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Anger for Abel


Billows of smoke slowly curling into the sky

Rising from what I know must be the east

Where my white marble altar points,

Hiding it reliquary full of dead saints’

Divinely sacred dust –

And I hear a voice

Coming from somewhere

Not nearly so close to heaven

As its tone suggests:

Clearly we have not completed our mission.

But if we only throw

A little more of your native green into the dessert

And spend just enough native red,

Yes fully slather the sands

And all that sun-baked mud with red

Surely we'll resolve this crisis once and for all.

Isn’t is funny how that red

Starts off dull and purple until it mixes with the open air.

Funny how one can never tell by looking at it

Or smelling it festering in the beautiful noonday sun

Whether it came from the east or west.


So, talk to me, slain keeper of the flock.

I'm looking straight down at the earth –

The same earth from which your blood

Called up to the skies for vengeance.

Can you hear me?

Or was your blood washed away by the Flood?

Or maybe it’s that by now so much blood

Is down there, all screaming at once

That nothing can be heard.

Well if you can hear me,

Let me ask you this,

What if it had been different

What if you had kept your better sacrifice to yourself,

Just between you and Jehovah?

Did you really have to put it out there

Where everyone could see it?

You must have known your brother was a jealous man,

After all he was the one who had to till the cursed ground

While you got to play with your pets.

Why couldn't you have leant your brother a lamb or two?

Obviously you were as convinced as we are

Your Maker loves the savory odor of burning flesh.

But no, you had to go and show off

And get yourself killed.

And look what's happened -

You left your brother to be our great grandfather

And sure as shootin'

We're all just like he was.



Black billows of poison smoke rising from the east

And nobly, so very nobly we send our children off

To kill

To die


Ah, listen, someone is singing a hymn:

"Onward Christian soldiers

Jews and Muslims too…"


This world will turn to crimson

Long before the moon ever does

And somehow the sign upon his forehead

Still protects the murderer,

And God almighty,

Why on earth should I be in any way surprised?