Raymond P. Hammond

I lost my mother to religion

I learned from my mother
the ethics of her time
they surely weren’t perfect
they were a bit racist
a tad bit elitist
a slightly smidgen smug
but they remained a light
on which I could focus
as I defined my own
morality in time

then came donald j trump
lacking intelligence
no morals, or ethics,
or critical thinking
and she and her basis
for her morality,
the southern baptist church
and her television
self-serving, self-righteous
sycophantic preachers
who don’t belong selling
cars much less salvation
come along and smoothly
crown trump “king of the saved”
despite the serial
lying, narcissistic
black heart, and reticence
to repent which in their:
the church’s, my mother’s
own words, theology,
theory, and judgment
disqualifies trump’s claim
of said salvation

my mother always said
that I did not respect
her, that I thought her dumb
but I really never
did think that about her
in the deepest dark pit
of my stomach and heart
had always existed
a fine faintest respect
for her no matter what
because she was my mom

then her misguided faith
in manmade religion
with its insatiable
need for money, power
that has now imparted
grace to a huge disgrace
of a human being
causes her to follow
these charlatans and clowns
of christianity
instead of her own voice
follow these false prophets
of our day that would sell
their damned souls and the souls
of their congregations
into the slavery
of ignorance, human
bondage, and politics

I lost my mother to religion
and I cannot save her


Raymond Hammond is the editor of the New York Quarterly and NYQ Books, and the author of Poetic Amusement, a book of literary criticism.