Atheist Analogies

Like never reading the love letters I wrote you

Words scattered all around

Like never seeing how

I let the blazing suns of a thousand remote

Solar systems blink your name

Like ignoring the food on your plate

The clothes neatly folded and pressed

The hands that kept you there

Breathing in, breathing out, wanton flowers

The messages painted on the billboard of the world

Child come home,

Rain come down

I’ll never stop looking

Across this field for you

The Imaginary Conversation

He is gone now

Gone to me, anyway

But I think of the things I would ask him if he were still here–

Would persistent nausea be enough? Or swarms of stinging insects? How about dead bodies? Or all the stubbed toes and fingers gone unmended

What if this post-modernist hell of your own invention were not unbearable heat, agony and utter despair

Forever/

Just

… an airless room, waiting for a love which never comes

All your regrets all your missed chances

To cry like a baby

Wail for a Savior

Weep at his feet, hair in hand, perfume spent

Shaken finally by what you

Would have been without Him

You believe?

I ask the children who would win

In a foot race

Einstein or Newton?

S. says the wearing of wigs would matter

And I picture Newton trotting gamely behind

Losing precious seconds

As he tries to keep the wig on.

Gravity is something you might believe in

Or streams of consciousness

But not Jesus, my subjective friend

Whose fury you have misjudged

Like the smallest of figures in the distance

Moving inexorably toward you

Fire in his eyes

–Revelation 19

Mansfield

How do atheists turf their ghosts? Wispy girls, long gone, in their place, algorithms, aggregates, the trees were old back when we were young, how wise they will be when we have left this place.

Who will bear the children of the dead? Who will tell the grown man

How pretty, how young you looked in your operatic yukata, how many letters have been written for you, all for you

Careful, I say, careful.

measure out impossible prayers to a Most Evident God

As though they were

Leaves caught in the wind

“There’s no base!”

“there’s no base!” 

Exclaimed the girl–green shirt, tiny dog resembling a toy…

only real in the crook of her arm

And suddenly I get atheism–

Darwin shouts in the  schoolyard– 

no base!

And unhinging the game from…

well, base-

Another name for

The trunk of the branching oak

we rest beneath

breathing hard

before someone says

One, two, three, get off my father’s apple tree

Not to be confused with 

That one inimitable player who says

One, two, three, base all over me

And somehow, miraculously

Means it.

Real Mom

i wrote it deliberately 

the way it has been now to me

for over 20 years

and has been to the created

Universe

For as long as He can remember

Or rather just since that unfortunate incident in the Garden

“Biological mother” might have always been our deplorable undoing-

The willful choice

To pick death over Real Mom

Seems somewhat abstruse and vaguely epistemological 

Until I tell you about the feral 

cats of Universal City

one of whom, just a wee thing

had words with me last night

Sure, they were just 

plaintive and insistent 

Mewings in the parking lot

But we both know it was more than that

It was all of them

Hidden in the margins

Rightfully afraid of the humans who trashed the Garden

Looking for Real Mom

And yet so cold, so alone

so afraid to come home.

A cage for freedom

I read that Carl Sagan’s wife has interpreted the story of Eden lost as a triumph of human freedom.

Ironic considering she surely sees it as a mythical tale.

Ironic considering that we have chosen holocaust, genocide, neglect, and violence as the measures of our freedom.

And there is this as well–when you see ultimate love and beauty as a confinement, one might rightly ask–

what do you know of love?

Where are you going?

My father was a straight talker.

He was raised in a baptist church by the parent who attended, but he was also raised in the south during a time when it was hard to miss the hypocrisy (is it ever far from us?)

He walked away. When I first knew him he did not believe in God. Even when other members of our family became flamingly involved with Jesus, my dad stayed back.

He did not take the leap until a conversation with a fire-and-brimstone type who pointed out that his hereditary baptist background suggested that the alternative to the yoke of Jesus was a bit warm.

Warm apparently worked. I say this because I never really felt it was even necessary to bring hell into the conversation. Who needs to know they are escaping a one-way trip to a dump if the alternative is an all-expenses-paid trip to paradise?

Where are you headed?

And who or what is leading you there?