Trigger warning: A poem written during a time of despair, this explores themes of religious judgment, condemnation, gender inequity and divine forgiveness. Not a morning cuppa kind of read as it’s visceral and violent.
The inevitable judgment descends.
Voices in the corridor outside.
Her lover melts into the background.
He will never feel the full weight of condemnation,
an unfettered, liberally raised male.
The door busts open, battered by blood-lust,
hateful hands grasp the soft skin of her upper arms.
Sobbing, she stumbles down the muted hotel corridors.
‘Take her to that Jesus of Nazareth’.
‘Yeah, he’ll have to condemn her.
Him with all his forgiveness;
he’ll have to acknowledge The Law.
She’s guilty and she even knows it.
Look at her, snotting and snivelling’.
Tart. Liar. Bitch.
She doesn’t know Christ, she’s never known him.
He died the death that we deserve, they said.
Stretched flesh hung in toe-curling agony,
blotched, weeping face like an over-ripe plum,
a scorching suffocation,
solemnly described every Sunday.
‘This is his body, broken for us.’
‘This is his blood, spilled in our stead.’
And now they’re dragging her along the street…..
Dad once said he’d break her neck.
Now they’re going to break her bones.
She’s seen others, floppy limbed,
brains spilling out on the sand.
Smashing tearing chunks of skin and hair,
and after that, the God
who’d turn his face away:
‘Depart from me, I never knew you’.
Waking up cold with sweat,
Stumbling through darkness to the bathroom,
giddy with the magnitude of nothingness.
A doctrine of violence,
of slaughtered firstborn sons, youths killed by bears,
milk-mouthed, peachy-headed babies
ripped from their mothers’ breasts
and skewered by marauding warriors at the Lord’s command.
A gaping eternity of flame that tortures but does not consume.
As a child, padding through darkness
every night to make sure
Mummy and Daddy
hadn’t been Raptured away
in the twinkling of an eye.
What about Christ?
Sitting calmly there in the sand,
he turns from conversation.
Thrown to the floor she waits,
They tower above her.
She never was the same as them.
Now they’ve got her and they’re
going to do what they should have done
years ago –
bury her to the neck in the sand.
Her head will be tiny and trapped and
unable to twist or turn any more
they will snuff her out,
til all that’s left is a broken skull
and a mess for the vultures to clean up.
Quite right, too.
Now just a matter of time.
She hears their voices staccato sharp.
Jesus, drawing in the sand.
The crowd are silenced.
‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.
Too many fuckers forgot.