Thursday, September 15, 2005

Losing My Religion a la James Tate

A Knock On The Door

They ask me if I've ever thought
about the end of the world,
and I say, "Come in, come in,
let me give you some lunch, for God's sake."
After a few bites it's the afterlife
they want to talk about. "Ouch," I say,
"did you see that grape leaf skeletonizer?"
Then they're talking about redemption
and the chosen few sitting right by His side.
"Doing what?" I ask. "Just sitting?"
I am surrounded by burned up zombies.
"Let's have some lemon chiffon pie
I bought yesterday at the 3 Dog Bakery."
But they want to talk about my soul.
I'm getting drowsy and see butterflies
everywhere. "Would you gentlemen
like to take a nap, I know I would."
They stand and back away from me,
out the door, walking toward my neighbors,
a black cloud over their heads
and they see nothing without end.

From "Shroud of the Gnome" by James Tate © 1997


Patry Francis said...

I once took a course with Tate which gave this poem extra resonance for me. I can envision him serving lemon pie to the Jehovahs in exactly this spirit.

Nick said...

I once was so tired of being woken up on Saturday mornings by a local Jehovah Witness's chapter that I invited them in, pulled out some literature on Buddhism and proceeded to enlighten them. All this from a non-practicing Catholic. Anyway I never saw them again.

When I first read this I thought: Tate just seems like my kind of guy. His poetry ain't bad either.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.