The Wisdom of Others
Concerning Faith

"You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it."

~~ Samuel Butler (1902)

"Not Truth, but Faith, it is
That keeps the world alive."

~~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Fresco Alfresco"

I am Michelangelo;
I want nothing more
than to lie on my back
on the scaffolding
very close to Arcadia,
dye in my eye, smelling
unwashed, affixing
sinful finishing touches
to the finger of a god
who dares to lay a finger
on the finger of man.
I am seriously considering
modifying that finger from
the index to the middle one.

You are Pope Julius II;
You want nothing more
than to drop to your knees
on the mosaic floor
very close to Abaddon,
concern in your hair, smelling
a rat, bellowing “When will
it be done?” to a process
with no prelude, no mezzo,
no denouement, no fore and no aft.
You are seriously considering
shoving your pipe dreams
and your boot up my ass.

Your pining can be pinned
on want of the word “permanent,”
so I drizzle it down to you
like a pagan parrots “Seraphim”
to a child. You are the chief
of a church you have lost
all faith in. I am the infidel
pushing benevolent force
in the face of no evidence.

We are the fiasco fresco,
Last Judgement, scorned
nudes in the papal chapel.
Like the Italian Renaissance,
we are thaumaturgy;
we are not sacrosanct.

Pigment on plaster,
not sculpture in stone.

© 2000 MJM

Featured in the August 2000 edition of The Eclipse, Vol. 1, No. 4
Winner of the Sundress Poetry Slam, July 26, 2000


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