Get Your Premium Membership

A Hail Mary Pass to the Twenty-First Century

Poet's Notes

Become a Premium Member and post notes and photos about your poem like Debbie Guzzi.

Fear recalled; the taste of sweat in retreat, when
one can never seem to run far enough or fast enough.
Remembering the Christian children’s chants of
devil worshiper, atheist; the taunting hell they saw 
for those not blessed to be themselves.

The jeer of the crowd for those apart, the mob 
mentality of the Christian heart, the damn you if
you’re not me to a girl of eight, defies any amount
of time to heal. Memories are not obliterated.

Breathless behind a hollow-core door, gasping 
tears, a heart pounding to the beat of fists on panel;
fear recalled as bile rose; hate thrown, the Jew bated.
This was only an inkling of what Tanta felt.

Nineteen fifty-six, eleven years after the end of WWII, 
I saw the numbers burned into my families’ skin,
the ones still alive to show them to a child of eight.
-broken glass nights, crowded trains, death camps

New England was still gripped in a Christian hell,
at eight, at twelve, at eighteen—and every Christmas
in between—don’t speak, don’t tell, don’t let them 
know you’re different—different, hated, taunted,
chased, and if possible erased.

Prejudice knows no boundary of time or place, the
fear, the mob, the gang, the chanting group, alive 
still in the 21st century. When you kneel, and pray, 
even when you say Amen.

First Published by Synchronized Chaos Spring 2015

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

Post Comments
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 8/11/2019 5:00:00 PM
By the way, I am not Jewish but when children are taught to hate they aren't into definitions. My Dad is Jewish but my Mom (Judiasim is matrilineal) was Protestant. Anyone different can become the target.
Login to Reply
Date: 6/30/2017 9:12:00 AM
God is love
Login to Reply
Date: 8/14/2016 1:59:00 AM
I do not want to distract from your powerful poem other than to say, that I love it. This is extremely well done. I share your message, that is the way more than one messages...
Login to Reply
Date: 3/26/2016 4:17:00 AM
Impressed I still rest on your gifted pencil and heart speaking about the old story of power and truth, on prjudices and itts iron cage and hard finding the way of life in dignity.Truth belongs to the horizon of hope in which we have the duty to stay. Congrat.
Login to Reply
Date: 3/22/2016 11:07:00 AM
Worth reading again. Very powerful imagery.
Login to Reply
Date: 3/19/2016 8:06:00 PM
This year's election seems to be reviving all the old fears and the violence they incite. Always timely... Sad....
Login to Reply
Date: 3/12/2016 10:56:00 AM
I've worked with many Christians over the years. The highest concentration were in Chemotherapy. Your poem makes me feel happy with those whom I have been associated with. But they do have a tendency to want to convert me. The smart ones learn, and some even come over for dinner.
Login to Reply
Date: 3/3/2016 7:10:00 PM
I went to a convent school as a young girl but I remember talking back to the nuns saying if no one knew the African tribes existed would they still go to Hell? The other one I didn't like was that pets don't go to heaven. I think man in trying to interpret God's word saw a way of having great power over the masses and slanted scriptures that way. SuZ
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 3/3/2016 7:11:00 PM
Date: 3/3/2016 2:49:00 PM
Hi Debbie: Excellent poem. It still amazes me that in the 21st. Century mankind can still be having bitter wars over religion. WHY can't people just live and let live?? Naive, I know but surely someone could lead us to true enlightenment. Your poem pictures the truth but only to those who want to see it, unfortunately. Love and light. SuZ
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 3/3/2016 3:23:00 PM
This is how it was explained to me-missionary faiths believe they -themselves, will not attain paradise unless they do their job on earth which is to convert people to belief [x]. Also, because in many cases THEY LOVE the people they are trying to convert and do not want them to go to hell or not to be in paradise when they get there? Does it make sense now?
Date: 2/27/2016 3:49:00 PM
Debbie, this is such a powerful piece expressing feelings and fears. Freedom, we don't all have it while living in a country that prides itself in being free. Awesome write Debbie. #7
Login to Reply
Date: 2/25/2016 8:19:00 PM
Palpable, visceral haunts in your words whose need still seems in mortal need of extinction. I read Richard's note below. You might, if bored, read my poem 'Lucifer' and ponder free will.
Login to Reply
Date: 2/19/2016 10:45:00 AM
I think most oppression comes from people who do not fully understand their faith. Christianity is a decision of free will. We have the right of choice, so who am I to force my will on another. I am called to love others and share my faith. I am not called to take away another's free will. If God has provided us all with free will who am I that I should wish to take it away???
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/19/2016 1:08:00 PM
For instance the Dominican's sicced their dogs on the Peruvian natives who refused to convert to Catholocizm - the dogs tore them apart.
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/19/2016 1:06:00 PM
I agree Richard, but not all agree with us.
Date: 2/18/2016 11:53:00 AM
I love the power and stark reality in this poem. Currently there is one religious group doing that to Christians across the as we speak . Doing that to any and all that do not bow to its dark god. Brilliant and VERY powerful poetry my friend..
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/18/2016 3:40:00 PM
yes Robert of the sons of Abraham only the Jews are not missionary, so both Christians and moselms thing their way is the only way to heaven & they will be judged on how many they convert.
Date: 2/17/2016 11:08:00 PM
Back to comments some more. It was the same between the Protestants and Catholics, though not to the extend what you endured. We moved often when I was growing up, after dad joined the army. The first thing kids would ask is: are you protestant or catholic. OH! I am not allowed to play with you. Today, I am a spiritual person with no labels on what I believe. Elaine
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/18/2016 7:07:00 AM
Thank you so much, you are such a sweetheart email me at & I will send you some new ones!
Date: 2/17/2016 11:02:00 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how some use religion that is supposed to be of light, and love, to propagate hate instead. This dear Deb is one of your finest. I see you haven 't posted of a bit. I am waiting. Light and love to you my friend. Elaine
Login to Reply
Date: 2/7/2016 10:04:00 AM
Gripping, powerful write. You had me at first line. Prejudice is everywhere, but there is nothing like a first-hand experience to bring home the truth. Racial, religious, social a child learns it from the adults of another group, not of her own age group. I had to smile when I saw the word "atheist". I used it on my latest write but in a totally different context. Love reading you!
Login to Reply
Date: 2/5/2016 10:11:00 AM
my dear Debbie, your words are so steady like the falling of confetti or the endless maze of spaghetti which means most are not ready for confessions so heavy....religion is for men who want to hide their sin like the hatred for one's skin and that's true without reason to pretend because only through FAITH and Love will we win and bring such oppressions to an a southern black man, I really understand....;)
Login to Reply
Date: 2/2/2016 11:31:00 AM
What a powerful write with such an important message to think about, Debbie. Intolerance has not disappeared through the centuries. T.J
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/2/2016 11:36:00 AM
Thank you Teppo hard to reveal, hard to go through, hard to hear, I know! I know!
Date: 2/2/2016 12:11:00 AM
Hugely powerful, packing a real punch. Intolerance rides the centuries like a boxcar hobo, sadly. A great write, Debbie. Viv x
Login to Reply
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 2/2/2016 8:03:00 AM
yes it does, and each missonary faith creates fanatics who feel they won't get to their 'heaven' without converting or killing all who are different from them - intolerance breeds intolerance
Date: 2/1/2016 9:23:00 PM
You tell a sad tale and offer a warning in this work. Peace & Blessings Matthew Anish
Login to Reply