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Poetry Magnum Opus

Mobile Church


JoelJosol

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The jeepney is mobile

church for the poor

boy who used its middle corridor

as path for his knees despite

its foul emissions

from the mouth of its

driver and muffler.

 

It is decorated

with a cross or icon

or the image of Christ above

on the windshield.

 

First, the boy cleans

the shoes of passengers.

Then, he raises his palms

as if to pray but really

he is collecting alms,

without the pouch,

for his service.

 

Before his improvised altar,

he looks up at the Christ

gazing down on this crowd,

indifferent, busy

minding their own poverty.

He looks back,

another passenger gets in

with a Bible and pouch

in hand.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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Joel, the poem leaves me unsettled, and that's a good thing. It shows that the poem is working. I've never seen anything like this "mobile church," so I'm not quite sure if it's literal or metaphorical. I like the complex associations that are evoked by it, and I'd like to know more. (I don't mean that I'd like to see more added to the poem, rather I'd like some background information from the poet.)

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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JJ,

 

Fascinating a clearly defined world of hurt, there is a certain observational purity in this, and a bit of sadness- I like where it goes, feel fine in the altar it creates- nice work... A consideration:

The jeepney is mobile

according to the grammar this is missing an 'a'- is a, seems appropriate...

 

also, maybe 'a boy' or 'as a path' also decide on the commas- Do you want to end lines with punctuation or not? If so: Christ above- probably deserves a comma- but not necessarily- It works as an impressive piece- just a little polish (in my honest opinion) as a whole-many thanks for this unique and yet universal window into the human condition;-)

 

DC

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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Thank you, Tony and DC. I thought I could get away with the first line, DC :-)

 

Jeepney is a public transport in the Philippines. The boy is a mendicant. There are also preachers who board this transport, preach publicly there though nobody pays attention. At the end, they pass a pouch for "love offerings".

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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  • 2 weeks later...

Joel I can't tell what version I like it more. But yes, the second one, sounds more compact, and stronger somehow. The poem speaks for itself and thanks to your background you made it. It's good to know about the meaning of Jeepney.

 

I love this part:

 

Before his improvised altar, he looks up

at the Christ gazing down on this crowd,

busy with their own poverty.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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