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Jacket 18 — August 2002   |   # 18  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

K.I. Press

excerpts from ‘The Letters’

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To the Church at Galatia

Well I wish they would just
have done with it
and castrate themselves.

You may shave your heads, walk bare-
foot in coals, sting yourselves with bees,
but if your hearts are not stung,
you have nothing.

Instead, let us follow
the ‘What Would Jesus Eat?’
diet. Jesus would eat
whatever you can find in a Lebanese restaurant.
I mean it. The whole buffet.

They might argue we are anarchists.
But we police our own apples.
The brown ones emit vapours,
make our church go soft.
We empty them into the sewer.

I was dying when we first met, almost
blind. Had you been skilled
in surgery, you each would have sewn
your own eyes
into my sockets.
I would have seen
many times over,
like a bug. In all directions.

Woman, man, sheep, goat, magician, apostle, apple, bug:
they are melded into one large, magnificent creature,
breathing fire and scaled with gold,
guarding jealously
the whole world.

To the Church at Philippi

In these, the last days,
you are searchlights. When God comes,
the Fourth of July.
I am tempted
to die. I cannot wait
for the world to end.

I am tired. I want to join
the angels and vampires.
I want to find heaven in my sleep,
and drop gently down to earth again
each day. But if I sleep

I see only dogs, their mouths wide, and snakes,
glowing. Sometimes long caravans
walking slowly on the bottom of the sea.

In this, the end of days, the wicked
are enjoying themselves immensely. They are implosions
sucking everything
into darkness. Searchlamps, I want to see

your bright cylinders reaching
the sky outside my jailroom. You
are the best church. Better
than the Thessalonians. Your package
smelled lonely and of the Lord.

Living, dead. Soon
it will not matter.

To the Church at Rome

We have met before, in visions. Rome is beautiful,
and from it we will conquer the earth. Soon
my day in Rome will come.
Leave room for me.


What manner of sinners
do you have in Rome? They must be
grand ones, worldly ones.
I have seen much wickedness
and cannot be deceived.
I have seen people
worship crocodiles! And snakes and toads.
All kinds of beasts and birds
are worshipped in this world.
I have seen owls leashed with chains,
and tiny creatures, buzzards and snakes, bred so small
they are kept in pockets,
sold plainly, at the market.

Birds or beasts or the shapes of men,
it does not matter what they worship.
They treat body parts as dishes
to mix and match. They are melting,
mud. They invent
new organs, steal penises and lodge them
in birds’ nests. They fuck each other day and night
with the angry faces of their gods.

They bring their children
before crowds and tell them
to wet their lips.


Beware if you think
you are guide dogs,
seeing eyes.
Each eye sees
a different world.
None is clearer.
None better lit.

You are whores, trash
vomited on the ground.
From head to foot, each part of you
longs for evil. You deserve
the rack, the wheel.
When soldiers beat you,
when you are chased from your homeland,
trampled by teams of horses, rejoice!

It all depends on God.
He sits at His desk,
playing dominoes.
Some bones fall,
some stand.
Some are carved
and filled with perfumes,
others turned to ashtrays.
Each bone


Wash your hands, give your worldly goods
to your enemies and file your taxes.
If God does not come soon,
at least I will,
after returning from Jerusalem,
and turn Satan to grapes.
And finally you will dance on him
and drink him
like fine wine.

Photo of Karen Press

K.I. Press lives in Toronto, where her first book of poems, Pale Red Footprints, was published by Pedlar Press in 2001. She grew up in the Peace River country of northern Alberta, and has also lived in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa. She works in the publishing industry.

Photo: A.J.Levin.

Jacket 18 — August 2002  Contents page
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