Deus Vulgaris


For a long time, I tried to peel off God
like a wet swimsuit, tried to only write it
lowercase, not say it at all, say, Oh, gosh,
instead, Geez, tried to tongue scrape communion
wafer, Lord’s Prayer, fellowship hall
spaghetti sauce & Styrofoam cup coffee,
scrub Godspell, Jesus Freak, Reliant K, forget
that trip to North Carolina in the minivan,
The Da Vinci Code book club, advent wreath
brick of damp green foam, & so many palm
fronds folded into little brittle crosses.
I still don’t believe. But now, typing, God,
I love you, or, God, I am so glad to hear that!!,
to some impotent mortal soul, it’s just like
picking pretty weeds: deus vulgaris,
the god root: lo though I walk
through the valley of the secular shadow of
scientific method, recorded history, vulgar poetry,
I shall fear no unholy residue of holy habit,
I shall speak with my whole autobiography
& without shame, shall sin & say so
& know what I mean when I pray.

Cameron Martin