Today I desire less debris

Celebrating yet another anniversary
We summon the lift, go high rise
and pop our ears on the way,
walk to room 4614,
the 46th floor of the hotel.
We muse about a suite on the 50th floor.

It is harder to write poetry

when you are rich.
But how would I know? I imagine
that rich life is about desire
more or less.
And today I desire less
debris, less of the indecipherable tangle.
Less of the jumbled alphabet.
making no sense inside me.

What am I doing here?
People in Haiti are dead
dying, grieving,
starving and hunting for loved ones,
and if they have the energy,
they are looting the few things left.

Do I really believe
that mine is yours, my friend?

Do I believe that when I am here
with 'Healthy Breakfast' and room service,
leaving food because it is excessive,
extravagant, exorbitant,
and such a short time from the evening
sumptuous meal at No 35 restaurant
just one sleep ago;
do I believe all will be well?

Stripping the family altar
In a past season, it mattered what was on the table.
Now I see with quiet eyes the cloth is frenzied.
The creator has the mind of a spitting fire
frightful synapses, black and purple, hell all over.

The candle is first to go; the last time
its molten fragrance will waft to heaven
to honour the saints, prophets, zealots.
The flame extinguished lightens the room.

Listening Angel goes behind glass
in the cabinet where, to be sure,
she will guard us with her porcelain eyes.

Next the crucifix
capturing the naked moment
suffering violence,
arms restrained and wide-open
Oh God

the body is cold
I run my fingers over
the hands, feet, thorns,
the lips which spoke
I come so you will have life.
I lay it down gently
as if it hurts him less.

Lastly I strip the excessive purple, cloaked
across the whorled and unbleached wood.
Round and grainy, the table top
suggests a host of things, never ending
to one raised in symbol and the cycle of days.
I look at it, raw and unadorned,
and kneel,
moved by the bread it is to me.


PoetMarlene Marburg is a spiritual director and PhD research student with the Melbourne College of Divinity. Her area of interest is the relationship between poetry and spiritual direction.

Topic tags: new australian poems, marlene marburg, Stripping the family altar, Celebrating yet another anniversary



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