Ernesto Cardenal

was wearing a beret

when he read

his book of poems

“Ninety at ninety”

before the adoring masses

in Nicaragua.

He was, after all,

former Cultural Minister

of President Daniel Ortega

from whom he was estranged

after charging the comrade

with deviating from the goals

of the Revolution.

Alas, he was also a priest

whom Pope John Paul II

forbade to “administer

the sacrament.”

He subscribes to science’s

Big Bang theory

of Cosmic Creation

that formulates the Universe

is in perpetual state

of evolution,

never a complete phenomenon

purveyed by Christian charlatans

as the holy writ.

Is he hooking up

with Leon Trotsky’s theory

of permanent Revolution?

O, heretical view,

no matter how scientific

& empirical,

Vatican wouldn’t share,

claiming him to be

an apostate of lies & hate.


Kamel Daoud, an Algerian

writer has been called for

a fatwa, a death sentence

by an “unschooled imam,”

for his novel,

“Mersault: A Counter Investigation”

that focused on the nameless

victim who

is shot in Algiers.

It riled the Salafist imam,

Abdulfatah, “a radical

Islamist who charged

that the author is “leading

a war against God and the prophet.”

He would show a scene

that touched on an imam “wasting

time in discussion of God.”

But is Allah onion-skinned?

His interpreters

are antsy & quick to slash

throats on the imagined

blasphemy of the Koran

whose purity is slammed

by unbelievers…


He doesn’t know

what to make of the New Year

greeted madly by millions

who revel with fireworks

& secret prayers of of jubilation

& hope…

But isn’t it same old, same old?

Is change possible at all?

The past year

is something you could simply

shrug off, dismiss?

Can one be in control

of the future?

He’s not a necromancer

able to read the crystal ball.

There is only the black hole

to suck in the stars

& blanket the universe

with immaculate dark

Violence erupts like volcanic

voices in the wilderness.

Hostages are killed

to bring in moola

while the helpless bureaucrats quake

in their boots.

The vicious ISIS

wouldn’t have time

for metadiscourse…

Why must the Now

pay for the inequities

of an imperial past?

Is it worth the blood

of the innocent?

Whose generation must

pay for all the sins

of colonial conquerors?

What peace must obtain

in this season

of man-made crimes & disasters?


They are quick to vanish

like the wind in the orange

horizon –

The women of passion

who are bound for Chile,

New York, Barcelona…

Only to return a year after

to a blood-soaked land…

Who touches base?

Who will stay for good

in a country drowning

in tears & nightmare?

O she gifts him with a book

on Afro-American warrior,

Frederick Douglass,

plus a cd on flamenco

to disrupt his bleak reverie.

“You must change the scene,”

she counsels.

O he can only smile at his


But always the black coffee

on the table

is the color of his stirred brew.


They can’t get enough of him—

Those devotees who scramble

into tight spaces, up the trees,

on scaffoldings

to catch a glimpse

of the Vicar of Christ

whose gentle visage

is mistaken for Christ

in Tacloban, the streets around

the Apostolic Nunciature,

Luneta quadrants…

But he could only retreat

into the heart of silence

upon the question of an

abandoned child,

“Why does God allow all

the sufferings in the world?”

O there is too much noise

thereabouts –

only a moment of reflection

would help the pilgrim

in his journey

through the wasteland

of evil & chaos

Didn’t devotees of Nazarene

in Quiapo

trample a youth

whose death is

beautiful & necessary

intoned by befuddled clergy

that praises God for this

holy madness?

What homily should

suffice for it?

Who would report the virtual crime?

Bishops who love

the syncopated beat of their

holy grief?


They all wanted

a piece of him

as he walked up the plane

to bring him back

to Rome.

All would confess

to inward transformation –

the burden seemingly lifted

with his beatitude

for the bereaved…

But did he say anything novel, new?

It is the battered message

of friars when they first landed

in Mactan

eons ago…

Spirit over the material!

Solemn ritual over

orgiastic frenzy?

But the freethinkers

aren’t buying the rock star celebrity!

Vatican has cradled pedophile

Archbishops who were

pulled back to Rome,

never punished for

their savage libidinal abuse!

Is there an exit for the lot?

Who would dare say

that the pope has

invisible clothes?

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