The pope said,

“these brown animals
are people,
so baptize them,
make them catholics,
and put them to work.”

So they sprinkled Juan
made him a catholic
sent his to mass
fed his biscuits,
and he built them a big new church.

When he was done
they said he wasn’t catholic enough.
They tied him to a stake,
piled up firewood, burned him alive.

This god didn’t like the messiness
of blood splattered all over
by brown hands and obsidian knives,
but he did like the music
of fire-trained voices,
and the incense
of burning brown men.

Richard George-Murray was born in an earlier century of poor but honest parents. Grandmother, about 1912, spent her nickel-trolley fare on a book and walked home. ©2007


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