Repaint my Shrine



Andrei Rublev (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966)

I need to repaint my shrine.

The paint is cracked and peeling.

The amber eyes have fallen out of the figures’

skulls,  rendering the urban nymphs blind.

Dust has collected around the spent candles

stubby, defeated, damp.

No prayers. No songs. Silence.


I need to repaint my shrine.

Last year’s coat has lost its shine

and blessings can’t land in the dark.

Disuse is worse than misuse,

a rushed job better than no job at all.

The offered food has spoiled.

I shouldn’t buy organic.


I need to repaint my shrine.

Something brighter, something louder,

something to fill the lull

between my call and my response

to an improvised liturgy

from a comfortable pew

near the back row.


I need to repaint my shrine

and replace the centerpiece.

It’s cracked and smudged, can’t see

anything except dark eyes.

Can’t worship no-thing

without be-ing present.

Tired. So tired.


New gods are demanding, inconstant, cruel.

New gods fade with fashion

demand attention, adoration,

as they die in a rustle of cellophane,

abandoned by schismatics, heretics

in search of new salvation.

I must repaint my shrine.




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