I'm not religious, that's for starters. I wasn't brought up religious, although some of my family (not immediate) are very religious. I never really even went to church as a child, but when I was about ten or eleven, just before secondary school, my best friend at the time was a kid called Michael. He was adopted and his adoptive parents were very religious. When he invited me camping, I went along, only to discover it was something called a Faith Camp. For those of you who don't know what one is, it's a little like a music festival but instead of live music, bands etc...there are preachers. I remember watching a faith healer and it being one of my first proper religious experiences. Suffice to say, I wasn't a fan.
This is day fifteen.
White spotless suit amongst matted floor
he treads within an enraptured flock,
touching shoulders, stroking souls and
brandishing mightier than sword
microphone. Commands invisible
ghosts as a supernatural cure all,
invites the diseased and disabled onstage
with a ringmasters boom and wink.
Performs call and answer slam scripture,
coaxes a middle aged man down the aisle;
places one hand on his camped hair, one on
the bible; asks "what ails you?"
but treatment is always the same.
He arches his back,
points at the sky and smiles,
giggles even, and others join in.
At the back, women start shaking,
jump out of chairs, they feel Jesus in them,
talking incomprehensible tongues,
one collapses from laughter. Some sing.
Another tries to hug me and I cower,
leave my chair, move two rows back
Between dancing and singing,
laughter and tongues. What I
remember most; his suit
1 week ago