Modern Gods

By JOHN FREEMAN

 

Backlit by the glow
from a small passageway,
he kneels into the fog
of yellow light,
head kissing the carpet.
I step around him,
respecting his privacy, when 
the mat becomes not prayer 
rug but builder’s tool,
a black piece of tarmac, laid down
before the bank so he could
peer close, fix the dead 
motion sensor so that people 
with money could 
be seen, all doors opening
for them.

 

John Freeman is editor of the literary annual Freeman’s. His latest books are Dictionary of the Undoing; Tales of Two Planets, an anthology of writing on inequality and the climate crisis; and The Park, a collection of poems. The executive editor of Literary Hub, he lives in New York. His works has been translated into twenty-four languages.

[Purchase Issue 19 here.]

Modern Gods

Related Posts

Crack willow branch

August 2021 Poetry Feature

IAIN TWIDDY
Across the washes, planted on the banks, / crack willow held the drains and dykes in place, / kept them in line, kept them cleanly going, / just as the water, glupping along, fed them, // and then their pollarded branches might be / woven into hives to snaffle eels overnight.

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises