Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And now for something completely different

Religious Poem

1. Lottery Stigmata

When he wasn’t in church, our town priest
sat in the church of whiskey,
smoking cigarettes and rattling ice like dice.

No one seemed to mind. Catholics liked
to drink and gamble at bingo.
The confessional smelled like a casino.

The story goes that when he won the lottery he disappeared.

A former priest running
an orphanage in a Tuscany villa?
Purchasing unlimited prostitutes in Vegas?
Living in a beach house with his boyfriend?
Drinking single malt scotch 24/7?

Townspeople sat in barstools and pews,
in classroom desks and dentist chairs,
in the multipurpose room and the Rotary hall,
imagining heaven.


2. Guantanamo of the Soul

God gives you
only what you can handle. That child
drowning in New Orleans? That child
rained down with fire in Baghdad? That child
shrunken with cancer in Panama City? That child
starving in Darfur? That child
raped in Yokohama? Who says
they can’t handle it?


3. Folk Mass

The priest’s hair grew longer, gracing
the edge of his Oreo collar. A man
with a beard and a woman with stringy hair
strummed their guitars at the altar. We sang

“Blowin’ in the Wind.” We sang
“Imagine.” Stained-glass light speckled the floor
and well-fed children imagined a room overflowing
with cream-filled chocolate cookies.


4. Job

is the literary forefather of
the Marquis de Sade.


5. Mormon Boys

They always come in pairs.
At Santa Clara and Fourth they push
their bikes past the City Hall stairs
beneath that billboard plush

with pigeon droppings, years
of shit layered like butter cream
frosting. Their young ears
shine pinkly over the crisp seams

of their button-down shirts.
Their dark pants are vaguely
hip-hop baggy. Is that style
a thirst? An escape valve?


6. Job’s Résumé

Suffering
is
Job’s
job.


7. The Gift

God gave my mother
Alzheimer’s. Her language

is falling away like
chemotherapized hair.

The other day I asked her:
“Mom, why did you leave the church?”

She said: “With Vatican II, the Pope opened
the window and I flew out.”


8. Responses to this Poem

“God

loves you.”
“Any time you think of your dead father that’s

god.”
“Any time you think of a legless child that’s

god.”
“Any time you think of maggots devouring a carcass that’s

god.”
“Any time you forgive those who would murder you that’s

god.”
“We are all little
gods.”
“Praise the lord and pass the atom

bomb.”
“God

isn’t religion.”
“When you feel the wind rustling the leaves that’s

god.”
“When you feel your skin crawling that’s

god.”
“We can never understand the ways of

god.”
“God
is your higher power.”
“Your higher power is

god.”
“God

is a man with a long flowing beard who had sex with a virgin.”
“You have legions of virgins waiting for you in heaven, courtesy of

god.”
"God
loves the sinner but hates the sin."
“God
hates fags.”
“God

loves fags.”


--Kate Evans
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