American Divine by Aaron Poochigian explores God and the land


so many coats attached to tote bags, briefcases,

plan tubes and roller bags reach

A stairwell to the metro. They are not afraid

the local Moses, Dead, who stirs and paces

back and forth before the first step, preaching

to the infidels about a weather god:

“Azuzu whispers and the world turns! ”

Amused teens scream and clap.

Trains continue to thunder underground.

New York as a drug therefore, the one that gives access to a state of being “elevated”, where the figures “swirl” like dervishes in a trance and the jumble of everyday life takes over between “beating and surveying, hooting and mocking. applause ”. . “Union Square, the bustle of New Yorkers, the big digital clock that was installed with a screaming new skyscraper some thirty years ago, the lunatics preaching loudly to whoever wants to hear it: the The city’s excited and relentless energy runs through the poet’s veins. The Dakotas, I’m told, are rather breathtaking, but here they don’t stand a chance. But wouldn’t North Dakota also be the poet’s Ithaca , a place of anchoring for the poet, as in the famous poem by Cavafy of the same name: “Ithaka gave you the wonderful journey. / Without her, you would not have left. / She has nothing left of you. give now. ”

Faith is the other big topic in Divine american, in verse which analyzes the religious feeling of the poet and his search for the divinity or a greater power at work in the universe. This already set in when he was a teenager, according to his wonderfully rhymed poem “The Satanists”. The author tries to ignore his attempt to invoke Satan as a mere childhood prank, the province of “heathen teenagers” just having fun, a bunch of “wave like vandals” teens “wearing” hoodies studded and camouflage pants “. These young boys and girls invoke Lucifer but for Poochigian they are also “devotees”, so that the satanic ritual and the religious ceremony become one and the same here.

“A girl, a boy.

Squatting, with candles

And all the goodies

The demons appreciate ”, (…)

We dug a hole

Like a mixing bowl

And thrown in honey,

And milk and wine –

Then for the money,

Pig’s blood.

And then comes the hilarious: “Announce me veni. You are there ? ” Come to me, they ask, as if they really expected him to show up. No devil appears, so Poochigian tries to bribe his way to hell: “I threw in a dime / To cover the price.” Perhaps if he had thrown a dollar instead, Lucifer could have arrived there, horned with a long tail and pitchfork:

And although no spirit

I pulled out my hair …

we will always share

Which was desperately something

(if it’s not quite love)

and the glory of

that crazy stupid thing

we did it when we were young.

The Satanic and Sexual Intertwining for Poochigian and His Friends “We felt we were close to it / We were excited.” The question then becomes why “crazy”? Why “stupid”? Isn’t Satanism in a sense just an inverse of Christianity and Satan an inverted vision of Christ our Lord? Who after all gave Shaytan, the fallen angel, such a bad reputation?

In another killer poem “A Fool at Christmas,” Poochigian attacks our monetized secular religion. Christmas itself is of course a Christian holiday paired with a pagan holiday, one undoubtedly aimed at smothering the latter. Here the poet hears the ringing of the Salvation Army and turns his attention to the Christmas tree, the symbol of the holiday itself:

“… May they be crowned

each with a star. May they be brilliant and awe-inspiring.

I need their limbs to keep the demand of childhood

For the fulfillment of wishes. Every sweet, bewitched

Gasping like a hiccup in the never-ever country.

In “Multimammia,” a divine feminine hymn (“The gods are here, and they can be difficult / to watch, difficult to take – hard, hard, hard.”) We are made aware of the poet’s encounter with a pregnant bitch – grotesque breasts, she pays little attention to him and moves on. And in “The Gospel of Prosperity,” Poochigian indulges in a not-so-subtle joke of a Protestant Reverend who, in the right capitalist way, extorts tithing money from parishioners with the wonderful refrain: “… Why do we pay? For something in return./A person has to give to win.

The reader’s head really turns as Poochigian offers a tour of Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism: you name it. He ends his section on religion with “American Osiris”, a made in USA version of the Egyptian god of fertility and the afterlife. The poet begs Osiris, imploring him to appear and erase his doubt, thus affirming the existence of a greater deity:

“Dead God, dead God, come back to life

on the account of number five.

One two three four…”

Interestingly, Poochigian’s view of America as a real and concrete place ultimately ties in with that of the religious or abstract aspects of human existence. In “That, Too,” he predicts that everything we hold dear and permanent – statues, churches, racehorses, stock trading is ephemeral and will one day be gone. Given climate change and global warming, his prediction could come sooner rather than later:

The wind will fly away,

One day

Large statues in the square,

The words I play with

Good times, and my desperation.

All i do

And say –

This too

the wind will blow.

Relax, Pachoogian seems to be telling the reader, there is nothing you can do. In the end, the trees and the grass, the mountains and the seas, our biggest cities and even the great pyramids themselves will turn to dust. And yes, he concludes, the poet will also inevitably disappear one day.

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