by Alicia Ostriker

Page 4

Another poem, "Everywoman Her Own Theology," is about seeking God but being dissatisfied with the existing religions, and consequently having to invent my own:

I am nailing them up to the cathedral door
     Like Martin Luther. Actually, no,
     I don't want to resemble that Schmutzkopf
     (See Erik Erikson and N.O. Brown
     On the Reformer's anal aberrations,
     Not to mention his hatred of Jews and peasants),
     So I am thumbtacking these ninety-five
     Theses to the bulletin board in my kitchen.

     My proposals, or should I say requirements,
     Include at least one image of a god,
     Virile, beard optional, one of a goddess,
     Nubile, breast size approximating mine,
     One divine baby, one lion, one lamb,
     All nude as figs, all dancing wildly,
     All shining. Reproducible
     In marble, metal, in fact any material.

     Ethically, I am looking for
     An absolute endorsement of loving-kindness.
     No loopholes except maybe mosquitoes.
     Virtue and sin will henceforth be discouraged,
     Along with suffering and martyrdom.
     There will be no concept of infidels;
     Consequently the faithful must entertain
     Themselves some other way than killing infidels.

     And so forth and so on. I understand
     This piece of paper is going to be
     Spattered with wine one night at a party
     And covered over with newer pieces of paper.
     That is how it goes with bulletin boards.
     Nevertheless it will be there.
     Like an invitation, like a chalk pentangle,
     It will emanate certain occult vibrations.

     If something sacred wants to swoop from the universe
     Through a ceiling, and materialize,
     Folding its silver wings,
     In a kitchen, and bump its chest against mine,
     My paper will tell this being where to find me.

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