Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



this lovely war

if you could strip to nothing,
shed words, songs, the progress
of an eon, the prosperity clinging
like fat, if you could
peel away the handshakes, the contracts,
the intravenous wars, if you could
detonate your soul, city suicide
bomber, blast to rubble
all you've accumulated, all
you treasure, if you could be
a criminal –

if then your
spirit city, time expelled from
the heart, a lifetime's savings
scattered with the litter,
download traffic vanished
into dirty fog, while
amnesiac shamans ride the elevators,
and gods camp in abandoned malls, pale
for a drop of blood –

if you could
if you could gather together,
mother to child, if you
could gather, not justice,
nor freedom, nor love, but the
stammer of grime and smoke,
the stumble of morning, the
greetings, sobs, curses, quarrels,
the splinters, the dust, the
strain of days told by committee,
the sweat, the incisions, the
grey head bent over an infant,
and your city surrendered to the ghosts
of angels, longing for you,
stolen by you, a
criminal –

© Robert Martens




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