I don’t want to be religious on the do-good
exercise treadmill of perpetual point keeping
digitally recorded to mark my best achievement
on the day my heart stops keeping time for good.
I don’t want to be religious like the prodigal’s brother
chalking up his balance of great behavior, calling to his father
“When did I squander your dollars on escorts
and parties . . . like your low life other son?”
I don’t want to be religious like commandments
chiseled sharp on white washed walls.
religious like flag flutter vain repetition
religious like candles making light of prayer.
Religious like the prayers of much speaking
religious like the scolding, watch-your-mouth
politically correct morality keepers
religious like the do-this-every-Sunday routine
religious like detachable realities from the how-to gu-rus
religious like all my performances that
don’t appear on the stage of a generous heart
religious like the list of the dos and don’ts in my head
blotched over with the grubbiness of my own pride.
But I do want to be religious.
I want to be religious like the James
who knew Jesus
pleading to feed the fatherless and the widows.
Like the compromised man
who mumbles the lyrics of Amazing Grace, unsteady
on the late night road and knows at last
it’s about himself, finding his true home.