Tag Archives: church

Godless

Simon cannot close his eyes any more. He has spent the last three days trying to hide himself in slumber, smothering his face beneath the sheets, but his damned and dying flesh has now rested far too long. On the second day he tried to suffocate himself with a pillow, and as the phosphenes of asphyxiation flooded into sight, he thought he saw the hand of Christ beckoning his body. But as Simon reached out to grab His hand, he was forced to face the truth that he was left alive, doomed by Christ to never die, to never find His kingdom.

He had come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. And Simon had been deemed unworthy. And so he has been sitting in his own shit for three whole days, a pestilential penance for the double life that he had led, the lies he’d told his lover, and the loss that he’d been dealt.

Simon sees the streaks of sunlight sneaking in through the slits of his blinds.  He shifts his torso to try to get a peek behind the shades without leaving Maggie’s side in their bed. That is to say, where she was before the Rapture. As he moves he hears the squish of the urine-soaked mattress. The liquid sound sends a signal to his brain that his body needs water, needs food, needs some kind of nourishment. But he’s too afraid to move, to see the flames beyond the window as the Devil lays waste to the land. Simon can’t remember what happens after Revelations, and he’s terrified to find out. Even worse, he’s afraid of nothing at all. That God has left, and with Him has gone order, the structure of things, and now there is no one left to make the world happen.

“Ding-dong, motherfucker!” the mob outside screams. “God is dead, you assholes! We fucking won!” Their chanting is set to the thick rhythmic bass tones of a pop song blasting from a large subwoofer. Before he infiltrated the church, Simon would have been out there celebrating with them. Now he’s not sure what to celebrate. Did they win the war, that legion of sinners outside? The Conservative Christian literalists they’d railed against for so long were finally gone, leaving the rest of the world free to revel in debauchery. But the Rapture was real, and those hate-mongering zealots who were God’s chosen followers had been whisked away to live with Him in Heaven. A never-ending gift in return for their devout service: a land without sin, without sinners, without suffering.

But Simon still wonders who has truly won: those who were right, or those who are left? And which side does that leave him on?

Then he hears a window smash somewhere on the compound. Then another, then another, then another on the ground of the house, followed by the sucking sound of flames filling up the space. Simon feels the heat begin to rise from underneath.

Broken Bells

The wine stains shattered
slate, fermenting still/s
off wild yeast; a strain
lost like Gospels in Crusades.
The lonely tree survives
somehow, through cavernous decay —
of course the urban kind, a
-theistically gentrified.
It persevered, despite
its persecution, thriving
safely in the tower’s shade.
The bell it once contained
would cry or beg for mercy
to be euthanized, if
it hadn’t already gone deaf,
dumb, and blind
in some mythical time
-before-time. Where its booming
tone had once reverberated,
low and resonant,
the sound has since
been replaced by over
-powered subwoofers,
speaking in too-small
Sedans. I tried to ring
the bell again to shake
the tree of fruit, but found
the padlock cut and the gate
rusted shut, keeping what
ferments inside from spilling
out and altaring our lives.

It’s Your Funeral

Not sure what compelled me, but I went and found me ass in church th’ other day. Hadn’t been stepped in one for years, since I moved out on me own. Not by choice, anyway. Few times went for visiting to Ma, on the holidays, and she’d be dragging me there, would I let her. Depending on the mood — didn’t always like to be startin’ a thing, as it were. Some days it’d be, “Ma, but you don’t agree with what they says like, then you ain’t a Catholic. Simple as that,” and she’d say, “It doesn’t matter what’s been your thoughts, lad, just as long as you’ve the faith. It’s important, that.”

The Ma’am were somethin’ nuts, she were.

This time, I’d off to service on me own. First time in a while I’d been woken early on a Sunday. Weren’t by choice again, just felt like a thing to do. Found an Irish Mass somewhere in the neighborhood—never seen the place before, but heard they sang their hymns in the Old Language and thought it might be nice to have for a listen.

But the fat colleen what sang sharper than the bean sídhe, and I thought perhaps I’d been mistook with my decision. Still, her awful wail weren’t enough to keep from hearing me own name uttered during Father Liam’s dedicated moment for the service, unmistakeable in his soft Leitrim lilt. He’d spoke a prayer out for the names of those who’d recently been passed, a short list that sounded like he’d kept a bowl of names below the altar — one of given, one of family — and drew each name at random, as if for God’s luck to choose the death. “William…Healey,” he spoke. “Padraig…Sullivan. Niamh…O’Rourke…

Brian…McGackin,” and I felt dry in me mouth, the kick drum echo of a beating heart inside. Following, a moment of silence, filled only with the swell of air.

“We pray to the Lord,” the Father spoke.

“Lord hear our prayer,” they responded. I heard the fat colleen squeal again. “Dochas Linn Naomh P´draig / Aspal mór na hÉireann / Ainm orirc glégeal / Sól´s mó an tsaoil é,” and I waited for the true bean sídhe’s wail.

This is why I woke this mornin’. This is why I’m here, like. I held for my last breathe when I heard that awful howl, and clenched me eyes to closed. I opened up the right one with a caution when I realized it was nothing but the awful woman’s tone, but wondered if the Dullahan had traded in his steed for a V8 engine, revving in his cóiste bodhar as he’s waiting for to find me in the parking lot.

And that mornin’—oh, aye, that mornin’—that Communion never tasted quite as sweet as I had found.