Volume 33, Number 3

paradise lost

i joined
the satanic temple tonight.
not because i love worship
or religion for that matter.
i'm what you'd call something
between atheistic & agnostic.
may 2nd, a couple hours ago,
some brownshirt goons
were caught red handed
trading our country
for a fundamentalist,
evangelical, fascist state.
right under our noses.
yeah i like horror movies,
but this one’s scarier
than any i’ve ever seen.
i don't pray to crowley
or beelzebub—
i just revere
the right to choose.
how i know the people
i grew up with
are jumping up and down
in swastika excitement by now.
but i have to wonder,
how could you celebrate slavery
to biology and circumstance?
for 50 years our country
has had independence.
that's gone now, pretty much,
as these oligarchs, 1x1,
conclude they know better,
because they like to cite
an old dusty fucking book
that holds no relevance
to our 2022 lives.
anyone who knows me,
knows i've always
been against burning books.
but i have half a mind
to illuminate a box full of bibles
& pocket-sized constitutions.
would you join me at 7 o’clock
with a fresh can of lighter fluid?

—Nicholas Barnes