Dear God, Please Give Me a Bailout So I Can Believe!

Here’s how it is, God/Lord/Goddess/Ineffable Holy Spirit: I spent all my money on drugs trying to reach a higher consciousness. This was during the Vietnam War when I couldn’t figure out why in God’s name—I mean, Your name, Your Holiness!—my beloved country was killing 3 million people in Vietnam and unleashing Pol Pot’s killing fields (4 million dead) in Cambodia-Kampuchea. So I smoked until my lungs hurt, made love until my pecker drooped, and listened to “Abbey Road.” I tried ‘shrooms and coke (not cola!), read “Howl” and “On the Road,” marched against the war and racism and I finally concluded: It wasn’t my country that was doing this crap. My country was lost down the memory hole with Carroll’s rabbit, lay moldering in the grave with Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, Henry Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Tecumseh, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, MLK, et. al. When I had my epiphany, I gave my worldly goods to the poor and spent years sleeping in the enfolding, upward-reaching limbs of a giant sequoia. I made friends with wolves and eagles who told me their stories and invited me to share their food. Occasionally, they’d tell me news of the simian world: how Nixon had been pardoned for his war crimes; how Kissinger was still pissing on the world; how Carter walked to his inauguration but was defeated by a man on a horse; how the son of a Nazi sympathizer got to be president; and how a guy from Hope bombed Serbia—and the people said, “Where’s Serbia?” They told me that elections were stolen in 2000 and 2004, but people no longer cared because they’d lost two towering symbols of their wealth, power and prestige and they were hell-bent on revenge; how their revenge was killing them and how the thieves had stolen their treasury of the children’s future. So now I’m asking you, God, Jesus, Holy Mother of Buddha, Laotzi and the Horned Toad, the Flying Serpent, the Green Ant, and the Wild Horses—send me a bail-out cause I wanna do some good before I die, I wanna save some people who are hurtin’, I gotta start a community, I gotta start a whole new country, I gotta dismantle the White-wash House and the do-nuttin’-but-B.S. Congress and the Un-Supreme Court and Treasury and the FBI and the Pentagon so the people can just live—so they can walk thru the forest and feel the sunlight and the rain. Because Laotzi and Tacitus both said, the more laws, the less freedom, and Laotzi said you rule an empire the way you cook a small fish—carefully, attentively, gently. So, fire up the barbie, Lord, and let the coals glow red, put a couple quadrillion in my bank account, cause I still got dreams and this ain’t gonna come cheap.

Minerva, Juno, Mother Mary, you sent us your messenger, Barack Obama, who delivered his sermon, called, “Change We Can Believe In.” And the wind soughed, filling my world with pine freshness, and the clouds scudded and I thought: It’s change I can’t believe in that I want! I can’t believe that America will declare peace on the world, cut its military budget by 9/10 and work towards the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, by 2010. I can’t believe our hospitals will open their doors to the needy, treat our citizens to the kind of health care enjoyed by the Japanese, Venezuelans, Germans, Scandinavians and other people in rich and poor lands around the world. I cannot belie ve that we shall have socialism in America—not real socialism with a little “s,” based on fairness and egalitarianism (though I do believe we shall continue to have “socialism for the rich” which is really just another phrase for fascism!). I cannot believe that our media will relinquish control of the airwaves they’ve stolen; that they’ll disseminate views countervailing and discordant to the cozy relationship between our corporations and government. I cannot believe there will be campaign finance reform thanks to said cozy relationship and the fact that the System has prevailed again. I cannot believe that we shall have a “re-birth of freedom” in our arts; that we shall have more public financing of “people’s art”—art that captures the Zeitgeist, unites people, and informs our minds, hearts and spirits. I cannot believe that funding for our schools will be based on a national tax—not local taxes—so that the children of rich and poor communities will have equal opportunities to learn, grow and fledge their wings. I cannot believe that we shall abolish student loans and that we shall open our universities to all who seek proficiency and greater understanding. I cannot believe that we shall have free television to bring us language-learning programs, and local, national and international theater. I cannot believe that we shall have high-speed, clean-running trains as in France or Japan. I cannot believe our police officers will stop arresting our youths—especially minority youths—because they smoke a joint for recreation or are addicted to crack or hero in e, seeking release from pain or poverty, drudgery or desperation. I cannot believe we shall double or triple the minimum wage, and cap wages or maximize taxation at the top in order to restore ideas like noblesse oblige and a shared humanity. I cannot believe we shall find you again, Pan—wild god of the forest—and make peace with you, honor your sanctuaries, restore your ravaged heritage. I cannot believe we shall clean Neptune’s oceans and Hermes’ skies. I cannot believe we shall change our diets, grow our own food, stop the industrial slaughter and torture of animals. I cannot believe we shall stop torturing other human beings, or that we can control our own growth, our population explosion. I cannot believe we’ll trade in our insane culture of greed, celebrity and power-lust for one of compassion, community and common sense. I cannot believe we can restore balance to our fractured world.

Oh, God, send me a check for a quadrillion, make it out to the poor, forgotten and desperate–those still longing to believe, though they cannot now believe.

Poet-playwright-journalist-fictionist-editor-professor, Dr. Gary Corseri has published work in Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, CommonDreams and hundreds of other publications and websites worldwide. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at Read other articles by Gary.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar bob balkas said on November 7th, 2008 at 8:46am #

    i too had been praying to god for decades. i thought, he might make me a thief; make me part of the oldest professsion: lying, cheating, deceiving profession.
    thus far no luck. i am still almost honest, truthful; i am still scared of lying because i know i wldn`t sleep nights,
    i am doing something wrong. god(s) are still punishing me. all four semitic gods r punishing me.
    it makes sense since i am not a semite. thnx

  2. Ned Lud said on November 7th, 2008 at 8:47am #

    Nice essay.

  3. mary said on November 7th, 2008 at 10:24am #

    O Dryad, Kodama, Green Man, Ghillie dhu, …. we hear your prayer and share your torment. Crying here too.

  4. Linda McGrail said on November 7th, 2008 at 10:28am #

    I could not have said this better – thank you!

  5. kalidas said on November 7th, 2008 at 10:47am #

    Montreal Star, June, 1969:
    Reporter: Where do you get your strength?
    John Lennon: From Hare Krsna.
    Yoko: That’s where we get it from, you know. We’re not denying it.

  6. Ron Horn said on November 7th, 2008 at 1:19pm #

    You are amazing, Gary! You just keep getting better with every essay.

  7. joed said on November 7th, 2008 at 1:53pm #

    fuckin’ right-on Corseri, thanks. fuck the pigs!

  8. Don Hawkins said on November 7th, 2008 at 6:29pm #

    And now it begins for better or worst a new way of thinking.

  9. Ramsefall said on November 7th, 2008 at 9:41pm #


    thanks for the reflective read, with the momentum we’ve gained in the wrong direction, there are numerous minds with the same hidden thoughts…except for the Obama groupies. Hard not to see the world any other way when one finally realizes how hard the system is actually working to bone us dry without a reach around.

    Nonetheless, there’s a maxim that Dr. Dyer uses from an unknown source which says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”, a perception is reality approach, and not easy to do, but easy to forget.

    It’s a thought for the crowd.

    Best to all.

  10. Edward Campbell. said on November 8th, 2008 at 2:04pm #

    The vanities of all the gods keep multiplying our insanities.

    Wish I knew the answers.

  11. Barra said on November 8th, 2008 at 4:20pm #

    wonderful and timely.

  12. Giorgio said on November 8th, 2008 at 4:43pm #

    On the 4th November, a miraculous ‘change’ took place!

    America’s White man’s burden was suddenly dumped on and became a Black man’s burden. His mission? To put an end to the White man’s brutal, imperial and endless wars of Peace and Democracy…and the whole world roared ALLELUIA!

    The World’s poor, especially Blacks and peoples of colour, looked in awe at this man’s arrival on a blazing chariot soon to be seated on the gilded throne of the most powerful nation of the world ushering in “The First Coming of the Black Messiah”, thus paling into insignificance the long overdue “Second Coming of that other One” ….

    I could hardly contain a beady eye and a knot on my throat seeing on TV the populace of that nondescript Kenyan village erupt with joy and acclaim the Son of one of its inhabitants as the Divinely chosen for such an august task. It was as if Jerusalem had been overnight moved and plonked lock, stock and barrel on this village and renamed the New Jerusalem, or as if the $700 billion bailouts earmarked for the flatulent American fat cats had instead rained like manna from heaven in bundles of dollar notes on to this village. .

    Had such a miracle taken place, the Israeli Zionists would immediately claim that they had been defrauded. The name ‘Jerusalem’ like that of ‘Holocaust’ were exclusively unique Zionist brand names which couldn’t be used or applied in other contexts. They would rush to the United Nations and demand immediate reparation for such blatant abuse. They would argue that most of that $700 billion should be returned to them as compensation for this outrage. Moreover, they would insist that they had far better uses for that money than these backward Africans who would just squander such a windfall acquiring puny items, like bicycles, portable radios, coloured blankets and beads.

    After the huge party it’s natural that the hangover will soon follow. With such extraordinarily high expectations , signs of a hangover are already looming. Ralph Nader put it succinctly with the question: This Black Messiah’s “basic choice is whether he’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country (and the world) or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations” and the elites, i.e. become either “a great President or a toady”. My feeling is that he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. He will talk the talk of peace while at the same time walk the walk of more wars….

  13. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 8th, 2008 at 8:23pm #

    Hey, Gare. Bingo again. I only read the first para and the last sentence -I’m saving the 2nd para for….when I need it more. Thanks.

  14. zhann said on November 9th, 2008 at 2:06am #

    Great Essay!

  15. Erik Rose said on November 10th, 2008 at 4:57pm #

    There will be no change because “there are more of them then there are of us”. [Herb Caen]

    The fat lady has finally sung her last, ugly note.

  16. mary said on November 15th, 2008 at 2:23am #

    Wow. The Gods have answered Gary’s prayers. So soon! And Obamarama hasn’t even taken office yet.

    ‘Yesterday, in the spirit of great satire, the Yes Men published a fake edition of The New York Times from the future, filled with stories that many of us would love to see in print. Friedman’s resignation is one of the editorials. I urge you to check it out, and forward it to everyone you know. It’s truly priceless. Even the ads are biting and hilarious.

    From their explanation:

    This special edition of The New York Times comes from a future in which we are accomplishing what we know today to be possible.

    The dozens of volunteer citizens who produced this paper spent the last eight years dreaming of a better world for themselves, their friends, and any descendants they might end up having. Today, that better world, though still very far away, is finally possible — but only if millions of us demand it, and finally force our government to do its job.’