Category Archives: poetry

Appropriation — What I learned in Hip Hop Theater

This is a poem I wrote in response to the assignment: CHOOSE A PIECE OF TEXT THAT AFFECTS YOU, AND THEN APPROPRIATE IT.  I decided to use the finale scene in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as my starting point.




Cranly, or Convert-i-sation


I am not a cradle Catholic,
but I might as well have been.
10 years of education –
of learning my sins
and my time tables
in about the same breath.

Catholic guilt – not a matter
of blood anymore
than it ever was water.

It’s the choice to leave
food on my plate,
to go home with this boy,
to refuse an afterlife,
and always leave
something up to Fate.

He said dispassionately
how super-saturatedly
my mind is with the religion
I claim to have forsaken.

Did the idea ever occur to you,
…that Jesus was  not what he
pretended to be?

So, for me, the problem
was actually
between the altar and the stage:
two dueling devotions,
deifying myself,
missing Church to rehearse.
My mind occupied
with creations ill-defined
as temptations, a devil’s hand
transcribing my ideas
imbibing pure intentions
with dastardly machinations.
Maybe it was divine inspiration,
But I felt so trapped
in my own goddamn head
that it was Art (with a capital A)
or god (with a lower case g)
my pain or my prayers.
I felt frozen, numbed
to both His voice and mine.
Still I genuflect, and receive,
pretend to believe.

The first person to whom
that idea occurred,

was Jesus himself.

Jesus was no actor.
God is no writer.

I am never sure of it.

because you feel that the host too
may be the body and blood
the water and mud
that’s obstructing my vision
of the son of God and
not a wafer of bread?
and … you fear that it may be?

I feel that and I also fear it.

I could make a career
out of not believing this.

I will not serve
that in which I no longer believe…
I will not bow
to what I can barely perceive.
I will try to express myself
in some mode of life or art
as freely as I can
and as wholly as I can…
I will try to create
life within art
art within life, for
I desire to press
in my arms the
loveliness which has not
yet come into the world.


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Filed under Joyce, poetry, Writing