Abraham’s Paradise Paradox

They thus beat stained, sinful swords
unto penitent plowshares,
wanting to live in peaceful accords
and promising in prayers
to share the bounty of their Lord
with kin and friend and neighbor
as milk-and-honey freely poured
as blood from a saber
so long as plow cut not too deep
the lands they sought to sow
that golden crop they wished to reap
to expose the bones below.
But however they tried to plant a grain
in the Promised Land’s womb
they harvested only the crop of Cain—
a crimson, bleeding bloom.

Sotie

In the center of the stage the silence broke
and thereupon the Devil, grinning, spoke:
“Lift your donkey-eared sire higher
and pile the crosses upon the pyre—
it is the Feast of Fools, the decadence
when insanity makes the most sense.
Too many plagues, too many prayers,
too many imbalances while God errs.
Cast the dice and dance a jig,
slit the throat of both pope and pig.
It is not heathenism, but Order—
atonement for chaos on the border
between right and wrong, sins and morals;
a contrast of curses and of chorales.
What good is that grave marked Tomorrow?
All that matters now is to drown the sorrow.
For we dance and make merry, knowing life
is but a baby dropped by a bumbling midwife.
So, if the world is nothing but stout sadness,
let us go to the drunken refuge of madness,
stubborn as a donkey in his destitution
and no crazier than a priest steeped in delusion.
See the father who lost to bleeding boils
the children he loved, his wife, the spoils
of a pious life now martyred to idiotic chance,
and so he joins his feet to a heathen dance.
See this small boy, prematurely grown a man
after his family died, leaving this orphan
at a young age and beset with the sores
that took them—give unto him wine and whores
and let him live while he may, today, anon,
for tomorrow will never come, like Canaan,
where the Promised Land’s happy shore
is lapped with blood, and nothing more,
for our lives are meted in thrifty measure
with much of pain and so little of pleasure.
And, so, this beldam—with her back broken
from years of fruitless toil—let her soak in
Dionysian necatar, easing the aches of her limbs
and the hurtful memories whose barbed stems
entwine her heart to prick and bleed—
let drink be her balm, barrels equal to need.
And let the nuns and monks leave their cloisters
and converge in congress, seeding pearls upon oysters,
for the End comes today, and tomorrow comes never
while Death sharpens his sickle blade to swing and sever
every life, ready as a seed ripened full to bloom
while planted in this filthy, diseased mass tomb.
So dance, while you can, and exhaust yourself well,
because Sleep will come, at the end of your tale,
and the earth will continue to orbit a ball of light
while adrift in a void of indifferent Eternal Night.”
Erasmus appeared onstage, where all could see him,
shrugging as he agreed: “Ad libitum—carpe diem.”

God-Gazer

He was a theist obsessed with knowing whether God did exist,
toiling away in his tottering telescope tower
and gazing into cosmic mysteries, nebular mist—
from stars to microbes, studying hour after hour.

He could measure a planet’s circumference within an inch
using quantum math as a wizard weaves a magic spell
and diagramed the cogs, tightening with an electron wrench
the algorithms of existence, programming them without fail.

And he did such devilry because his beloved wife had died
from the frailty inborn into mortal things,
so he looked to disprove what he had always denied
and then unburden his grievances to the King of kings.

His tower had been built upon the crypt of his wife,
stacked brick by brick toward the vast-vaulted sky,
like a cyclopean cairn, a monument to their former life
and to his God, toward which he turned his lens-powered eye.

He gazed into the telescope, across billions of light-years,
calculating all that was and all that was past,
and, in so doing, finally penetrated the ancient spheres,
coming face to face with his God at long last.

It was a void of life, above being as it was below,
and the empty gulfs were as inert, silent, and still
as the buried body of his wife, whereby he had come to know
the loneliness of the depths, of the universe, and all anyone ever will.

Closing Bell

There were no golden toilet seats
accommodating Christ in his tomb,
nor does the Golden Calf present her teats
to feed greed, nor is there enough room
where you can stack money bags high
as stepping stones with which to ascend
to the heights of the Heavenly sky
by wealth, or the merits of a stock dividend.
To earn the yield beyond the Gates
or to sell for the profit of the Saved—
in the afterlife the going rates
have no value and have thus caved
to the pettiness of the old rat race,
nor can your stock broker’s insight
save you from that marketplace
nor can insider trading set it right.
Take the private elevator up for a view
within your tallest namesake tower,
but the downturn’s plunge will still take you
at the closing bell of that final hour.

The Seven Plagues Of Eden

He told Adam all was his, that all
served him and his,
that the angels made more perfectly in his image
as if woven from mirrored glass and glance
were inferior in every way,
and like his Lord, Adam, too, was possessed of a mind of
pride,
taken with his own place among the cosmos.
So strange, then, that God did not see
the difficulty of two monarchs occupying the same throne.
As if to distract from such a
constitutional crisis,
God made for Adam a wife, named Lilith,
whose sex would be a seat for the scepter
of Man.
Adam looked upon Lilith
and longed for her, seeking to
ordain himself with her
endless maidenhood.
But Lilith, being more beautiful than Lucifer,
and more resentful of Adam than any fallen angel,
thought how vain Adam was in his presumptions
and sought to make a throne of him instead
whereby she could rule over Eden, mounting
a coup
by mounting
his cock.
God saw Lilith grinding upon the throne
she had made of Adam
and saw Adam indolent beneath the pleasures
that outshone even those of Eden.
God, being a jealous god,
chaffed at this congress,
and Adam,
being made in God’s image,
sought not but food and fornication,
the vices of his make
being to breed
children upon the earth,
much like his God.
Yet,
Lilith was begotten of no children,
her womb being barren, for Adam’s
lazy sperm
embodied his traits accordingly.
God banished Lilith from Eden.
Adam, with nothing to occupy himself,
fell to sleep from ever greater indolence,
dreaming of the Queen that had been
taken from him,
whereupon God fashioned from his rib
a wife to compel him beyond
dreaming; a wife to
seduce him to the waking world.
Her name was Eve
and Adam, looking upon her, saw himself,
the only thing he loved more than Lilith,
and so he immediately took upon her
himself, his
lust,
begetting upon her his seed
so as to multiply himself, to populate the world
with what he loved most; to surround himself
with daughter-sister-wives upon which
to rut and satisfy his endless self-love.
Yet Eve was discontent
for she looked to Lilith
riding the errant winds
and whose demon children were born
in the dreams of Man,
and found her comely after so many births
whereas her own rib-born body
was disfigured, twisted with the
expulsion of fruits.
Envy
befell Eve
as she gazed upon the first wife of Adam
and her immaculate limbs; Lilith
who seduced every man,
from peasant to Pope,
and never had writ of wear scarred into her
belly or breasts.
And, in the midst of this
moral crisis
the snake came, hungering in
greed
for all of Eden; looking to keep it all
for himself, or herself, or Himself,
overcome with an inborn
gluttony.
While Adam was entranced with his many
daughter-sister-wives,
the snake called to Eve
and told her to look at the Tree of Knowledge
and observe the Forbidden Fruit.
“Does it not seem a delicious temptation?”
the snake asked.
“Eat of it, for God hath given all in this Garden
for His children, nor know you
the difference between Right and Wrong, having been made
in God’s image.”
Eve, thinking she was doing good upon Eden—
or perhaps wanting freedom from that paradisaical
prison
wherein she was just another plaything
for the endless hours of Adam’s idle indulgence—
took the fruit down and partook of it.
Gaining knowledge, she also gained sympathy
and realized that Adam was not to blame
for the way he was made,
nor God, and so,
seeking to free all from one another,
she gave unto Adam the Fruit of Knowledge.
Wrath
was immediate, for God so hated
anyone to know His mind, to realize His
own vices of pettiness and resentment and
cosmic loneliness
and so He cast out Adam and Eve, so taken with hatred
for Eve
that He decreed, forthwith, the Fall was her fault
and that wherever Man and Woman went
seeking to make an Eden
the same deadly sins would unravel it,
for they carried in their hearts
what would make and destroy their happiness,
much like God Himself,
whose deadly sins
made and destroyed Eden
and the happiness He tried to make
for Himself.

Flannery O’Connor’s Faith

The Catholic faith for her was not as some butterfly
fluttering so lovely upon an easy breeze
while a rainbow arced in a clear blue sky
and cheerful birds sang among the trees—
it was being one-winged and tumbling, nearly killed
by a passing car that did not brake,
or half-smeared on God’s indifferent windshield
careless of however fragile or pretty the butterfly’s make;
it was the lepidopterist pinning it upon
cardboard and encasing it in garish glass
to display the grotesqueries of beauty cruelly gone
and the beauty of grotesqueries as they come to pass,
for her faith was of Testaments both Old and New,
and thus she believed that conviction meant sorrows and agony—
the butterfly caught in a spider’s web, a view
with which I, an atheist, happen to agree.