Babel (A Poem About Empire, Heresy, and Speaking In Tongues)

Babel (A Poem About Empire, Heresy, and Speaking In Tongues) April 30, 2020

She is gathering the trumpets:
Maybe there are 7;
Maybe a prime number
Like 29 or 47 or 71.

The bottom is made of
Clay, she says, it may
Seem imposing but
It will easily topple

When the people start
Dancing and they see
That this goal of having
One language and one

Name for God has always
Been the gospel for empire:
A Pax Romani that isn’t
Really peace because

It means slavery for
People who wear less
Clothing and boarding
School for people who

Have different names for
God, because whiteness
Is not different than saying
There is only one tower

That will ever reach
Heaven and it must be
Built with the bones
Of heretics who are

Rebranded as saints
When their bones are
Rearranged into perfectly
Symmetrical white bricks

Of virgins who never
Contradicted any pope’s
Retroactively perfect
Authoritarian teachings.

And reason is an even
More pernicious master
Than tradition because
It gives empire a claim

To offer more than one
Religion among many but
The one true microscope
That can take apart every

Religion, and criticism is
Not better than science
Because the critics stand
Outside the arena

As well and put themselves
In the position of God no
Different than those who
Wear lab coats and dress

Everyone else in hospital
Gowns that can be easily
Penetrated with catheters
And needles of every kind

So that Jesus becomes the
Naked brown body hooked
Up to all the machines that
Build an industry out of

His blood that could actually
Heal the world were it allowed
To do its work and bring
Others into vulnerable

Relationship with all who
Are being crucified so they
See that their blood
Is his blood too and

Whenever empire spills
Their blood even if it
Uses his blood to paint
Chi and rho onto its shields,

It blasphemes his cross
Perfectly by planting it
On the beaches of the
New world which is an

Ancient world where heaven
Already existed and people
Already knew the mother
Through whom anyone can

Be reborn by water and spirit;
And sure this is heresy if
Presented as the one true
Story because haeresis

Means to claim the one true
Story and disregard every
Nuance and counterpoint,
Thinking only my take

Is valid and there are only
Either/ors, never both/ands,
Like Jesus being either God
Or man but never both.

She said that no one will
Resist my will or perhaps
He said that — what does
It matter if I call her my

Grandmother or my heavenly
Father? What I know is that
I have a trumpet and I have
Been commanded to blow

So that the people start swinging
Their hips and marching around
Babel until everyone is
Speaking in ancient languages

That were stomped out by
Empire, and in the chaotic
Mix of beautiful stories,
The dance party becomes heaven.

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