Crashed Angel Full of Lice

I saw a crashed angel
full of lice,
and a priest who wouldn’t see him.

Someone (a girl of nine, perhaps) screamed,
“You dunghill of a man, help him!
Don’t you see he’s dying?”

But the angel was judged filthy,
too unprofitable, too un-helpable, not holy at all—
Heaven needed none of his broken ribs.

I ran to get help,
climbed a fence between two houses,
and bumped into a little girl:

she was as mean as a goose, and
dressed in the same color
for Sunday Mass…
But her brothers had wetted all the white
with red liquid pieces of her,
and were watching her dry on the clothesline.

Decades later,
after tongue dancing to
“The Song of Despair”,
I write the hurt of a filthy angel,
while wondering about vacant-eyed boys
and their air-dried sister goose.

***
NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero, Day 1 – The Birth of Your Art: “Base your first poem on the first work of art that inspired your creative addiction.”
My love for reading and writing fiction began after experiencing Gabriel García Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and Horacio Quiroga’s “The Decapitated Chicken”. Poetry came much later, through the words of Pablo Neruda; particularly, Memoirs and Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.

from the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and NaPoWriMo 2015

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

via

75 thoughts on “Crashed Angel Full of Lice

  1. Visceral! Parts of this will be with me through the night! I wonder if I shall dream of damaged Angels or little girls searching for compassion. Thank you, Magaly!

  2. Aaaw…I want to rescue that poor angel…*sits picking lice from his feathers*. Love the imagery of the girl drying on the washing line 😀 XXX

    • Every time I read “An Old Man with Enormous Wings”, I want to rescue that poor angel… and the spider woman, too.

      Oooh, I wonder if anyone could paint the girl on the washing line. *cough, giggle, wink… I might have to see a doctor about this, lol*

    • I can’t wait for you to read the story. It’s short and it’s wonderful (my spider woman poems, “Belle du Freak”, are based on the angel story). The reason why the angel fell is what makes his situation more devastating, and the people torturing him more despicable.

      Here is the link to the story, on YouTube. In case anyone wishes to listen to it while they are painting in their awesome gazebo *cough*: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdblD4o5AEg

      • There are sheets of rain and a rather large dash to the driftwood palace, but I must create & listen to this angels fate 🙂 Thank you for the link, sometimes I can really don’t think you are ‘wicked’ at all xox

  3. Oh brothers. I wanted to wring my best friend’s brother’s neck when we were growing up. He was such a self-sanctified turdball. I remember that anger. Good write.

  4. You have beautifully captured that surrealistic feel of the Spanish-language writers you cite, (tho I am not familiar with Quiroga–must check out) and every detail is etched with precision, so that the symbols are both larger than life, and woven through it almost invisibly as a texture. An excellent excellent poem, Magaly, and a wonderful challenge for the first day of our April journey. Thanks for both.

  5. What a story-teller you are Magaly! I particularly enjoy your marriage of paradoxes like angel and lice, dunghill and man, sister and goose. Your muse is new to me, but now I’m interested.

  6. Shoot! I don’t know any of your three inspirations so now have too large a reading list again!! But your poem! How much negative stimulation and power-filled empathy can a little girl carry? I think the voice is a little girl who sees the sufferer and then looks in a mirror–or maybe there are two little girls?–but either way, the poem is uniquely effective and I am affected. That would have made me a writer too. It makes me think of Cisneros’ “Geraldo no last name” from The House on Mango Street.

    • The Márquez and Quiroga stories are very short and online. I think you will appreciate them, but I think they’ll make you really sad. The Márquez’s story is meant for children, by the way… and it’s ruthless. The Quiroga story is very bloody and heartbreaking, so I’m not sure if you want to read it. Neruda’s books are just yummy!

  7. What a title! I love how you made us look at angels, and strangers in an entirely different way. The observer leads us on a journey through soul and circumstance second to none.

    Brilliantly conceived and executed.

  8. WOW! A stellar write! The description of the man deemed unhelpable, so sad. And the goose girl on the clothesline – this is where poetry and imagination reach a pinnacle and make the reader wake up, astonished at just what a poem can do, when it is done as well as this. Bravo.

  9. An angel being judged too filthy and without profit. I read that three times, and I think, for me, those are the words that make this a great poem. I like the way the poem feels gritty like a wound uncleaned; broken ribs and all. I don’t know why, but I think of drought and thirst? A teacher once told me that good poetry puts colors in your head. This puts shadows.

  10. Your poem haunts and I have to investigate your inspired poem~ wow!

    Thank you, for such a glorious, great leap into our monthly challenge-I love it and I have to go buy the book you mentioned!

    Bravo, your poem reads like mythology~

  11. First thoughts: Mother goose, goose in pagan symbolism, goose footed witch/gimp legged witch, brothers bled here, brothers/monks =Christians. vacant eyes empty soul, filthy angel self-made?

  12. We’re told to be good, be kind and we’re taught that by people we love and trust. So it breaks the soul and confounds the heart to yell into their deafness, when we see people that need the extended hand being shunned.

  13. Wow! Magaly! For me, this just brims with abstract imagery and juxta-positioned ideas…really intense and winged…(which I always love!). Great writing and excellent challenge…thank you!

  14. ‘Sweet and Sour’ here, Magaly. I loved reading as every line was a little surprise for me. I’ll be watching now for the hurt of the filthy angel and the vacant-eyed boys and their air-dried sister goose to show up or be hidden in your poems. They had troubles big time.
    ..

  15. I love how visual your poetry is. I can see it all so clearly, in a very surreal reality. Beautiful, frightening, sad. And the emotions it evokes are lingering. I will think of this episode often. Pondering all the implications ….
    Thank you Magaly for gifting this to my imagination. xxx

Leave a Comment