San Juan Capistrano Mission by Paul Lieber

The chipped façade of cream brick.
The uneven plaster reminds me
of my apartment on 17th,
those little hills for floors,
the toilet in the hall and
dreams of the tenement swaying.

Forget stiff interpretations
of the bible and the slaughter
of infidels. Stay with the mortar,
stones and age, the adobe couches,
those motherly laps
in the garden
away from the burn
of sun and the mission
of this mission.

I hear my father through the archways.
“Religion killed half the human race.”

I stroll into the gilded chapel
as narrow as that flat downtown
but the ceiling, with its primitive
beams and mismatched lines, climbs
to the heavens and Latin chants
swirl so,
so I pull up a tier
and pray
as involuntarily as any seduction.

The winding chant pulls me further
to those holy stories, to the creepy almighty,
calling, and I, obedient music, am summoned

past the rape of aunt Jenny,
past the repairman fiddling with a hinge,
above the bombings to the east.
I’m over the ruins,
above the gift shop,
above the bells.

A single note.
An infidel.
Rising.

From: http://www.poemeleon.org/-paul-lieber/

Date: 2015

By: Paul Lieber (19??- )

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