Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Five Easy Prayers for Pagans

1. 
  
O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie,
gimme a break before I die: 
grant me wisdom, will, & wit, 
purity, probity, pluck, & grit. 
Trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind, 
gimme great abs and a steel-trap mind. 
And forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice - 
these little blessings would suffice 
to beget an earthly paradise: 
make the bad people good 
and the good people nice, 
and before our world goes over the brink, 
teach the believers how to think. 
 

2. 
  
O Venus, Cupid, Aphrodite, 
teach us Thy horsepower lingam, Thy firecracker yoni. 
Show us Thy hundreds of sacred & tingling positions, 
each orifice panting for every groping tumescence. 
O lead us into the back rooms of silky temptation 
and deliver us over to midnights of trembling desire. 
But before all the nectar & honey leak out of this planet, 
give us our passion in marble, commitment in granite. 
 
          
3.
          
O Shiva, relentless Spirit of Outrage: 
in this vale of tearful True Believers, 
teach us to repeat again and again: 
No, your Reverences, we will not serve 
your Gross National Voodoo, your Church 
Militant – we will not flatter the double faces 
of those who pray in the Temple of 
Incendiary Salvation. 
Gentle Preserver, preserve the pure irreverence 
of our stubborn minds. 
Target the priests, Implacable Destroyer – 
and hire a lawyer. 

              
4.

O Mammon, Thou who art daily dissed 
by everyone, yet boast more true disciples 
than all other gods together, 
Thou whose eerie sheen 
gleameth from Corporate Headquarters 
and Vatican Treasury alike, Thou 
whose glittering eye impales us 
in the X-ray vision of plastic surgeons, 
the golden leer of televangelists, 
the star-spangled gloat of politicos – 
O Mammon, come down to us in the form 
of Treasuries, Annuities, & High-Grade Bonds, 
yield unto us those Benedict Arnold Funds, 
those Quicksand Convertible Securities, even the wet 
Judas Kiss of Futures Contracts – for 
unto the least of these Thy supplicants 
art Thou welcome in all Thy many forms. But 
when Thou comest to say we’re finally in the gentry – 
use the service entry. 

               
5.

O flaky Goddess of Fortune, we beseech Thee: 
in the random thrust of Thy fluky favor, vector 
the luminous lasers of Thy shifty eyes 
down upon these, Thy needy & oh-so-deserving 
petitioners.  Bend down to us the sexy 
curve of Thine indifferent ear, and hear 
our passionate invocation: let Thy lovely, 
lying lips murmur to us the news 
of all our true-false guesses A-OK, 
our firm & final offers come up rainbows, 
our hangnails & hang-ups & hangovers suddenly zapped, 
and then, O Goddess, give us your slippery word 
that the faithless Lady Luck will hang around 
in our faithful love, friendships less fickle than youth, 
and a steady view of our world in its barefoot truth.

Credit


Copyright © 1998 by Philip Appleman. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Author


Philip Appleman

Born in Indiana in 1926, Philip Appleman served in the U.S. Army

Date Published: 1998-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/five-easy-prayers-pagans