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There is chaos and consent in this place. Is there nothing to startle the mind and sweep away the artless terror of life?

I smile at myself and wish for expressions to form on others, yet they scream in horror at Jacobean war crimes and Cromwellian weasels.

I admit I am a quisling and wear proud my cowardice for future generations to tut at.

Distant shell drops in suburban garden. Dead rise like piles of sheet metal.

Behind screens nurses perform enemas with surprising interest and willing lubricant.

My shame falls away through an idle tide of amoral cant and formal masturbation.

‘You are sickening’ I hear voice say but have no interest in learning more than I already know.

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Through a Glass, Oddly

An imprisonment of no walls,

And of no escape.

Darkness, seeming constant.

 

Yet still some light comes,

And still I will see

The edges of his ways.

 

Oh God, darkness visible.

Thunder, perfect mind.

And bless this new existence of mine.

New Gospel Fragment Discovered

And it came to pass that Jesus enter the town of Bethsaida.

Immediately a crowd gathered around Jesus wanting to know news about fashions currently popular in Jerusalem (filthy robes), as well as the latest scandals involving King Herod (horse concubines).

Then someone asked Jesus, ‘Rabbi, what is the correct way to live rightously and worship God?’

And Jesus said, ‘listen to this parable and learn its lesson.’

A man got his wife a present for her birthday. He placed it in a large box, wrapped it in brightly coloured paper and gave it to her. 

Delighted, she opened it and looked inside: in there was a pile of washing up her husband wanted her to do. 

When she appeared ungrateful towards the gift and had steadfastly refused to do the aforementioned washing up, the husband emptied the contents of a wastepaper basket over her head.

He then made her wear the same wastepaper basket on her head for the next 30 years.

‘This is like God and his relationship to you’, Jesus said. ‘He gives you the gift of life and asks you to obey his laws: thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, etc. When you do not obey him, such as not doing his washing up, he will punish you by making you wear a wastepaper basket on your head for an extended period of time.’

 ‘Or sometimes he’ll punish you in other ways, like making you eat wood shavings, or having only ants as friends.’

‘God can do these things because He Loves You.

Jesus then rose and left the area, striding triumphantly into the sunset like a young Richard Burton.

However, the effect was spoiled when he fell into a deep hole after just ten yards.

And the people could not get him out that night, so they lowered an ass into the hole to keep Jesus company.

And the people strapped to the beast various games for Jesus to play, lest he became bored with the ass’s general conversation.

But by the next morning and their time of rescue, Jesus and the ass had forged a special friendship that lasted until the ass found someone more interesting to talk to.

Mustard Seed Sculpture

This sculpture, eye shaped and tipped on its end. Its outer edges coarse and corrugated… Do the shapes contained within the eye make a figure? A crucified figure, arms reach up in supplication. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). The aching cry of humanity in the face of pain and suffering.

The figure’s arms make a heart shape, tipped upside-down. Does this represent love, perhaps? If so, who’s love? God’s? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son”, etc, etc (John 3:16). Is it Jesus’ love; Jesus, holding his love for us in his arms as he is slowly dying of blood loss and suffocation? But can the word ‘love’ even be used in such a context? How can being slowly tortured to death ever be considered an act of love?

Or perhaps I’m seeing shapes where there aren’t any, and I am simply over- interpreting, reading too much into things. There’s a word for it, I think. Pareidolia. The phenomena of the subconscious mind seeing images in everyday objects: the face of Jesus in a tree bark; the haunting visage of the Virgin Mary in a frosted windowpane; the smug countenance of Simon Cowell viewed in a heavily used handkerchief.  Am I misinterpreting everything I see? My lack of critical faculties when it comes to art is mildly shameful. What do I Know?

Poem

An eye

On its end

Stares oddly.

It houses

A grisly Golgotha

On its front and reverse.

Like salvic coinage

It pays for our sin.