chats with the mighty dead: Malone 


Malone had a big red head
skinny shanks
and long fingers
whose knuckles he would  crack

to us he was an oracle
we hushed before his upraised hands
and a becalming look
that paved the way for pronouncements

when he steepled his hands
did he see God under them
he was too rational to enjoy belief
irrational enough to consider theology

I don’t know whether
he believed in an afterlife
now that he’s too early dead
I like to think of him there

sitting in his familiar pose
his halo glowing pink
being introduced by Peter
as an esteemed  arrival

we are fewer now says Peter
but quality is important
from what I’ve heard Malone
has valuable ideas for us

I’d like to say a few words
begins Malone
about  the declining numbers
of newcomers from the Western world

it’s time to change the message
heaven hell and immortality
all have serious problems
Heaven is vapid Hell unconscionable

and belief in immortality
has always been shaky
we have to think of new ways
to sell all three

some of you I sense
don’t like to see these as PR issues
but let’s not kid ourselves
it’s what they’ve always been