When the Pope Came to America

When the Pope came to America
He wore his white, brocaded gown.
He wore a white yarmulke, too.
(Looked like a yarmulke–I wonder what it is?)
He carried a scepter to let us know
He ruled the Earth’s dominions.

When the Pope came to America,
He met the war-criminal Bush
On a blood-stained red carpet.
He didn’t arrest the war-criminal
In the name of the People.
He didn’t arrest the war-criminal
In the name of Christ.
He gave the war criminal
A private audience
And he blessed him
And he let him kiss his ring.

Then he kissed the war-criminal’s ass
And they sang “Ave, Maria” together.
He said, “I am the Vicar of Christ on Earth
But you are the mightiest some-bitch in the world.
Christ said, ‘Render unto Caesar
The things that are Caesar’s,”
So I render unto you
Allegiance, Obedience, subservience—
So long as you don’t tax what we own.
And when it comes to your various war crimes–
I’ll turn the other cheek.”

Then the Pope went to the National Cathedral
Where he expressly did not
Ask good Catholics not to fight in illegal wars.
And when he went to Yankee Stadium,
The house that Ruth built
(No, not the Bible’s Ruth!),
He expressly did not say:
“Stop paying taxes to an illegal government
That robs from the poor to give to the rich.”
But, in spite of him not saying that,
And a hundred things like that,
60,000 Catholics waved their Bibles
And swore never to have an abortion—
Not even in the event of rape—
Because the life of an embryo
Is more precious than rubies,
And far more precious than
The life of a mother
(Or, the life of a baby
Starving in Africa or wherever).
Because it’s more important to sell corn crops
For American SUV’s than for African babies, etc., to live.

The Pope didn’t talk politics
But he did say he was sorry
For all those horny Catholic priests
Getting it on with boys and girls.
Holy Mother of God!
What a 2-billion-dollar mess
That turned out to be!

The Pope said nothing about women being ordained
And the nuns wept with joy.
He said nothing about cheap toys from China
Painted with lead, nor about workers in China
Having nothing better to do
Than dab lead paint on American toys,
Nor about outsourced jobs, nor about a capitalist system
150 years out of joint; nor did he say anything about
Healthcare, lousy schools, and 7,000 different versions
Of Law & Order propagating themselves on TV
Like so many spirochetes.

The Pope said nothing about Oprah Winfrey being
The world’s biggest bore,
Donald Trump being it’s biggest yokel-egomaniac,
Nor Rupert Murdoch being Rupert Murdoch.
He didn’t say a prayer for dead Iraqis.
He went to Ground Zero of the World Trade Center,
But he didn’t say a word about Ground Zero, Hiroshima.
Every time he didn’t say something—
The crowd went wild.

It was heart-warming to see a shepherd so beloved by his flock.
I thought of Jesus among the lepers,
Mother Theresa in the black hole of Calcutta,
Martin Luther King with the garbage-workers of Memphis,
Oscar Romero with the peasants of El Salvador,
Barefoot St. Francis embracing the moon.
But somehow the similes didn’t fit.

* Gary will be performing his work at the Yippie Museum Cafe in Greenwich Village, New York on May Day, 2008.

Gary Corseri has published articles, fiction, poetry and dramas at hundreds of venues worldwide, including, Dissident Voice and The New York Times. He has published novels and collections of poetry, edited the Manifestations anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at: gary_corseri@comcast.net. Read other articles by Gary.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 26th, 2008 at 8:56am #

    Due to popular demand:
    The Labor Day Haiku I submitted to DV, last year —

    Labor Day Haiku

    A century and a half
    Post Das Capital
    And we’re still a joke

    All who prefer my work to Gary Corseri’s, be silent….do not post.

  2. Ron Horn said on April 26th, 2008 at 10:43am #

    Another great piece, Gary! The ruling class of the US loves religions, and religious leaders are accorded all kinds of honors, respect, and attention by them. Religion is part of any ruling class’ arsenal to keep working people mystified and in obedience to state authority. Whenever any of their leaders show up they are accorded widespread media attention. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the anti-war and anti-globalization protests would draw the same treatment? The NY Times belatedly reports on a systematic Pentagon program to contaminate media news reports on the Iraq war in order to shape public opinion to support it, and the rest of the media totally ignores this. Unfortunately the bulk of Americans are so naïve about the ruling class management of the media. It will take some huge shocks like cancellation of their managed elections because the head of state declares an emergency, or creates a false flag war operation to get us into another war. I have no doubt that the shocks will come because there is a huge buildup of forces occurring which will threaten the capitalist system and which it cannot handle without resort to extreme measures. I am thinking about all the disasters brought by climate change, by exhaustion of energy sources, by contaminated water supplies, by mass starvation, etc. Only a system that is designed to promote the health and happiness of everyone rather that this tiny class of parasites is able to respond to these upcoming crises. And time is running out to provide the opportunity for this to happen. I fear that Rosa Luxembourg’s prophecy, that it’s either socialism or barbarism, has largely been answered in the negative.

  3. hp said on April 26th, 2008 at 12:50pm #

    Das Pope.

  4. Giorgio said on April 26th, 2008 at 6:51pm #

    There is a 65 page book entitled “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ” in the self-Publishing site: http://www.lulu.com
    There is a FREE download available. Read what punishment Jesus metes out to GW Bush, the Pope and their warmongering cronies….
    Check it out!

  5. bozhidar balkas said on April 27th, 2008 at 6:45am #

    giorgio. jesus is alive and on our planet. by jesus, i mean his numerous misteachings.
    nearly all christians follow jesus’ misteachings. all seem to be for warfare.
    jesus had approbated, or been quoted as approbating, all hebrew crimes.
    he, thru today’s christians, approves of all the crimes by zionists and american ruling class.
    he has also rejected us, the goyim.
    however, due the fact that overwhelming number of jews had rejected christianity, early christians had no choice but to accept nongoyim into new ideology.thank u

  6. D.R. Munro said on April 27th, 2008 at 4:49pm #

    “Das Pope.”

    I had about a paragraph written up, but really – those two words summarize it pretty well.

  7. mary said on April 28th, 2008 at 5:05am #

    This is a brave work from Gary Corseri who speaks out from his heart about this hypocrisy we have just seen. I heard that the Pope met with Jewish citizens and Rabbis in New York but I don’t suppose the subject of the occupation of Palestine in 1948 came up in the meeting. Another one of those unmentionable ‘no-speaks’ to add to the list.

    Today I weep for the lost lives of four beautiful Palestinian children killed by an Israeli shell in Gaza – what was their crime except to be born there. They are shown here in repose. Their mother is also dead and two other Palestinians were killed, one being a farmer. When is the world going to put a stop to this horror? Bush says he wants a Palestinian state that doesn’t look like ‘Swiss cheese’. What an idiotic statement to make when he so heavily supports Israel militarily and financially. Carter was called a ‘bigot’ by the Israeli UN Ambassador for his brave attempts to get real peace talks going.

    http://www.daylife.com/photo/03nX41y9pv1u4

    PS Does anyone know what has happened to the young people who were arrested for protesting inside the Catholic Cathedral in Chicago at Easter? I think their ‘crime’ was smearing a bit of fake blood around and calling out. Cardinal George is someone else who should be shamed.

  8. bozhidar balkas said on April 28th, 2008 at 6:10am #

    my mind is set in cement about zionism. only zionism, tho.
    hi kids! i’m 96; so, even if u’r 86, u’r still a kid to me. now that we’r talking ab. papa, pope, der heilige vater, holidada, or sveti otac, i at once think of nuns and the freesexcare die sehr guter vaeters had for at least 1900 yrs.
    in canada, priests had free sexcare (does sex tharapy sound better?) long, long before we got our beloved medicare.
    “bozhidar” means god’s gift and i add, to humanity. the probelm is, i believe it.
    but, then what can one expect from two of us who take tw0-three minutes to turn a cd player on? but we’r getting better.
    fikst du neulich was gutes meine dame? nichts?
    danke schoen.

  9. Gary Corseri said on April 28th, 2008 at 11:11am #

    Thanks for your thoughts all; and, especially, Mary and Rima, I’d like to address your comments and insights–though you both make your points persuasively, acutely, and perhaps without need for an author’s addendum.

    I have written before about the open-air prison that is Gaza, and the humiliations, iniquities and horrors daily visited upon Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. (No doubt, I’ll write about such matters again.) That material did not find a direct route to this poem, but, of course, it is implied broadly. Perhaps I’ll find a way to incorporate something more specific about it in the final version of the Pope poem.

    Respectfully,

    Gary Corseri

  10. hp said on April 28th, 2008 at 11:43am #

    How about one of the settler’s (squatters) favorite chants?
    “We killed Jesus and we’ll kill you too.”
    Not much to edit there..

  11. hp said on April 28th, 2008 at 8:21pm #

    Wouldn’t want to leave out the Christians who dare to cast a shadow in the land of the Holy.

  12. mary said on April 29th, 2008 at 1:40am #

    I did not mean to ‘hijack’ this comment column on Gary’s poem yesterday but I am afraid that I was overcome by the news of the death of those children and am still angry that the Pope studiously ignored the Israel/Palestine issue when he visited the US recently. I am even angrier today to discover that You Tube have taken down an Al Jazeera video which graphically illustrated yesterday’s events in Gaza and I see that censorship is also at work on uruknet.

    I know that Gary has always stood firmly for the Palestinians and for all those suffering now in the Middle East and will continue to do so using the power of his writing. I did not know that this poem was a ‘work in progress’ so to speak and I look forward to reading the ‘final version’.

    Here is my nomination for a Catholic priest who stands up for his flock and for justice. You see that I am almost back on topic now hp!

    http://detainthis.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/head-of-catholic-church-gaza-will-not-die-of-hunger/

  13. camila sanchez said on April 29th, 2008 at 2:38pm #

    you are amazing pope amazing i loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Dan Alba said on April 29th, 2008 at 7:43pm #

    Thank you for that powerful writing, Mr. Corseri; it sharply voices the root-level sentiments of people such as myself whose political views do not align with yours half the time. I am ashamed and angered that “Beneditto” had time to shmooze in New York, but none to condemn the neocon-Likudnik genocide-doers. (At least John Paul II held a flame under the backside of Sharon et al. back in the day; which, of course, isn’t saying much.) And thank you, Mary; I just noticed the link reference in my blog’s control panel. Luminaries like Father Musallam are too rare a breed amongst “theologians.”

  15. j said on July 4th, 2008 at 1:09am #

    you think you are so clever, but you only succeed at displaying your ignorance to a very complex and peaceful religion. show me one church where all it’s members are innocent and the moment you or i join that shall cease to be. you can not blame a peaceful philosophy when individuals go astray from the teachings.

    that being said, the Pope has been against the war and has made that public. he also has spoken out against violence towards anyone of any race or creed.

    you mock a religion that promotes peace because you do not understand. you have an infantile concept of what sin is.

  16. Jaden Rosencrans said on December 17th, 2008 at 2:52pm #

    This is awful writing. It’s a poorly written essay. I should know, my sister is an english teacher and when we read it we could hardly stop laughing. First off, who do you think puts millions of dollars into Red Cross, Catholic Hearts, etc.??? We do. Catholics, so how dare you say that the Holy Father hasn’t helped all of those people. If it wasn’t for our church, I wouldn’t be surprised if Earth had no Africans. Every Pope has helped millions, and every one will continue to. That’s his virtue and grace. Plus, if I was Pope… I would want to do more than just go somewhere to talk politics. Everybody, even God, rests for a while.

    Maybe you should make your writing less biased and about something you know more about.

    Jaden Rosencrans.