The Chapel Inside Out

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Contributor: Jun Lit

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I’ve been here before
I’ve seen these all, I’m sure

the priestly garbs of black and stripes
that fit this atmosphere of masquerade
the golden tasseled black berets
that hide
the emptiness,
the mindlessness,
the heartlessness
the flowing capes of silk and wool
too hot to wear – they’re never cool
in this clime of eternal steam…
the roll call of names
like summoning all the saints -
the confessor’s ears are ready
but nobody dares
to speak out the sacred truth
the naked truth
the blank walls
behind the pretending pomp
and disguising pageantry

these palatial halls
conceal with draperies of elegance
sculptured paupers
a multitude of shanties
an army of dark shadows
digging mountains of rubbish
for spoils to salvage

holy hypocrisy?
emperors parading naked?
or beggars in velvet cloaks
of royal blue?

The blind loyal servant bangs the gavel
as Lord Hunger knocks
at the door
of the Almighty Loo

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Ireneo L. Lit, Jr. (a.k.a. Jun Lit), Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, is an entomologist who also writes poems about nature and society.


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