Poem by Tom Garback

 

His Unholy Reign

And in the cult of suburb peace did the steeple rise
—erect and honey thick mahogany,
where rose petals fall to yarns of wind, away, away,
plucked daily fresh from southern fields not pure, no more—
for nestled in this chipping peak and hideout cold did He,
so still, crouch waiting long within the rusted golden bell
the nuns dared not to ever ring, for fear of bats and bite,
and too for Father’s privileges: “Only men may ring the tempo of the Lord.”

Nonetheless, up, there, his horns were sharp as blunt are molars of the goat,
his scarlet eyes the aged stars. And when the bitter night arrived,
He roared against the neighborhood and then committed sinful deeds: pounced down to earth and broke there trembles, putting Noah’s waves to shame,
and otherworldly terror his, long starved for youth’s next fruitful meal.

As Adam staggered by the curb, besmirched by gin’s deluxe façade,
he sang,
             “I’ll get there soon, that’s where I’ll be; where sun shine’s hot and
                       moonshine’s free.
             Chop, chop, chop each rose away; ashes to petals and petals to stay.
             Sing me a song of Faraway Bay.
             If you know the seraph’s path, take me as your singular wrath.
             Conjure up the reeds and the rough, tear them down until it’s enough,
             and I may enter His Forever Kingdom.”

A second next did he halt and feel the hoof claps at his heel.
The fiend then struck—indeed. No witness can be called.
The case not closed, the town a frenzied, cheerful bunch,
the blood still stains the ashen, concrete meadows,
and children frolic here at recess after lunch.

Yet such a time of play and bliss is when the looming figure’s fist
can ease, observe, digest, relax.
At times He will recall the weeks before the storm of Man,
when demons had the choice to play seductive games, incestuous acts

He sang,
             “It took the Lord but seven days to make the world,
             yet I would need but one to burn it down.
             The angels proudly say, ‘No man’s a perfect man.’
             But, nay!, they know not yet of this: I am, and hardly Man.
             I pray their pious, infant minds combust.
             No living eyes but mine have seen my claws, my tongue, my lust.
             Kind minds I do detest; yes, these and the rest.
             Now not long until, with fright, I will infest
             the Heart of Man—I’ll do what I do best.
             In their expiration, I’ll have exaltation
             for every ounce of bruise and lily.
             My goals I shan’t announce,
             lest they learn that perfect isn’t really
             anything worth knowing.
             Alas, I shall relish all this hellish heaven aflame,
             for, yes—truly, truly—
             the parish shall perish.
             and all shall turn to me.”

However, now the hours lull, save when the congregation gathers nigh,
to harken, praise, and beg pure glory, proud for God’s delights.
So sad they know not who is hearing all their woe and lament,
serpent of torment, master of the inferno.
He lurks above, almighty shadow-beast,
taking gen’rous time to pick the feeblest, sweetest feast.
And whence the fortnight comes, he’ll catch the wicked wind
to find another church
off into the east.

 

Tom Garback is currently pursuing a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. His writing has been printed in Generic and Guage magazines and was recognized by the National Committee of Teachers of English. He is a Reader for the Emerson Review and served as associate editor, associate copy editor, design associate, and marketing associate for Wilde Press.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine. His new book will be out someday.

 

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