Catholic Poets

Eskimo Girl and Eskimo Boy once took a couple of Russian classes from a Catholic priest named Father
Targonsky who wore a long white beard and long black dress. Unfortunately, the only Russian words
that Eskimo remembers are slang for breasts, outhouse, wild celery, salmon pie, and inside porch
(decompression chamber for taking off your snow-covered clothes). Eskimo Boy had the unnerving
habit of kissing Eskimo Girl and then running off to Father Targonsky and confessing that he had
kissed Eskimo. What really freaked her out is that he ultimately ended up marrying the priest's
adopted eskimo daughter. Eskimo sometimes accompanied him to church, and she always felt sad for
the American soldiers who were buried outside of the little white fence because they had not been
"saved." When Eskimo Boy was in a bad mood, he used to call Eskimo a "heathen" because she had not
been submerged. Eskimo always thought it was strange that a Native American would be a Catholic, in
the same way that she doesn't understand why African Americans are Baptists. Eskimo was raised in a
fine Protestant tradition and got an earful from her English mother about what "those Catholics"
had done to her country. Eskimo attended Sunday school in a plywood shack in which singing and
dancing and ornate paintings were verboten. Eskimo Boy sometimes dragged her to Catholic church on
special occasions--marriages, baptisms, funerals. Eskimo was always overwhelmed by all the Latin
chanting, incense, Rubenesque art, kneeling, drinking and biscuit eating. She didn't understand why
she needed an intermediary just to talk to God, and she was particularly distressed that there were
no altar girls. Eskimo lived without Catholics for about ten years in Davis, but when she moved to
the town of the Sacrament, she unfortunately was descended upon by a whole slew of Catholic poets,
musicians, and idol worshippers. Most of them had been well educated by a bunch of nuns.
Unfortunately, Eskimo soon learned that for all their outward forms of expression, Catholic poets
are sexually repressed which in turn manifests itself in bizarre fetishes like feet kissing which
really freaks Eskimo out. Eskimo soon felt as though she were being dragged down into a divine
comedy inhabited by demons, sexy waifs, unrequited lovers, and all sorts of lost souls trying to
break on through to the other side in a drunken boat. This is why Eskimo has taken a solemn vow not
to hang out anymore with Catholic poets and all of their litanies and cataclysms. Eskimo poem for a
Catholic boy:

I Wanna Be Your Voodoo Doll

We forage in the leaves of our existence 
for something red
something gold 
something dead
yet beautiful in its dying 

We can't see the forest for our dreams 
He said I bring out the dreamer in him 

30 candles for my birthday 
30 drops of flame 

              I wanna be your voodoo doll 

I said I was the devil's handmaiden 
Holding our forked tails as we dance round the fire
Holding our forked tongues like snakes we flicker and burn 

I knew a man who burned to death 
in a small cabin 
that he'd built for himself on the side of a cliff 
beneath the Russian Orthodox church 

The day after 
we sat round a fire of coal and driftwood on the beach 
nursing our piss beers
listening to "Stairway to Heaven" blaring out of an old Cadillac 

We imagined we were playing the song for him 

The flames burnt a black hole in the side of the hill 
covered with red fireweed 

And on the day of the sun, the priest 
burned my ears with his chants 
burned my nostrils with his incense
burnt my lips as I kissed the blessed pictures 
because I was a pagan 
and young 
and in love 

Copyright EPG