steeples in the shape of knives

to god:

 

age 5. strawberry dress, springtime shoes, thorny nylons,  

i asked why i had to dress for religion like dad does at work

to watch adults in robes dunk a baby’s head with water in the name of you and your son.

“respect,” came a multiple choice answer

to the short-answer question

that i had to peruse the bible to find myself:

 

your disciples dressed themselves in humility

and not in ties or mary janes. sculpting themselves after you,

humble lord. because, you know, you were always placing yourself

beneath others, for you so loved the world (john) that you

deluged it (genesis), and you are always with us (matthew)

except when your people created idols in your

absence (ezekiel, etc.), only now you say

they should be are condemned by a hunk of stone saying

thou shalt not have gods before you (exodus). but,

our lord supreme,

 

who says (375 million Buddhists)

that you (794 million believers in indigenous religions)

are the only (1.15 billion Hindus)

deity (1.1 billion nonreligious people)

in the unbounded sky? (1 million pagans)

 

i don’t want to believe in deism nor atheism, lord, but neither

do i want to believe that we crucified you inside a monotheistic bubble,

or that you are a professor without a lesson taught,

leaving your students to pursue their own answers for two millennium. we are

pharaohs drowning

in our own red sea of bullet wounds, and a cesspool of unaffordable hospital bills

that has not yet to part

 

(although so often I believe you have)

because,

our father who art in heaven,

 

hollow be thy name. you are a shepherd (psalms)

leading angry lambs with empty bleats

calling you the almighty. they are crusaders

of the ignorance inquisition, wielding your gospel

as steeples in the shape of knives

held to the unknowing throats of men in turbans and youth

sporting rainbow flags and homeless girls who

will bear a baby fated to grow up on a diet of food stamps and

 

silence.

 

is what i felt, age 10, misty eyes, murky mind,

when i examined your text for the first time wondering how your

work could be so perfect (deuteronomy), so holy but

so holey. how you could be so perfect but so

human, jealous and arrogant and always leaving things unfinished. silence

is a betrayal i received from you and in turn what

i believed, in that

pregnant pause between two acquaintances when they

have depleted their wells of small talk. silence is

what i wanted to plant below the dirt of

the subconscious, seeds of betrayal that might eventually blossom

into an answer, but instead

silence is what i learned

from teenagers who believe like me, and from my

parents when i asked,

 

but what about my jewish education, my islamic education,

my sikh, hindu, taoist,

pagan, agnostic,

human

education?

 

and got a “because we’re not them” hiding in front of a

secret "because we weren't raised like them." your

words were stricken into my mortal skin, lord

or lords or lack thereof. i don’t want to believe

that the good news is a family heirloom inherited

transmitted generation by generation by

megaphone and spilled blood, but i do want

to believe that we were made

in the arrogant, jealous,

godlike image of someone who will

apologize soon for not breaking the silence.

 

thy will be done, lord,

even if you do not show yourself to do it.

 

  • sincerely, a disciple of humanity

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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