March 18, 2011

couldn’t have said it better myself, part 3

+++++Jeffrey McDaniel is a poetry god, and just another soul like you and me. He has written the best poem about God I have yet to come across all these many years. Oh! And I should have been encouraging you to read these (and all) poems out loud! All together now…

The Foxhole Manifesto

“There are no atheists in foxholes.”
++++++++++- old Christian proverb

The first god I remember was a Santa Clause god,
+++++who you only
turned to around Christmas time,
who you tried to butter up, and then got mad at if
+++++you didn’t
get what you wanted.
That didn’t make sense, I knew if there was a
+++++god, he could see
through us, like we were made
out of cellophane, like he could stare directly into
+++++our hearts,
the way we look into an aquarium,
like he’d know what was floating around in there,
+++++like he might be
the one feeding it.
Then there were those people who used god to
+++++threaten you,
saying you better
be careful – god’s watching, like god was a
+++++badass hillbilly
sitting in some cloud
with a pair of binoculars, a cotton candy beard, a
+++++six pack,
and a shot-gun.
Then I saw people who had Jesus’ name on their
+++++bumper sticker,
like he was running for president,
And sometimes those people with Jesus on their
+++++bumper sticker
would cut you off
on the freeway and give you the finger, which is
+++++very different
from lending you a hand.
Then there were people on television, dressed in
+++++weird clothes
and scary make-up, swearing
they had the secret to god, like god was a
+++++keyhole and their eyeball
was pressed to it, and if I just
gave’em some money they’d let me look, and
+++++then I could see god
just hanging around in his boxer shorts,
and though I like the idea of spying on god, I
+++++began to wonder
if the world would be a healthier place
if the Romans had just put up with Jesus and let
+++++him die of old age.
And then there were the football players,
+++++kneeling down in front
of everybody, thanking god,
like he was their best friend, but then they’d
+++++jump up and spike
the ball, yell I’m number one,
and I’d be confused, because if you’re number
+++++one, then
what number is god?
Then I saw politicians trotting god out on a leash,
+++++like a racehorse
they wanted to hop on
and ride to the finish line.  But if they lost it would
+++++be god’s fault,
and god would be the donkey
they’d pin all their problems on, and that was
+++++very nice of god:
to be both a race horse and a donkey.
And then there were those who said you better
+++++ be good on Earth
if you wanna get into heaven,
like heaven was the United States, and Earth was
+++++Mexico, and angels
were border patrol.  Like when you die
you sit in a parked car on the outskirts of
+++++heaven, the engine idling,
your soul in the back seat in one of those
used to carry small dogs on airplanes, as you
+++++listen on the radio to all
the people you ever wronged testify against you.
And then there was the church, which was like
+++++this cafeteria, where
they served god to you on these very
+++++ungodlike plates, but I wanted my god pure, and
+++++not watered down
by human beings, so I just had one of those
catastrophe gods – you know, the one you only
+++++turn to in an emergency,
like god’s the national guard you call in
to clean up the earthquake of your life.  So I got
+++++drunk one night,
drove home, passed out behind the wheel,
woke, going  sixty straight at a brick wall,
+++++slammed the brakes, heart
banging like a wrecking ball in my chest,
staring at death’s face in the bricks, close enough
+++++to see we had
the same cheekbones.
Now I have a god who’s like a mechanic who can
+++++fix anything,
so when I wanna chew somebody’s head off
like a saltwater taffy, or amputate my DNA, or
+++++open my wrists
like windows that have been painted shut,
I just put my soul into a box, like a busted computer,
+++++and haul it in.
And he never asks to see my paperwork,
or says my warranty has expired.  And I walk out
+++++feeling better.
And I don’t care if he doesn’t exist.

++++++++++by Jeffrey McDaniel

Categories: Poetry