Olivet discourse

Olivet Discourse

David escapes the Mount of Olives way,
tears pulled down the slope of his
cheek by the proud gravity of
a son’s plan to descend
on his people like
the ground dew.
David weeps
at the town gate. A conspiracy
of tree branches yank my son,
my son, Absalom, into a hair-raised
death. If only me, my Jerusalem self,
if only it had been me.

Later, more if-only tears pulled
down by this heavy mountain
magnetic. Jesus’ donkey
knows the burden too.
The disciples sing peace.
The stones tremble with
the desire to harmonise.
Jesus weeps
at all the lost Jerusalem selves,
the strewn stones, the tender
everyday ground like dust
by another military season.

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Criss-crossing

A child has marked our yellow house with
a crayon blue hashtag by the front door.
Its wavy lines criss-cross, and underneath
the rosemary bush sprawls recklessly.

Those piney fumes criss-cross in the air.
That black snake is probably still out the back,
criss-crossing everyone else foolish enough
to hang twilight washing, as dogs
bark soundwaves that crash against fences.

And grrrrr, the suburban dog collective
has requisitioned a compass entry point, again.
Swinging out from the human on their leashes:
you can see the brown X-marks-the-Spots on the lawn,
that bit east of letterbox on the map.

Let’s get these criss-crossings safe and secure, please.
Could that blue hashtag flash for oncomings?
The rosemary remind us when to go?
(Will the snake tempt me to dump the load, run?)
Dog turds are tricky.
But they show, don’t they,
that sometimes the best thing
is just to pick your grassy way through.

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vinyl cuts

sharp blood
triangulating in fuchsia
no one remembering their
grandmother’s pot plants
the loving windowsills

unreconstructed orange
slapped onto someone’s wall
staining someone’s mouth
sometimes you forget
to wash the evidence
of your ahistorical affair
before getting out onto the street

lines drawn without
tender perspective
there’s no point of cosy beyond
no stilts to hoist yourself
above the problem

to walk round and round
to decide waving flagpoles is no
vertical solution to your
fear of being at the same
eyeline as those not
privileged with facial vinyl

Danielle Terceiro (2015)

lieshout

Image: Van Lieshout, Erik. Untitled. 2014. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem

When the palm leaves are shown the donkey is waved on through

Its hooves are slowed by the smashed green stickiness, everywhere underfoot

 Jesus, donkey, remember:  

                 Big fish

                 Rumbling darkness  

The gentle donkey lurches,

throws Jesus into the three-day deep. 

 

The big fish heaves Jonah from its pit.

Jonah sets his face to elsewhere,

away from the glare of mercy.                      

 

Jonah’s compassion is a withered plant,

sulking on the doorstep, outside the rain.

Choking down tender dewdrops

                                                come morning.

 

Three women set their faces to the dawn.

They clutch their fragrant grief to themselves.

Come, morning: 

                 Dazzle with your bright angel clothes

                 Frighten us with rising joy.

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Sonnet, 8.00am

A mother sows tears at a railway station,
Mourning a son
who didn’t make it out of a country
Mourning a son
who did make it out of a country
but can’t make it into a railway station.
Tears squeeze though irrigation channels,
whetting international media.

I drink saltwater tea
take my news breakfast
sit in the middle of toasty debris
(what the young mouth jammers left behind).
All quiet in the living room
as families move through fields.

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Onesimus

Onesimus is a first century runaway slave, who returns to his master Philemon with a cover note from the apostle Paul. Paul wants Philemon to take him back “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (Philemon 1:16).

Onesimus
                   On the road to Phrygia

Oh!      Neh!    Sih!      Muss!
Keep on:
Want to see more walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Oooooooooh!  Nesimus
Check your pocket:
Still got that letter from Paul?
Good.  Have a rest, a short rest
It’s a short letter that requires a lifetime’s reading.

Onesimus….nesimus…mussssss
You’re nearly there:
Some last words of encouragement:
You are useful.  More than you know
Yes, I know that your name means useful
It’s what slaves are.

Onesimus
Gone now.
I wish you could know:
Many will rush to greet you,
even if Philemon doesn’t.
Someone will take you inside, another will pull out your chair;
and yes, that casserole on the table-
it’s made from fatted calf.
There will be many angry big brothers,
huffing on the doorstep.
Why are they so angry?
It’s because of all of us,
all of us couldabeen shoudabeen wouldabeen slaves.
We’re no longer slaves,
we’re no longer useful to them.

Onesimus, Onesimus
Who knows?
Maybe Philemon will fall upon your neck with
hairy welcome
And, just there, right there, Jacob will clap the loudest.
Onesimus, Onesimus.  More than Onesimus.
Keep walking
Quality walking
We all need more of that.

Danielle Terceiro 2015

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Grace for a poor player

Today and today and today
Could there be time for such a word

Grace.

For this day.
Just to get to the end of it, in
lockstep with the loved ones.

For my four year old.
Who struts, frets and tantrums, because
you shouldn’t have to leave the playground carrying your own bag.

For my friend in hospital.
Return her to mineral health,
rescue her organs from failure.

For my tea-leaves.
Remove the panic that their restorative properties
may never come back.

For all of us,
in every pop-up moment
offering trays of thought that don’t bear the drinking.

For all the todays,
each and all told by an idiot.
Shape them narratively:
give them a beginning, a middle and an end.
No awkward flashforwards,
no sweaty flashbacks gripping palms and fingers
around the neck of now.

Grace.

Take your pretty place
You’re rich stuff for us poor players

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Psalter Hymnal

Treble clefs: round and round and
up and down and flourish.

Those curly ears- listening, listening
for the black dot birds, perched
on the five wires.

And the bass clefs: well, they were
round wombat bottoms, depositing
seriously deep stuff.

Kids amid the thronging worshippers:
we enjoyed the thronging most
when we could see many little birds,
quavering. And least,
when we had to unearth smooth white circles of
perfect theology, minim by semibreve.

The best things about the psalter?
A Mighty Fortress- we begin with three lovely C’s.
That hymn alone, need sing no other.

Also, the worship tide gently
foaming back towards us at the end.
That final flow of all blessing, praise God for it.

Anything else?  Yes, but it’s not actually in the psalter.
Hearing my friend playing organ during the collection.
It was Lovesong by The Cure,
and nobody knowing what they were dropping coins to.
Well- we did.

Danielle Terceiro

This poem was shortlisted for the 2014 Adrien Abbott prize for poetry

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Headings and Goings

There’s quiet in the library, yes-
but framed by school project talk.
And the IT guy in the back room
hangs a good day’s work on a
loud and friendly hook.

My daughter and I whisper our confusion about
complex sentences.
She moves on to mathematics. I knit.

A tutor tells a boy to google
the Plague, or the Black Death.
She’s good with search terms and headings.

I am knitting still.
Next to me numbers crunch silently.
Time for some thought-filing.
Today, under? Let’s try Moses.
Whose cheeks were burning with burning-bush heat
way before he started on writing and books.
Who could only preview a link to the Promised Land.
Who hit the mouse button way too hard,
way too many times when the rock didn’t refresh.

Just as well God is good with headings.
Let’s go with Prophet. Capital. Underline.
Actually, we can put three prophets in just here.
Subheading Warm Cheeks? (From:
burning bush, fiery chariot, glory of God).
And you can google a picture of the mountain later.
Because now, we’re talking about leaving.

Yes, I am.
Homework’s not quite done,
we’ll get there soon.
Got a few more days to get there.
Let’s go.

 

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Ezekiel

Did you forever
feel that wrench of hair?
Pulled onto the banks of
so many visions by that strong hand.
Prophetic pathways
lighting up inside that head of yours.
I imagine you gasping for normalcy
by that river,
as it widened and widened.

Did you think a lot
about those wheels within wheels?
And all those eyes
on the wheels within wheels?
At least cherubim didn’t have to be
pulled into glory by their hair.

The wheels within wheels mode-
it’s what I wish for many.
Well, specifically,
for young girls on the back of a truck
driving them away from education
and safety. Wheels within wheels,
dear girls. To bring you back,
back under the expanse.

Some burning hashtags, helpful also,
if cherubim could throw them at
the departing tyres.
And someone, please, adjust the
trucking suspension system.
So those girls, dear girls,
can move with spirit.

And let the satnav system show
visions of God.
So their eyes, so many eyes,
can be washed to sparkling
by the widening river.

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