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Salmon Poetry

The Influence of Joyce and Clarke on the Loss of My Faith

Tyler Farrell

Politics in the summer sermons of my youth
like fiends thrown overboard at the first
instance of lust and love and sex with slight
girlfriends. The hell of voices sighing,
waiting for repentance while the priest
reaches inside his pocket to adjust his
microphone. The way the old ladies fawn
over him like a flock of sheep, moocows
lowing at the classics, the bible studies
on Sunday and the choir directed by Sister
Bernadette who broke her arm at the news
of runaways, shocked, smoking pot under
the slide at Wilson park. The breath of God,
the anger casting lawgivers like a voice
of conscience. I remember dispensation
by the Pope on St. Patrick’s Day and talk
of celibacy and gluttony, the shadowed
miles of the mind, the temptation when
Junior High was more stress than college,
like suffering sinners crying at the feet
of Lucifer. I stood at the base of the statue
of Mary and watched her crush the serpent
with her bare feet. The sisters talked of
doubt, proper handwriting, hovering
above us like dark angels filled with eyes
and sight for the low classes of people
too poor to give to the church. Saint
Catherine of Siena would rather walk
a track of red coals than gaze upon the face
of the devil again. She prayed a solemn hush,
instead of luscious fields in the morning
mist where sloth and pride ran in the dark
flashing torches like candles at the head
of a deathbed. The modern church was
lines around our eyes, fell from the ceiling
every Wednesday and a sample of shrines
beheld in the form of grottoes, sand in my
hands. The small souls sign their names on
pages and pages of dollar bills in order
to witness the shaking of hands, thrown
dirt over shoulders and into the graveyard.
The new church renovated with fear
and low words. They taught me to wonder
at the start of our hours, the flesh of the
Crucifix and not of humans where blood
dripped on the heads of the damned.
The heavens were a roar, children of
some soul cleansed by baptism. The fires
rekindle with a birth in flame and I sit
with my mind in a book. The essence 
and glow somehow stained my eyes,
but the sight has opened a way in void
of spirit, the walls of clay, the shapeless
body, the word, the language of myself.
The bleak rain and phantoms have gone
and the refuge of sinners has been cured
by Saint Thomas, the angelic doctor,
the divine light where spirits of the un-
defiled Virgin rekindling my thoughts
on a plain bench reading of youth, age,
sinners, saints, mortals torn from a book
by my Gods. All worship and revere
the truest of all sins, the Bible without
judgment, the counsel of highest nature,
the holy words of your two Irish sons.

Copyright © Tyler Farrell 2012

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