the believers

Join The Dillydoun Review in celebrating National Poetry Month with

A Poem by Raymond P. Hammond

for those believers who believe their belief trumps truth

it seeped deep into their bones:
unadulterated capitalism
filled the bone marrow chasms
and bled hatred and disgust
and disdain until it oozed
out for everyone to see
christians, patriots, fascists
all were all consumed by this
thing called capitalism
which, once unfettered and loosed
by a slack of religion
then married to religion
was manifested as greed,
pure selfishness, treachery,
and murder

moloch loosed upon masses
by simple utterances
and grumblings—demonic
politicians created
from nothing by mere wishes;
a malcontent collected
by a semi-consciousness
of wills

those who had created them
then withdrew into their own
shells of safety behind walls
of disrespect and god damned
ignorance of all others—
they then only understood
their own needs and knew their own
imagined fears told to them
repeatedly in shadow
puppet shows run by puppet
masters who freely pulled their
puppet strings

the garrote of godliness
tightened tightly around necks
of the faithless believers
strangling any spiritual
understanding until they
relented to ignorance
or choked on mouths filled with hosts
of religious intentions
the rationalization
to believe—to beg for faith,
to have some measure of hope,
but hope only came in their
own damned selves and even more
damnable myths forgetting
science and facts and choosing
rather to solely believe
an excuse to not hear, see,
speak, or apply critical

belief is not faith, belief
is hope without foundation
faith is knowing beyond doubt,
and while belief reigned supreme,
discernment of faith became
as dead as isaac would have
been under abraham’s blade
had abraham’s faith been found
as equally ill-equipped
and godless and believed
only in the lamb and not
had true faith

god’s not a lamb in the bush
god is that last hope-filled glance
god is thought, an idea,
a gleam in the artists’ eye;
words, sound in the poets’ mind;
the mind’s eye; the consciousness
found in every person—
without consciousness there is
no god

so then,
if thought is dead, and reason also dead
all we have is a thoughtless, self-righteous
world view with self-sanctifying belief
in self-fulfilling prophecies, in myths
of our making, then the collective weight
of humankind’s own ignorance, hubris,
and struggle to replace faith with belief;
god with religion, capitalism,
competition, hate and fear mongering
will be that belief and those who believe
will have served to faithfully kill god dead.

Raymond P. Hammond is the editor-in-chief of both The New York Quarterly and NYQ Books. He holds an MA in American Poetry from NYU’s Gallatin School and is the author of Poetic Amusement, a book of literary criticism. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife, the poet Amanda J. Bradley, and their dog Hank.

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