Oh, Hell I Guess…

Dante has his seven circles
Homer his Hades, Isaiah his Sheol,
Jesus a Gehenna of unquenchable fires,
Muhammad a threatening Jahannam,
and John a Lake of sulfuric Fire
for a Disney Land of torturous pain
too much for old-school ameliorists
just wishing for annihilation or the
Great Nothing which means so much
more nothing when capitalized, and
it’s Joseph who gives us two hells – one
temporary for pain and anguish in-between
and romantically tolerable like another
purgatory, but the other a serious forever
of outer darkness for Saints gone astray
or souls beyond their reach or anyone’s;

we have nothing of the kind today,
no gnashing of teeth, unquenchable fire
to torment the wicked and straighten
our ways today by some pragmatic and
self-audited karma of paying it forward
to match the bitch of being paid back,
or peril of judgment tomorrow or
the childhood threat of Santa keeping lists,
instead we have dreams of nothing
like falling asleep – a long rest
or life simply not being so complicated,
a benign-ness beyond feeling, even a light
that everyone wants to walk toward
all met by the certainty of some
that the world is ever-worse
because hell is no more and you’ll see;

but what if – and this is what sticks – what if
even a hint is true of the unknowable,
that’s Pascal’s wager I guess because that’s
all it can be – a guess of what I should
or ought or must do today
while Joseph’s haunting outer darkness
makes me wonder of an even more
lost and irredeemable wilderness,
something beyond the imagination
and that’s what keeps me wanting,
guessing, believing there is more to
believing than believing in hell.


Why God made ears…

If for no other reason than to hear
the constant, tireless, angelic voice
of my daughter singing her way
through each and every day, hitting
and missing and finding new notes
for songs which filled the air,
refusing to be kept by closed doors,
stopping passersby through open
windows, and never failing to delight;
if for no other reason than this
had all the wisdom and wonder
of God created ears to hear it would
have been well worth the effort.


Playing God could be fun…

On Being God

When I grow up I want to be God,
capital ‘G’ – whole thing, just like you think,
maybe churches too, but that’s
not something I care about, like others;
I will listen to people when they talk,
do what I can, not what I want,
but not always when they want I’m sure,
good people will feel good about good
and not just for them either,
I’ll ignore pretty much most of what is
because that’s the way it seems best,
and my job will be to keep things running;
I’m sorry, but people will still die
because that’s what mortality means,
that, and thermodynamics,
and we’ll see if I can get people
to stop blaming themselves and others
for everything that they don’t like
because I won’t like everything either;
I’ll give gifts, but not on Christmas
so everyone else can feel special too,
but mercy will still be the toughest sell,
and I get that, but I’ll still try
and that’s the most anyone can ask.



All history, no life…

Only a Past

The man begging at the monument’s facade
has no future to imagine but only a past,
as pretenders to writing fear the blank page
praying for a prompt of creative forecast,
as history is inevitable providence to the faithless
afraid of the unknown of our choices
and Pollyannaish wishes cloud the gray matter
silencing all of doubt’s voices;
when will those who need to, learn to learn
and let those who cry, cry
when will old dogs find new tricks to love
until the day they must die.

What is original about sin…

History of Sin

History a tale of fallen’s friends
giving account of what had to be,
fixed by a sovereign who sees the end
saddled with a desire to be free;

lost to be found, but only through Rome
intrude on our lust, our passion, home,
named ex opere – the lusty lie
sprinkle the babies lest they all die;

create the fright, threaten what’s scary
touch our babes, but still necessary,
triumph assured, all wars justified
feelings condemned not capitalized.

Who erred that all are born this way
simply answered, we all come astray,
it’s sin, not hunger, that babies cry,
and not biology why we all must die.

When I pray I wonder…

Morning Prayer

Good morning, God – well
at least for me; since you
neither slumber nor sleep
and never get tired (I’ve tried
that but it doesn’t work for
me), and you’re constantly
observing (what we like to
call stalking, but that’s a harsh
word), and eavesdropping
(again, our word… sorry),
on your creation, it’s hard to
know what’s the appropriate
greeting, but since you know
all things and I don’t I’m
assuming it’s okay to just go
with what I know and you’ll
be understanding; and that’s
why I’d like to talk about with
you – some understanding,
but you know that already,
and I’m tired so I’m going to
take a nap soon (but that’s
something you don’t get
to enjoy and I feel bad about
that). Amen, and amen.