A Bench of Bishops is the Devil’s Flower Garden

A Bench of Bishops is the Devil’s Flower Garden
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Loathe Organized Religion

which is more bitter?
fruit from the tree of knowledge
or cyanide-laced Flavor Aid®?

Marshall Applewhite and thirty eight purple veils
lying extinguished about the cradle of every science
as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules?
embittered lives–good names blasted by mistaken zeal?

we have not even to risk the adventure alone
(for comets are made of ice)

soaked in the brine of myth and madness
reading poetry as prose
everybody warms themselves to a different fire
slouching toward Bethlehem
those patient and earnest seekers after truth

(scholars of the Septuagint mistranslated almah, the Hebrew word for ‘young woman’ into the Greek word, parthenos, ‘virgin’

three days journey inland
not fastened to a surface of stone
but hanging suspended in mid-air
an enormous Spanish galleon
listing slightly starboard
rigging adorned with orchids
dirty rags of sails blowing gently from its masts
and inside
a thick forest of flowers

David Cravens's picture

David R. Cravens was born in Saint Louis and raised in Farmington, Missouri. He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2001 during which he spent a semester in West Africa studying eastern philosophy. Afterward, he attended Hall’s Dive School in the Florida Keys and worked as a Scuba-diving instructor in the Bahamas, the Turneffe Islands of Belize, and the Channel Islands of Southern California. He is a member of Saint Louis Area Mensa; the National Eagle Scout Association; The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi; The National Scholars Honor Society of Magna Cum Laude; and the International English Honors Society of Sigma Tau Delta. He was the winner of the 2008 Saint Petersburg Review Prize in Poetry, and in 2009 he graduated with his master’s degree in English literature from Southeast Missouri State University, and was a finalist for Ohio State University’s The Journal William Allen Creative Nonfiction Contest. He is currently an adjunct Professor of English Studies for Central Methodist University as well as an English Instructor at Mineral Area College where he teaches literature and composition. He is presently working on a novel about guerrilla warfare in Southeast Missouri during the American Civil War, and plans to pursue his PhD in English literature and creative writing.

Last updated May 12, 2011