On Being Asked If I Believe in God

I say what the hell.

I say what Nietzsche said.

I say I was baptized Roman Catholic, went to St. Agnes Parochial School, liked the rituals, the gold chalice I thought contained hot chocolate and marshmallows brought to chanting lips.

I say I remember time-outs for not saying my Hail Marys, remember thinking Jesus Christ was only a connect-the-dot man

in my coloring book in Religion class.

I wanted out, I said, when a boy named Lamar dropped his pants with biblical intentions.

We were only in First grade, but we were learning French. 

St. Jefferson parish, that’s where they poured the water over my head. 

I say I liked Voodoo better, wanted to pray to Papa Legba,

draw the circle of salt.

Years later, my mother found my copy of Anton Sander LaVey’s Satanic Bible.

She told me she burned it.

I say why send me to school anyhow.

I say knowledge is satanic.

I say Lucifer was the first rock-star.

I say read Paradise Lost if you don’t believe me, and burn that, too.

I say that LaVey was a satire, not a satyr.

I blame it on Latin, the Baphomet and being a rebellious teenager.

I say Voodoo, Roman Catholicism and Satanism

are all the same anyhow.

I say all that blood, sacrifice and superstition scares me.

I once saw a shadow peeping into my friend’s trailer when I was in the kitchen getting a glass of water, saw it run off holding something.

I thought it was either a black cat or Man in Black

holding his big black book.

He never got my autograph.

I say I wouldn’t have wanted to prick my finger anyhow.

I say sometimes I pray to God.

I used to say, God grant me the serenity to accept the things

I cannot change.

Now I laugh and say, go to hell, you bastard, for all your aesthetic distance.

Like Jesus, I ask in the old tongue, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

I say I converted from Catholic to Baptist to Agnostic.

I say who can say for certain what the answers are.

They say it saves, helps to know where you’re going when you die.

I say we’re all going to hell anyhow.

I say that’s where Lord Byron is having his tea.

I say I’d like to join him, maybe even seduce him,

that all we ever want and think about is sex.

I say the cross is a phallic symbol if I ever saw one,

Romans be damned.

I say I’d rather be a Hell’s Angel, that the only gods

I need are the Ace of Spades and my motorcycle.

I say we’re flawed, that the human condition is suffering anyhow.

I say Buddhism got it right.

I sing words of wisdom, Mother Mary, let it be.

I say The Beatles got it right, too.

I say well I’ll be damned, I don’t know.

I say I’ll know when I die.