Tuesday, August 18, 2015

‘Liturgical Day’

His individualized ringtone sounds,
And Momentary Man wakens from his slumber.
Since he likes to sleep and hates his job,
He is already running late.
As he revels in the taste
Of his latest pre-packaged
Breakfast food, he praises himself
For this great find of his,
While closing the blinds
So what little of the sun and sky and birds
That are peeping into his kitchen
Will not distract him
From the gruesome glee
Of the TV news infotainers
Or the inspirational vanity
Of the latest Facebook posts.
This done, he showers and brushes his teeth
So he will be hygienically clean for the office.

Now at work, he stands before his desk,
And utters the customary curse
Before assuming the prescribed seated position.
Steadily typing, with a few breaks
To give fuel to the machine-body,
The day passes, bathed in fluorescent light,
Garish purple-green.

Evening has come. 
With paycheck in hand, he hurries to Holy Bank
Where lives Mammon, his incarnate god.
There he waits in line with fear and trembling
To receive his portion of the blessed sacraments,
The precious body and blood of the deity,
From the priestess behind the window pane:
The paper and ink of the money stored and handled
With such great care.  He partakes, then leaves,
Bright and happy.  He has seen the true light.

He enters the bar as the sun sets
To wash away the bad memories that remain
With alcohol, and loud talk and laughter
With his girlfriend and the other patron-parishioners.
Together they fill the night with their shouts and songs,
And at dismissal, a little kiss with his latest girl
Fulfills the mystery of lonely togetherness.
The streetlights that block out the starlight
Guide him through the dead desert parking lot.
All settled in, his motorized wheel-cage carries him back
To his apartment where he will await
With loathing the day ahead.

Half a world away, in a quiet Serbian village,
The church bells are ringing, calling all the people,
High-born and low-born, young and old, rich and poor,
To Evening Prayer, to the worship of God,
The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost,
To entrust themselves and one another
And all their lives unto Christ their God.

By Walt Garlington

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