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Fire

This is a picture of fire, which to me, represents chaos and madness which are themes in my poem.

They lived in a shabby trailer close

to the Church of Sweet Revival

where he served as the assistant

pastor. He always wore a mask of

mature righteousness, pretended he

was compassionate, soft-spoken and in

a pensive mood, but it gnawed at him

that the pastor gave him a measly

salary and rarely let him preach.

He wanted to speak about love

and deep, all-encompassing spirituality,

a divine hand clasping the soul

with its ethereal fingers and

he greeted every member of the church

with the phrase, ‘Christly blessings.’ One day,

as fate would have it, he ended up

in another church, where a different

sort of revival took place,

the preacher hollered and spoke of hell,

a place where they’ll chop your nose off,

where maggots will feast on you like you’re

rotten cheese, where despair and madness

and weeping and gnashing and bludgeoning

and fire and sulphur and torment and anguish…

he listened, shaken, and then ran home

to his wife, said, “The Lord’s sending us to hell!”

and worried her until the two of them

cried aloud for mercy, yelled and screamed

that God spare them. He tried everything

after that — walking on glass shards, pouring

hot coal on his feet, drinking boiling water

until it flayed his throat, bashing his head

against the headboard, abstaining from sex,

disciplining his son, shaking him and

saying, “Boy, do you want that fire to

have you? Hell, that’s where you’re going

if you don’t get right with the Lord!”

until one day, he fell down, exhausted

from whipping himself with a belt

and dreamt of a mountain. Now, his wife

started harassing every Tom, Dick and Harry

in town, accusing them of being sodomites,

yelling in the street for the wicked to perish,

the rotten fruit to find the furnace,

God to rain AIDS on the liberals,

the pansies, the queers, the effeminate men

who touched each other in public bathrooms,

the cross-dressing sickos who gave her the

heebie-jeebies. She went to every store

in town, proselytising. “You bunch of

wicked fags and trannies are going to

hell! Yessir! Hell! Where the fires will

burn your privates off!” she yelled,

while he dreamt and dreamt.

The pastor laid him off, thinking he had

lost his senses, and one day, he ran

to his wife, saying, “I know the meaning of

the dream the Lord gave me. This is a

test, but we’ll get through it.” He proceeded to

tell her, and she ate every word like

it was manna from heaven.

The next day, he called his son, said,

“Boy. Your name’s no longer Marty.

It’s Isaac now,” and took him to a hilltop.

“Where are we going, daddy?” Isaac asked,

and he told him they were sacrificing a

goat. “Where’s the goat?” the boy asked

and he replied, “The Lord will provide, boy.

Yessir! He will!” with a mad glow in his eyes.

Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

For dVerse

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