ASKING

Asking saints to intercede
is something quite new to me,
having never considered that saints
were people whom I might seek out.

I’ve started carefully, only
seeking saints who hang
on my family tree, Margaret,
Itta, Begga, Adela, Arnulf,

and I’ve vowed to ask nothing
for myself, for karma will
see to me one way or another,
so I ask only for those in need.

I don’t know if the saints
will respond, or how I would
know if they did, but my wife says
that prayer never hurts,

and I cannot argue with that.

WE WANT, AGAIN

We want to cry out,
but we have no words.

We want to scream
but all we give is silence.

We want to curse the invader
but cannot be heard
over the tanks, bombs
and rockets.

We want to mourn
but there are so many
innocents, where
do we begin?

We want to act,
but we are incapable
and can offer
only silent prayer.

ODE TO THE HOUSE CAT

I have concluded that God created the cat
in a moment of exhaustion or of extreme pique.
How else to explain such a soft fur covered creature
capable at once of a gentle caress and a claw
lunging out at a hand or face deemed too close.
Why else this projectile constantly launched
only at those places it was not to be,
fine wood tables etched with reminders
of its sudden presence and rapid departure.
What else to explain this shedding ball
of multihued fur that always curls in sleep
in the one place you wish to sit
and even when it cedes a seat to you, smirks
in the realization you will soon
an unexpectedly be half covered in fur.
Why this package of fluff and terror crawls
beneath your blanket as you verge on sleep
curls tightly against you and begins its gentle
rhythmic purring that draws you deeply
into a world of fur filled dreams.

First Published in ZOOANTHOLOGY, Sweetycat Press, August 2022

THE SAINT OF UNCOUNTED NAMES

A desert again,
always a desert
and she the saint
of uncounted names,
her crying eases, no
smile appears for this
Madonna of the coyotes,
her orange-orbed eyes
shuttered against the
slowly retreating sun.
Once her tears watered
the desert sands, mixed
with the blood of a Christ
now long forgotten, trans-
substantiated into a spirit
we formed in our image,
no longer we in his.
The Blessed Mother
watches, holding hope,
holding space, holding
a serenity we cannot
fathom in our search
for divine justification.
She remembers, she mourns,
for what ought to be, and waits
for the windwalkers
to pull the blanket
of stars over her.

First published in Liquid Imagination, Issue 52, October 2022
http://liquidimagination.silverpen.org/

EMPTY PLATES

The old gods have taken
up residence is small casitas
on the edge of Saguaro
National Park outside Tucson.

It isn’t Olympus, but the
property taxes had become
unsustainable with so few
bothering to offer tributes.

They have gotten over
their jealousy of the new
gods living in the valley,
with their European

villas, yachts and getaways,
for the old gods know well
how it will all end: there
will be no phoenixes when

the end approaches and
the newer still gods offer
their answer to prayers
not then yet even imagined.

YOU’RE OUT OF HERE

The gods have ceased
to care about us, too
busy with other more important
tasks like fighting their
pending evictions from
Olympus and Asgard.

And the demigods have
never given a damn
about us, always preening
and imagining their
elevation, so we are left
to muddle along and we
know how that has worked
through history, so we
have turned away, anointed
ourselves, declared we
are holy and built a heaven
and hell as a final middle
finger to the once gods
who can all go to hell.

ON THE HORIZON

In crossing the event horizon
dualities collapse and crumble.
God and Satan are again merged
into a unity, pressed into diamond
its glint that of a thousand suns.

We follow as we must, for now
there is neither good nor evil,
there merely is, and we have found
the path we have been seeking
on the road to our sigularity.

A HELL OF A CHOICE

But what if Heaven operates
like a restaurant, closed
each Monday, so you had
better die on Sunday, but
that doesn’t work because
God is resting and there
is no getting in on the sabbath.

That leaves you five days
from which to choose
to die, but God also is
the ultimate physician,
so Wednesdays the office
is closed, so that day
is out unless you can
arrange to die on a golf course.

Given the limitations
it is probably best
to become a Tibetan
Buddhist, do your stint
in the Bardo and be
reincarnated, hopefully
as a house cat, that
is the next best thing to heaven.

First Published in Half Hour to Kill, August 2022
https://halfhourtokill.com/home/a-hell-of-a-choice-by-louis-faber

OH, HELL

You say that I am an apostate,
hell bent, hell bound, soon to meet
the hell hound awaiting my arrival.

You have condemned me for thoughts
that deviate from your own, you
are the guardians of the Word, you say,

although whose words you guard is ever
harder and harder to discern, certainly
not those of He who died for saying them.

You say heaven is reserved to you
and those who merit being your apostles
and those who fail must be condemned.

Yet Cerberus understands well,
and you will be surprised when he
greets you at the hell gates of your heaven.

SIX FEET UNDER

I remember the afternoon
was cold and damp, with a persistent
drizzle that escaped
the clustered umbrellas,
the sky a blanket slowly shedding
the water that soaked it
as it sat out on the clothesline.

I suspect you would have
liked it this way, everyone in attendance,
everyone shuffling their feet,
wanting to look skyward,
knowing they would see only
a dome of black umbrella domes.

I recited the necessary prayers,
kept a reasonable pacing
despite the looks of many urging
me to abridge the service, but
the rain didn’t care about their wishes
and I knew you wouldn’t
so I carried on to the conclusion.

As they lowered your coffin
into the puddled grave, I imagined
you laughing, knowing in the end
you had this day gotten the last one.

First Published in The Poet Magazine – Featured Poetry
https://www.thepoetmagazine.org/august-2022