©Mark Ali, 2013

©Mark Ali, 2013

 

The congregating flock manned the pews,
some with closed eyes blind,
others faithfully leaning forward,
many stretched their arms upwards with palms open,
most cupped their hands as bullhorns,
bellowing prophecies and condemnations like on high,
booing and hissing at one they believed less enlightened than them.

The cheering section was self-righteous,
swaying to and fro, bodies bobbing up and down,
a rhythmic wave, the hypnotizing effect of
premeditated call and response
practiced to look impromptu.

These worshippers were whipped in a frenzy;
the pastor, whom the house believed to be touched,
a guiding light, the latest last apostle, a viceroy,
stirred the devotee’s faith into a frothing,
leaving the hopeful lost in words, hemmed in by songs.

The curious one was lost by the congregation’s fervor
as they moved en masse to the conductor’s charge,
rising, falling, rising again with the cadence
of the preacher’s intonation who used his tenor
as the baton to sway their passions beyond doubt.

The assembly, no longer a flock but a teeming throng,
critics holier than thou, holier than this apostate,
holy rollers who, picking up speed, chanted,
“if he only knew what we rolled through,
lawd, he’d be rollin’ with us, too.”

The man of the cloth, wearing a satin-robe, white-collar –
sweat, swore the dissenter’s question blasphemy,
which led the horde to baptize him as a nonbeliever,
christen him as a heretic, castigate him as a heathen
who “sho’ nuff needed his soul some saving,”
when all he desired was an answer to a simple question:
how does one plus one plus one equal one?

 

©Mark Ali, 2013

Mark Ali became a BAWP fellow and has enjoyed the benefits of the extended network since, whether those connections occur formally or informally. Currently, he is contemplating why the majority of people prefer touch screens on their phone, rather than the ol’ qwerty keyboard. 

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2 Responses to “All Praise is Due by Mark Ali”

  1. Carla Says:

    Nonbelievers welcome you, heathen or not.


  2. Loved the vivid imagery of these lines:
    “most cupped their hands as bullhorns,
    bellowing prophecies and condemnations like on high”
    “who used his tenor
    as the baton to sway their passions beyond doubt.”
    And, the ending question!

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