Christmas 2007

God died on Christmas Eve 2007

as uniformed women and men

sang the traditional Christmas hymns

and as we ate and drank

the body and the blood

of Jesus H. Christ,

Thats around when God died.

The wine was just cheap,

shitty church wine

and the bread

was just a tasteless wafer

and the last time I went inside a church

aside from a funeral,

was the first time I ever left

before mass ended,

and on Christmas Eve of all days!!!

And mid-song,

just when everyone else was happiest,

but I knew

as I sat emotionless in the rear pew

that there was no reason to stay

because God was dead,

I had no reason to pray

prayers destined to fall on deaf ears

with no God around to hear.

I finally realized that God

wasn’t God after all

and after all those years

of guilt and fear

I woke up from the illusion

instilled in me at an early age,

as it had been similarly forced on my parents

and their parents

and all of their Irish-Catholic

and Polish-Catholic

and French-Catholic

ancestors

guilt and fear

and throw an extra fin in the collection plate

and the Chaplin tells us

war is ok

and I’ll try to enjoy Christmas without God now

and thousands of miles

away from family

but closer to the Holy Land than ever before,

closer to the truth about God

and love

and war

closer to coming home,

god willing,

one more day

crossed off the calendar

one more year

ending

with less hope

than the last,

haunted by these last few months

and the ghost of Christmas past

one more Christmas cookie,

coffee black

and a few American Spirits

sitting alone on the roof now

listening to a not-so-silent night

softened by sounds of church bells chiming

as Christmas Eve mass lets out

and I open another pack

which I’ll probably smoke before morning

as I look out beyond the wire

wondering what Santa

might have waiting for us tomorrow.

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