Jesus, we're walking inside spiritually abandoned cities
with men who have no concept of the soul,
who have chopped down your crosses to build bonfires
so that their wives may have somewhere to burn their discarded fat;
cities with no fresh water for baptism,
every chalice spiked by marauding hucksters
come to rape the face of humanity
and spit hatred into its eyes.
They have rewritten your gospels Jesus,
and now preach not of eternity and everlasting love
but of the power of the here and the now,
the denial of consequence for the sake of today,
building ivory towers and not caring
if tomorrow's children can climb the stairs,
if they can even crawl out of the shadows of the palaces,
placing malnourished limb in front of each other,
umbilical cords trailing like butchered kimono dragons without fire,
breathless babes of Babylon snuffed out underfoot
as Utopia bends down to smell its own shit.
Jesus, they're waiting to drop the bomb,
their bulbous, greasy fingers posed on the button
as all our green fields are pockmarked with landmines
rattling in the winds of heresy, sandbagging our minds,
making escape the impossible dream;
so we build artificial minds offering artificial escapism,
digital fantasies to console our weeping
and plant distraction into our living rooms:
a pair of blinkers for every man, woman and child
to turn away from the festering corpulence of bankers
and unseen pioneers of legislation
queuing up to jump through the loopholes;
there is no tiger leaping through the flame here,
our economic tiger lies dead in a pool of failed businesses,
with the vomit of sub-prime mortgages and toxic debt
soaking into its stinking fur.
Jesus, let us break through these firewalls of cynicism
holding the fools of mankind to ransoms
that can only be paid with our entrapped souls,
forced into gas chambers, singing to order,
singing in order to forget the kiss of monoxide,
by the order of faceless generals called prosperity,
civilisation, the great white American dream
wearing the mask of hope.
Jesus, we pumped our children full of gasoline
and left them matchbooks for an inheritance,
a generation of ticking cataclysms,
an assembly line of suicide machines;
parents defending themselves with ignorance
against these accidents of birth
stillborn in culture and still crying for their bottles.
We put sugar in their upbringing and hide the sting
of perpetual disappointment born into dawning reality,
ground their glittering rocket ships and piss into their milk.
Jesus, they stuck paper money in their pipes
and used the future as a match.
We have forgotten our prayers
and soon our tongues will lie mute
from the lack of progress in our protests,
lying down with legs open and spread cheeks
allowing the pistons of industry
to pump crude oil through our assholes and into our hearts;
we're motors running on spitefulness and gluttony,
drowning our babies in the bubbling slick
and erecting our temples around the oil wells,
lining the pews with holy barrels,
a measurement of society's worth.
We will weigh the value of human life
against the oil fields and gold mines
and find that the minerals outweigh us all,
minerals that have the extra ballast
of tanks and bombs behind them.
Jesus, all our heroes have been cemented over.
We carry debt now as our burden, instead of across,
and sling our shoulders low
against the cost of modern living,
where bank accounts mean more than accountability,
interest rates mean more than interest in your fellow man.
We've been baked in the oven of transgression,
burnt skin cackling out like Tantulus,
beseeching and crazed by eternal thirst.
Surely now is the time for your judgment.
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, arts facilitator and mental health advocate. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA. He is the founder of Poetry NI, editor of FourXFour and Pen Points Press, and hosts the popular Purely Poetry open mic in Belfast. www.colindardispoet.co.uk