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Friday, March 14, 2008

Temple fugitive

Hiding while I pray,
Eyes darting here and there,
Watching my every action,
I whisper to my god.

Do I go around like this?
Do I have to do it again?
What do I do now?
And must I really tip the priest?

Some smoke and fire.
Offerings of milk and flowers.
Worshipping a sacred idol.
Believing in a painless what's-meant-to-be.

Never sure which way to turn,
Not sure about the holy ash,
Looks like people come here to mingle.
But I am here on business.

I first thank my god,
Omnipotent provider that he is,
For he welcomes all with open arms;
Loving father, divine protector.

Then, I ask that he do his job,
And give me what is rightfully mine.
Millions ask for the World on a platter.
But only true devotion will help me jump the line.

And I close my eyes to pray,
Picturing things I'd like to own.
Flashy cars, wads of cash,
Recognition, fame, being well-known.

Fever-pitched chanting,
Of verses from ancient texts.
Strange harmony, ever-changing rhythm.
The act of worship in all its glory.

I imagine my god looking down,
At me, at us, at them.
Wondering why, wondering how.
A soulless catastrophe called man.

But now, we must hurry,
For the ceremony has ended.
We partake of the holy sweet,
And mark ourselves with sandalwood paste.

We leave without turning
Our backs to our deity.
We retrieve, with humility,
Our footwear at the entrance.

Confused. Not sure how to feel.
Ambiguous spirituality is this.
Faith, not mere ritual enactment.
This is why I sought solace.

I like to speak to my god.
Talk to him from my heart.
Share a joke, my troubles.
Ask him what I'm doing here. What?

And when I look around me,
I see people just like me.
But don't they wonder why?
Don't they truly see?

Faith can move mountains,
Stop wars, make brothers and sisters of us all.
But that is myth enough.
Not ready to believe in a divine ideal.

We created the stories
Of gods, mortals and demons.
Palaces in the skies above,
Showering curses and then blessings.

Here on Earth though,
We sway to a different tune,
Where penniless peasantry
Offer up their lives to wealthy, holy men.

And we quarrel with each other,
About whose god is better.
Killing in the name of love.
God's love for all creation.

In my corner, I pray in secret.
Closing my eyes, I hope.
That it'll all make sense,
To me. To us. To them.

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