Tag Archives: religion

Fairy Tale

The atheist pretends
for a moment
that he has a soul
shaped like a heart
given to him before birth
by Yahweh or Zeus or Baal—
it doesn’t matter
who is responsible
for this flat Valentine—
it’s his to keep
or give away
or cut into pieces like confetti
falling from grace,
which seems to him to be
the best way to celebrate this life
which has no one to thank for it
but the two people
who believed his birth
was a blessing
from their favorite god.

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-27-18

 

 

God Talk

Of all places, a bar
the week after Easter
six women, six men
talking God, talking Jesus
recapping the resurrection
one of the men, of course,
doing most of the talking
and I was so close
I could reach out
and touch his clothes
if I wanted to,
if I wanted to
challenge that faith of his
if I wanted to
ask a few questions
about the mission
god had chosen for him
which was to spread
the Good News like butter
onto this bread of mine
to make sure every unbeliever
knew that an afterlife
was an option
in exchange for reason
in exchange for the kind of
common sense that says
you need to seek forgiveness
from whoever it was
you hurt, injured, or wronged
instead of from a man
who lived and died
fourteen hundred years
before the invention
of the printing press.
So instead of begging
for anyone’s pardon
I head for the door
that leads to a light so bright
it took ten million years more
than just one day to be created
and no one in the world
has ever existed
who I’d ask to pick up
and carry all my burdens
and while they’re at it
pay for my tab.

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-10-18

Scaffolding

I was 12 years old
when Ryan Akers
approached me in the arcade
while I played Centipede.
I tried not to pay attention,
tried to act like I didn’t feel
anything unusual—
as if the new and unfamiliar wish
for him to touch me
was as benign
as anyone’s desire to hold a puppy.
And I don’t remember
a single word he and I exchanged
but I remember the shock
of seeing Lance kiss Amy
in the dark corridor
before we got picked up—
and the next morning in Sunday school
I watched Amy open a Dum-Dum
which she licked with a kind of pleasure
that made me certain
she wasn’t focused on the Book of Joshua
or its heroine, Rahab, the prostitute
who got exactly what she wanted.
Amy’s mind
was on the tip of Lance’s tongue—
and on the tip of mine
were words like sensual and erotic—
words that weren’t yet in my lexicon,
but their meaning was beginning
to take hold
on the scaffolding of my experience,
which wouldn’t include a kiss
from Ryan Akers—
but it was his anatomy
that first led my imagination
to cling to all the possible and varied
expressions of what I can now
identify as love.

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-18-18

Cropped area of “The Love Song” Norman Rockwell, 1926

The Truth

This is what
nobody tells you
most of the time
because
no one likes to admit
there is wiggle room
when it comes
to certain facts
about themselves—
or that maybe
love is really
the shortest
distance between
point A and point B
and straight lines
are simply the most
economic way
to get there.
Aren’t we taught
that the truth
is absolute
and righteous,
and that flux
and flexibility
are the enemies
of precision
and perfection?
All those religions
promise it’s something
worth betting
your sweet life on—
but I think
there’s only one thing
that can set us all free—
the only truth
that matters
is that there isn’t
only one.

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-21-17

 

“Figure at a Window” Salvador Dali, 1925

Loyalty, Undeserved

Loyalty
is overrated—
implies
a sort of
undeserved
protection
or respect.
Family first
was the original
default position
back when it
could easily
save your life—
it’s now a habit
bad as any
involuntary
compulsion or
mad delusion—
like the one
that insists
your god
is so perfect
there is nothing
you are willing
to do
to challenge
his divine
and eternal
absence.

 

DeMaris
12-5-16

Three Avocados

The new neighbors
who we didn’t know well, but didn’t like,
were going on a mission trip
so they knocked on our red door
and offered us three black avocados
and two ripe tomatoes
because, God bless us,
they didn’t want them to go to waste.

We were newly married then
and I had never tasted an avocado
or been in the same room with one.
My Indiana upbringing was void
of anything exotic or unknown—
and because my father had no appetite
for exploration, my mother,
(whose appetite for adventure was never satisfied)
filled our dinner table
with banal predictable flavors.

Those avocados did not enjoy salvation,
as our neighbors prayed they would.
It would be another ten years
before I’d have my first taste.
Dinner at a friend’s house—
burritos and sliced avocado.
I think about them sometimes—
those three wasted avocados—
how a sprinkling of salt and a spoon
would have changes our lives sooner
and for the better.

Eventually they moved away, our neighbors,
to start a new church up north.
We never liked them,
but had we known they’d given us
a fruit from heaven
we might have forgiven them
for the way everything they did
was in god’s name.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
9-2-16

Lunch with my Parents

We greet with hugs
and kisses and smiles
even though it’s only been a week
since we dined together
at another restaurant
in another part of town.
I dress for the occasion
in something like church clothes
because that’s what you do
when your parents are rich—
and they want to make sure
everyone knows who’s in control.
And you mustn’t forget
how much I love them—
though they’re on another team
who wants to build a wall
between abundance and need.
They struggle to understand
the equality of my love for others
while I remind them of a world
that doesn’t exist on Fox News.
Funny how well we get along
since we agree on nothing
except for the excellence
of the julep, the berry salad
and the turkey club
made divine by the avocados
which entered the country legally
and without the scrutiny
that my father gives the bill
when it arrives on the silver tray.
I’ll offer to pay my fair share
but my mother will refuse
and wrap her right wing tightly
around me as if she still believes
that angels are keeping track
of all her good deeds—
which are always sincere,
even if they are limited to
a world so small she believes
it can still contain me.

 

 

 

DeMaris Gaunt
7-16-16