Hysterical Heretic


There is something about

Mass hysteria.

That swelling

Sound, the heat in my face,

The way my heart would

Pound with the beat of

Prayer, the rhythm of the

Ones who felt they

Were safe…


On your most

holy state

A blur of faces with

The same expression

When the

Preacher said only

144,000 will be saved

Was I the only one

Pawing at my chest

The only one who

Was not sure of their


To think that out of

144,000 people in all

The millions of people

In the world

I would be among

The chosen

Seemed a most

Unlikely conclusion.

I could catalog my


I may as well set

Up my own pyre

I thought when I

Should have been

Lulled by the crowd

Into not thinking

Anything at all

For myself

It was spread out

Before me:

Repeat after me

A litany of verses

Into monotony

Prayers would

Reach another height

Long into the night

A celebration of the

Jewels they would gain

In heaven

So no sacrifice is too much

For the earth bound

Man to suffer

In fact, if one could

Suffer enough to be as

Job they could hold up

Their arms and be rewarded

Ten fold

Pass the offering plates

It’s only your houses

It’s only your children

God gave Job more,


Give your ten percent,

And if you really have


Give more.

Campfires burned and the

Droning songs, and the marching

In formation and the talk of


I saw myself fall into

Rings of sin, into

A mired dish of envy

I wanted too much

I hadn’t stripped myself

Bare to the essential self

The one whose only thought

Was to give praise to a god who

Would burn millions and millions

Hysteria crept over me

Until I wondered how this

Could happen

How could I control

My breathing

What is this new thing

New dread

New way of causing

Shaking heads

Hyperventilating into

My sleeping bag

So afraid of the second