An Apostate’s Apology

I say I hate Jesus and his body, but that’s not really true.
I cried during the Passion; not as much as I did for Batman,
but I still felt bad for him as he hung from the cross.
I admire Francis and his namesake, Wilberforce and Bell too.
Ignoring all deities, we overlap more than we disagree
and work to make Heaven a place on Earth just as Carlisle sings.

I was sick once, so I went to church, but a hospital’s no use
when overrun by the inmates, and though diagnosed mentally ill,
I’m not so crazy that I’ll embrace hate and call it love,
tighten up marriage while loosening my pants for Ashley Madison,
cultivate life while I celebrate the deaths of jaywalking teens,
show more love toward a flag than children who are gay, trans,
female, black, or anybody else considered second class.
Though born again, I’m still old enough to understand hypocrisy;
I understood since I was three.

The body of Christ is sick, covered in its own shit,
anus agape, pouring out keepers of broken promise
from the Duggars and Robertsons to the Camerons and Grahams,
mimicking Ace Ventura as it speaks to the world
and declares itself the salt of the earth because it’s stench
stings the eyes and wounds of every lost soul.
It needs a bath in water, fire, and vinegar.
Scrub away all the Republican. Underneath,
there may be flesh worth following. If not,
at least it’ll be clean.

Seeker

I gave it all to God:
my worries, questions, confusion. I heard
no shout or whisper. Nothing but the wind.
I never heard from Christ, but his Body–
specifically his ass, the largest part–
had many words to dump on me.
Pray more, read the Bible more, tithe again.
I did and did some more, but bended knees
began to atrophy and brittle bones
began to splinter as my brittle mind
began to wither without salvation
or somebody to listen and not preach
to me; I already joined the choir.
Why tell me to pray as if I had stopped?
Why feed me clich├ęs I already bought?
They never heard a single word I said
between their sermons, pamphlets, catchphrases.
I took my queries, quandaries, and queerness
and left in search of answers from a source
I had once only used for porn.

I gave it all to Google;
a million answers given in return.
Most missed the mark, but several hit
the spots religion always missed.
My worries, questions, confusion exchanged
for answers, tips, crowdsourced information.
I no longer fear brown recluses;
I found my public speaking voice;
I learned how to bake my own manna;
I don’t have to wait. I found my choice.
It asks for nothing in return
for salvation. Google gives freely
while churches still send me junk mail
demanding money for deacons
and stages for Christian rock bands
whose sex tapes can be found through Google
along with other sins filtered by the Church.
I have nothing more to give to God.
I give my tithes to Amazon and prayers
to Google, but when overflown with words,
I’ll give the choicest to the church.

Fool for Christ

My “mistake” poem for Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

I drive through the neighborhoods
we played in. Nostalgia
directs my way. I drink that
now, weaned off the Holy Spirit.
I never meant to cast you away,
but I thought Jesus called my name.
Turns out Pastor Dan just wanted a lamb.
I said my prayers. I read the Bible
too much. I saw God everywhere,
but you, they said, were Jezebel.
Your cursing would send me to hell;
their verses ensured all would be well
if only I cut my life free of sin. You.
They robbed me in my depression.
They stole my money, they stole my friends,
they stole my joy and called it sin.

Now I sit alone
in coffeehouses and hope
to catch you on coincidence
to repair the bridge I burnt in purgatory,
but you left the valley years ago.
I remained in the wilderness.
I learned how to survive without manna.
I sufficed on morsels from ravens
and piss I purified with machines and alchemy.
I outgrew the church, rose from my knees,
learned to walk on naked feet,
but that you-shaped hole remains.
I fill it with godly women–your old BFFs–
and alcoholic time machines that bring me back
to you. If I was me then as I am now,
we might’ve been more than friends.
I wouldn’t resist temptation.
I wouldn’t bury my talents in the dirt.
I wouldn’t jump off the mountaintop
we built on top of your home
based on the promises of his word alone.
I wouldn’t take heaven for granted.

Like Peter, I now fish in the sea
for something to fill me
until the day I see you on my shore
beckoning me beside you again.

Clockwork

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The world speculates on
what awaits the Catholic Church
after the transition.
Smoke signals search the world
for new blood to fill the Vatican,
but every answer to every question
hides in history.

The next pope will come
from Europe
two generations late
wielding a staff
or a rod if occasion permits.
For the poor and the widowed,
he will cast much money
in exchange for their two mites.
He will not suffer another pedophile to harm
the church’s reputation further–
he will speak out against
homosexuals and priestesses
liberals and abortionists
Girl Scouts and cartoonists.
He will wear an egg on his head.
He will sit on a throne.

The sun will set
the sun will rise
the clock will tick
the clock will tock
the dogs will bark
the cats will hiss
the bees will buzz
the wasps will sting
the wolves will wake
and hunt for sheep
again.