina, #OurJourneyForExistence. I appreciate this movement that you are carrying and this movement that is carrying you. You have walked almost 200 miles to honor 150 years after #Hweeldi, The Long Walk, where 9,000 of our people were held captive for 4 years, starved and beaten to death in a concentration camp. We walk to honor our resilience as #Diné people, as people who see and respect #Hozhó all around us. We walk to unravel the lies and the labels that were placed on us and to reveal the true beauty of our land, our children and our language. And we walk as a prayer to get these oil wells off our backs… May it all be gone. May our water be clean. May our soil be safe. May our children live healthily and happily in #DinéBikeyah forever and ever and ever. Ahe’hee’!

To assist with the group’s crowdfunding campaign visit:

Recommended Reading From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserNewsletter: Our Task-The Future As A Frontier

Tune in to Clearing The Fog Radio on Monday, February 2nd to hear Dr. Margaret Flowers “talk about why we must stop the TPP, ‘NAFTA on steroids,’ and how we’ll do it!”


Enter Our 2015 Young Writers Contest

Writing for Peace, Lennon Imagine PeaceYoung Writers Contest entries are beginning to pour in from all over the world. Go to to meet our previous winners and learn about our prestigious panel of judges: Antonya Nelson, fiction; Stephen Kuusisto, poetry; and Steve Almond, nonfiction. Read the full guidelines here. Teachers who would like to receive a free pdf version of our DoveTales journals to share with their students may request copies at

Copyright © 2015 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

1 thought on “Three Poems from Brash Ice, by Djelloul Marbrook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *