When I was seven, God,
I was told to believe
And never be afraid,
For your invisible hand
Would set things right.
But if it didn't
(And here's the dodgy part)
It'd be your infinite wisdom,
After all; and I was clearly unfit,
Too ignorant, like the rest of us,
To comprehend the bigger picture.
My feeble seven-year-old intellect
Stubborn, headstrong, refused to conform
And thus I became an atheist.
Impressed with angst?
Seduced by rebellion?
Swayed by logic? (or lack thereof?)
I cannot say for sure.
For a dozen years or so,
I relished making my parents cringe
And shredding to bits
The arguments of my devout friends.
It wasn't their faith which was to blame,
I assure you, Lord, it was my tongue,
My acid tongue, which true to its name
Spewed forth venomous bile
In the guise of high rhetoric.
But as you know,
At eighteen, one lives a thousand lives
And a thousand times does one die;
Elevating the mundane,
Debunking the profound
At the drop of a hat.
In my thousand-and-first avatar,
I, inebriated, desolate, disjoint,
Declared to the heavens
The following blasphemous words,
"Why do you torture me so?
If you're real, make your presence felt!
I've been pining away in vain,
Not a sign of my beloved yet,
And I've been wasting away for so long...
Surely, surely this is a garden-variety miracle
For a divine old fart such as yourself!"
As it so happened, you obliged
And I was united with my apparition in red.
It was on a lark that I stopped believeing
And on a lark did I believe again.
I know I'm not supposed to summon you
Think of you as a last resort.
In fact, truth be told, your way
Is to renounce desire altogether
Or something like that.
Forgive me, I've been born again
Not too long ago.
But how do you explain
My return to your flock
In the wake of my failures
On the trail of my defeats
And with the stench of insincerity
Still bearing down heavily...
I believe I love you,
Most days when I wake up.
My prayer, however, isn't pure.
And I'm convinced, now,
That every prayer is equally soiled, equally defiled.
There are no holy cows, among
The mad cattle rush of pilgrims,
The frenzied faithful, who now
Call me one of their own.