St. Peter ranged the gates of Heaven
And jangled keys in long disuse;
And thinking of a 7 Eleven,
He thought about his breaking loose
And dropping down to get a slurpy?
He felt himself a total twerp. He
Was always standing at his post;
But lately hadn’t played the host
To any who desired lodging
Because they usually got caught
By Satan who proved they were rot.
“Despite their prayers, it’s camouflaging,”
The devil said. And Peter let
Him drag them down to pay their debt.
This debt, of course, was never ending
Which Peter thought was somewhat harsh.
He cringed when he thought he was sending
A sinner to the fiery marsh.
But when these thoughts rose to crescendo,
He calmed himself with his Nintendo.
If God had wanted to cause pain,
Let them, reborn, live in Ukraine.
“A sin,” he thought, “is a malfunction,
Unless engaged in all the time
(As poets sometimes browbeat rhyme)
In which case it becomes dysfunction.
But that deserves a padded cell
Not burning in unending hell.”
But ever since the Good Lord Jesus
Had told him what he bound on earth
Was bound in Heaven “so it frees us
Of having to judge mankind’s worth,”
St. Peter thought it unendurable
Because he thought most sin was curable
If nurturing provided for
A lot of loving then some more.
Then, too, with many fewer paupers
The world might be a finer place
The kind you’d want to call My Space;
Especially one that’s filled with shoppers-
For shopping, he thought, did more good
Than all the churches ever could.
It’s not that he was growing cynical;
But he felt Heaven had lost touch
With troubles that were clearly clinical.
True evil was a bit too much
For which there’s clearly no solution;
But when it came to destitution,
It’s money makes a fighting chance
To kick most evils in the pants.
And then there was cooperation.
If only that could be unfurled,
Mankind could make a better world.
Instead it seemed annihilation
Was mankind’s order of the day;
Or, at the least, well on its way.
Now finding all these thoughts depressing,
He sat upon his judgment stone
That Heaven raised for his accessing
So he might have an earthly zone
Near Heaven’s Gates to judge a hero;
Or who got sent to less than zero;
Who’d be allowed to cop a plea
And finally get their jubilee
From serving time in Purgatory.
It was all Peter’s judgment call
Which he’d have done with once for all,
Except God made it mandatory-
Excluding him from Paradise
For his denying Jesus thrice,
At least until the final ending-
The one folks called Apocalypse.
He thought that end was fast impending
For all the angel fellowships,
Reporting back from Jacob’s ladder,
Said folks had gone mad as a hatter;
And that the Whore of Babylon
Was living in the Pentagon,
At Donald Rumsfeld’s invitation.
Though Rummy’d now become defunct,
He’d left her there securely bunked
Awaiting peace’s abdication-
So she could place marks of the beast
On soldiers in the Middle East.
Of course he’d read about Gomorrah
And Sodom but now mankind had
Despite the stories in the Torah
Destruction fifty times as mad.
And mostly it was concentrated
In D.C.; and was celebrated
By an administration that
Would use it all in nothing flat.
The Bush and Cheney presidency-
With Bush the weaker of the two
Perhaps because of low IQ-
Would claim it was in self-defense. He,
Old Cheney that is, might connive
To cook and eat the world alive.
Just then the saint heard high commotion-
“A wondrous noise not heard of late;”
Of one who surely sought promotion
To rest in peace in Heaven’s state.
But suddenly the noise abated
Then once again grew agitated;
Until St. Peter grew confused
And thought he’d drifted off and snoozed.
But then again the noise grew louder.
He recognized the voice, he thought
As Satan’s, sounding overwrought;
And yet another’s voice, much prouder.
He called to Death and asked who’d died.
“Dick Cheney,” Death said satisfied.
Death’s attitude to Cheney’s dying
Was difficult to say the least.
To say Death wanted Dick deep-frying
For having turned the Middle East
Into a land where men did battle
To keep gas pumping in Seattle;
Or turn it an amusement park
For Jesus freaks where they’d skylark
Would miss the point. For Death’s position
Was Bush and Cheney brushed aside
It’s Death decided how men died.
That job was his by definition;
But Cheney had usurped his work
And made Death feel a lowly clerk.
For Death, it’s as if Paris Hilton,
So recently released from jail,
Felt strong enough to go a tiltin’
With bangers and not break a nail.
Death prayed that Cheney should so suffer
The pains of Hell that just got rougher.
To see Hell’s pains so amplified,
Would make this fool pay for his pride.
And suffer so for an infinity
Well-past the time when awful Death
Would finally squeeze out His last breath;
But happy knowing asininity,
In Cheney, would be punished still
While Death was resting on Boot Hill.
Of course there was a bit of trouble,
As certainly there always is.
The surgeons worked, all, at the double
Or triple with most in a tizz
To save Dick’s life and keep him living
(Though one or two had some misgiving);
Yet even these were still quite loath
To flout their Hippocratic oath.
“So, finally, he’s dead,” said Peter.
“Of course he is… Well maybe not.
The doctors just might clear the clot;
But I’ve made sure this one’s a bleeder.
So let’s get on and try his soul
And send it down to Hell’s black hole.”
“Don’t tell me that the man’s still dying,”
Said Peter looking square at Death.
“No, let’s not go there,” Death said sighing.
“He’s living on assisted breath.
Let’s not repeat Terry Schiavo
Whom Christian freaks tried hard to save. Go
Ask her about her own ordeal
On life support till her appeal
Was finally granted its last hearing.”
“The Christians did seem rather odd.
You’d think they’d welcome seeing God.”
“And her within both sight and hearing
Of Heaven’s throne while down below…”
“Enough. You’re right. That was de trop.”
St. Peter shrugged and then he nodded.
“He’s not the one from Arkansas?
You know the one I mean. He spotted…”
“Oh, no,” said Death with a guffaw.
That’s Clinton, you mean. What a pecker!
He calls it ‘Willie- the home wrecker.’
A Democrat. Not GOP.
A President. Dick’s a VP.”
St. Peter smiled. Death was omniscient
In human things. A looky-loo
Especially at those in “Who’s Who.”
“Yes,” Peter said. “That’s quite sufficient.
If Satan’s ready so am I,
As long you’re certain he will die.”
Then, once again, they heard a shrieking
That screamed “But I’m alive not dead.”
The voice was fuming, raging, freaking
Then pleaded where ‘twas being led.
“Unto the throne of great St. Peter,”
A voice replied. It was a beater
Who drove reluctants to the stone
Who might decamp left on their own.
Some claim they go phantasmagorical
When they have no escorting hosts
Returning in the form of ghosts
Back home where they lived when historical.
So all are sent with palace guards
Who’ve black marks on deportment cards.
Just then a rent between dimensions
Forced Cheney to come stumbling in.
Still swearing, spouting his dissentions;
He promised he’d have discipline
For any devil proved a leader..
But then stopped short as he saw Peter;
And seeing he was not in Hell
But was beneath the citadel
Of Heaven, he stood flabbergasted.
And looking round at what he saw
Was for a moment lost in awe.
Then whirling round again lambasted
The devil as a so-and-so;
And said “I’m still alive below.”
“Why you’ve engaged in my kidnapping
Before my time on earth was done.
You’ve got the liberals toe-tapping
And all because you jumped the gun.
Look down there at those doctors fighting
To save my life. By extraditing
My soul you’ve taken any chance
I’d show them who still wears the pants…”
This last was met by laughs and snorting-
Since Cheney wore an open gown
That barely reached to his hometown
And showed his butt and little short thing.
Their laughing made him understand
Not he, but they were in command.
But Peter did as Dick requested
And looked to earth so far below.
He marveled how the doctors quested
To save the war’s politico.
The doctors, six of them, were trying
To save just one man who was dying
While soldiers in Iraq must share
A medic trained by Quasi Care-
An HMO that specializes
In training dropouts for the war
And specially the Med Care Corps.
For every soldier patched up, prizes
Were given to the medic who
Could send the man back postage due.
But Peter also noted nurses-
More than a few were Democrats-
Behind the doctors mumbling curses
Which sounded quite like “…drowning rats;”
As well as medical technicians
Who wished they had no inhibitions
About the fact they were pro life
When patients were under the knife.
The saint turned back and looked at Cheney
And smiling said “Be of good cheer.
We’ll just get started with voir dire.
You’re still alive. You’re outcome’s grainy.
So why don’t we just go ahead
In case…In case you end up dead.”
“Voir dire! You mean a trial by jury?
But I thought God put you in charge?
Said Cheney in a spitting fury.
“He did. But often I enlarge
My judgment’s base. More democratic.
You’ll find a trial’s much less dogmatic.
I want to make a judgment call
That won’t be second guessed by Paul.
The man’s completely pathological
When it comes to condemning sin.
When I admitted Ho Chi Minh
His arguments weren’t theological,
Unless you count belief in God,
Which, frankly, I find’s mostly fraud.”
On hearing this old Cheney spluttered,
Fell back a step and stood aghast.
Then he, regaining some poise, muttered,
“And you, St. Peter?” “ I’ve stood fast.
But still Ho was a politician
Provoked for cause not blind ambition,
As Jesus was when he got news
About the temple-lending Jews.
Belief in God is not essential
To enter in to Heaven’s realm.
It’s what you do when at the helm
Of your own life that’s quintessential
For making me believe good sense
Should honor you in coming hence.
( to be continued )
- ► 2011 (199)
- ► 2008 (167)
- A VISION OF JUDGMENT
- WHAT'S ECONOMICS FOR, ANYWAY(for JACINDA SWANSON)
- IN PRAISE OF THE ECONOMIST’S STAND ON CIVIL LIBERT...
- FOR FRANK RICH
- FOR BEAUMARCHAIS
- FLORIDA OR A STATE OF EXISTENTIAL INANITY
- HELP WANTED
- AND YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT IT TOUGH
- LEVIATHAN REDUX
- A METAPHYSICAL DISCUSSION
- HILLARY PILLORY
- HIDDEN MOTIVES (for TROUTFISHING)
- APOCALYPSE NOW
- POLITICAL CORRECTNESS (an evangelical plot ?)
- THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR (for LUIS MESSINA)
- ▼ September (17)