Foundation

So often they dig
into the bedrock of their beliefs,
seeking iron ore to smelt
with the forge of their anger
so as to enumerate swords and arrowheads
with which to conquer in the name
of their faith,
only to undermine the very foundation of
Paradise.

Downwind

Downwind
Thinking himself quite tall
and claiming the high ground,
he loomed over them all
from atop a dung mound.
“You’re beneath me,” he said,
“and you always will be.”
Bible in hand, he read
from Deuteronomy.
“So circumcise your heart,”
he said, “and be not...stiff...”
then choked on the next part,
getting too big a whiff
of the shit neath his shoes,
as did his would-be flock
who left, as so behooves
those sickened by shit talk.
“Wait!” he cried, but then coughed
at the odor blowing
with the wind, now aloft,
and the heat now glowing
amidst the Summer sky
beaming with its full fire,
bringing tears to each eye
and worse than any mire.
“By God!,” the man exclaimed,
“and by Moses and Christ,
and all who yet be named,
this is a true shite-geist!”
He wavered a moment,
feeling faint at the smell,
but rallied as he went
though the smell did but swell.
“Yet, I shall reprimand
this age of foulest souls
and purge this goodly land
until the church bell tolls
to declare all so pure
as a Godly town might...”
He gagged as the manure
stank in the hot sunlight.
Rallying once again
from atop his dais,
he preached against all sin,
saying, “Lord God, stay us
from temptation, from lust,
from envy and from wrath,
show us works we will trust
and show us the right path.”
Then pointing at a boy
passing by with a book,
he vowed then to destroy
all sinners with a look
should they read any tome
that was not the Bible,
but the boy went on home
and cared not of “high bull”.
A girl then passed in grace
with ribbons fine and fair
and the preacher’s green face
burned bright red with a glare.
“Vanity is thy name!
Forsake earthly treasures
or it will be thy shame
in Heaven, these pleasures!”
The girl pinched her nose
and gave him a wide berth,
fearing to ruin clothes
more than her soul on earth.
The preacher loathed the cloth
of her pink dress as well,
saying “Beware the moth
that nibbles souls in Hell!”
The girl did not glance back,
but hastened to the downs,
keen to practice her knack
for sewing pretty gowns.
And many a more soul
did the preacher condemn,
the world together, whole—
leaf and bloom, root and stem.
“Foul!  Foul!  So foul indeed!
This world stretched beneath me!
An iniquitous seed
felled from the Fruitful Tree!”
He stomped deep in the mound
as if ‘twas what he scorned,
kicking filth all around
like a bullshitter, horned.
“As a Joshua tree
will my belief so grow
from this filth beneath me
and the faith that I show!”
All day he preached thereon
till sun slept and moon fell,
and though he bathed till dawn
he could not shake the smell.
“The iniquities last,
ever without reprieve
as shadows from the past
cast by Adam and Eve.”
He thought it a trial
from which others might learn,
yet his wife thought it vile—
a circumstance to spurn.
“If you are so holy,”
she said, “be a saint
no more roly-poly.
Wash away your foul taint!”
“Tis the taint of the world!”
he said, “and follows thus!”
She screamed at him, then hurled
a pan, raising a fuss.
“Out!  Out!” she cried, “Out, swine!
I cannot endure you!
Were I not wedded thine
I would marry anew!”
The preacher fled thither,
backside aching from blows,
and felt his heart wither,
as did his crinkling nose.
“The stench persists,” he said,
walking the country lane,
knowing not where to head
while stench brimmed in his brain.
“Now I am an exile
from out my own good home,
prey to some devil’s wile
and forever to roam!”
Angrier than before,
the preacher returned now
to the high mound once more
with a complacent brow.
“Still do your sins smell!”
he proclaimed, hands aloft.
“And will thus unto Hell
when sulphur and fire waft!
Raise your heads up to me,
and know the higher ground,
for I stand above thee,
a sermon on the mound!”
For the rest of his days
the mad preacher lectured,
decrying the world’s ways
while retching on each word.

Beneath His Habit

Beneath his habit there was hidden
what, in his gospels, he preached against—
a body beset, disease-ridden,
for which he so shivered and coughed and winced.

Beneath his collar there grew like weeds
a cancer of the throat, so like libel,
and down below his rosary beads
his lungs were black as a brand new Bible.

While he spoke to save each lamb-like soul
in the rapt congregation of his church
there was an irreparable hole
in his heart—literal, which made it lurch.

And there were blood clots, each quite swollen,
in his arteries, clogging the relay,
and there were polyps in his colon,
lined like pews in a church, ripe with decay.

He read aloud tales from the good book
of his Lord, and how He might spite us,
his fingers trembling, stiff at each crook,
and thorn-ringed with a flaming arthritis.

His frail body was the tale of Job,
each youthful blessing stripped wholly away
until only faith filled up his robe,
forcing fickle flesh through another day.

Love became his words, and creed his sight,
while pain became his altar boys and choir;
as he spoke of faith, his lips were white
and he smelled of Death beneath his attire.

But he felt akin at last to Christ
as he hung tormented upon the cross,
knowing faith means being sacrificed
to prove one’s faith, through its gain and its loss.

Speaking of the paradise to come
he became so passionate and pious
as to feel faint, his arms and legs numb
while he toppled down upon the dais.

Thus he fell, and thus his flock mistook
his death as evidence of their god’s wrath,
averting their eyes, so as to look
for some other means—an easier path.