From Charles Hill, a parishioner at St. Clement's, Honolulu, written in the early hours of Ash Wednesday
THE LAST RITES FOR A MAN IN A WOMAN'S FROCK WHO VISITS THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
(It is time to call a demon what it is, a devil in primate's robes)
I think I want to wear a pretty flower print frock,
perhaps top it off with an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it
then knock on the Archbishop's palace door,
and invite him to laugh at my expense,
show him a legion of lesions in my soul,
all what keeps me ever so sore
abandoned by church, nation, and home.
I think I want to proclaim a fast,
shore up my energy for all who have died unjustly in the past
because he wanted to kiss a rose
and she wanted to play basketball too much;
life's joys denied them
all in the name of a God they serve,
they go on killing us all the day long
strip us, burn us at the stake, take away our dreams,
make examples of us to shame our names for love,
call all our goodness wrong.
I think I want to don a fresh frock today
then stop the clocks and after veiling my eyes, weep.
What else is there to do to keep the peace?
I think I want to kiss the hand that feeds me,
kiss the lips of the salty lover at my side who frees me,
and with my best frock on rise to the occasion at holy mass, at holy communion
stand up for Jesus in high and low places
no judge or priest or primate or pope or Archbishop may stop me
from wearing a frock,
from stopping the clock,
from stripping away the veil of ignorance here and now.
So bless me, O Lord, for I have sinned
leaving so much undone that might have been.
I think I'm already buried alive up to my eyeballs
in this crock of clergy shit called
divine right of straight and narrow,
the right of the oppressors to suck out my marrow;
all of them cannibals of truly human soul,
they eat my heart while it beats
and drink my blood as it flows
and call their churchly judgments acts of compassion.
I have been damned to hell like Crazy Jane was judged by her Bishop,
hanged glistening, bleeding from barbed wire
like Matthew Shepard was left out in the freezing Wyoming night,
killed by the same Christians who with their Bibles open to John 3:16
beat my brains out until they ooze into the street,
there is no survival rate available, it's too late to count out thirty coins of silver,
there's always more to betrayal,
and they tell me over and over and over again,
as I breathe my last,
"There is hope for you because God loves you, but not what you are,"
and at last I join my brothers and sisters from the past,
free at last, Thank God Almighty,
I'm free at last.
And when I die please ask them for my body and bury me
or burn me, I don't care,
but put me down in my pretty flower print frock
and before you scatter my ashes or bury my corpse,
stop the clocks,
if only for an hour
because time never ticked for me in this world anyway
where I have had no power, no face, no name, no peace,
only moments of pleasure when I wore a flower print frock
to guide me back to a dream of a lovely place the world might have been,
to a happy home I never had in this life,
Let me rest in peace, please, finally, in my frock give me my last rites.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ,
and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
(but please not like it was in my lifetime)
world without end, amen.
February 21, Ash Wednesday, 2007