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Currently Reading: Fear Not

Fear Not by Maurice Mierau (Turnstone, 2008) was one of those books that I felt compelled to not leave the store without. (It seems somehow unethical to be made to laugh and then not buy.)

I’d heard a couple references to him tweaking around the Gideon Bible. It piqued my interest with the potential to stroke my neurons right with religion, twisted. I’m still only half thru but I’m impressed.

It reads in part, i.e. some given poems standing alone, like standup, potshot snarks at politics and pop culture thrown against biblical language for a fresh effect of being able to hear. Some are commentaries on modern living mixed with biblical as simply as retelling the prodigal son as going to blow his inheritance money in Cuba. He returns

11. “retain me as contract worker and do not call me your son anymore. I deserve no benefits or security. 12. I beg you to text me with your decision.”

I found that equivalency drawn hilarious and satisfyingly clever.

Some are mashing up the prescriptions of environmental faith with religious faith. For example, Ill or In Pain, Chapter 1, Verse 6-7

6. “Your youth renews like an eagle’s. A good simile, but the habitat’s vanishing, really a mess.
7. The high voltage of Christ flows through me, capable of causing serious injury to me to you. Once warned you can’t sue.”

In the name of law instead of God; legality the new trick of no-touch-backs to hide behind. There’s a cheekiness but also talks about the sense of power and powerlessness in daily life and in remembering World War II which pops back like a memory thru to present troubles at unexpected times. Certain phrases and ideas, such as storms at sea and Russian soldiers and makeup, weave back thru recontextualizing themselves so there’s more depth and complexity than first meets the eyes.

For all the weight and darkness, it reads with a mixture of light and heavy. There’s a dry sort of humor. “His accuser was another God-ridden man” lifts for me. There’s playfulness but dark threads as well-said such as in Victimized verse 10. “On our blood-infested land, falls manna.”

It’s a critical look at the past and what we foist on this notion of god and the motivations we presume of him and what culpability we presume of ourselves.

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