These stratified ashes

Make the same flat earth lines

Year upon year

Without uplift from within,

Seismic vibrations long since


Pews half-emptied of replaced knees
And other religions.

What is in your iron core as you put your hands in prayer pose and let the host dissolve on your tongue, grumbling your insides, moving you only to think of the barbecue joint down the road and sinking your teeth into saucy pulled pork,

In only fifteen more minutes

Ten if we skip the benediction?

When the rumble of the Body is a call

To release the pressure

Built by mass upon mass

Ashes upon ashes

Of flesh compacting atop the suffocated spirit,

Accumulating tax write-offs and dust

In dead end corners of your summer house that needs just one more remodel.

And then just one more…

Can’t you cast it all off, erupt from your dormancy, and declare,

“I want You to live!”


I give up church for forty days.


2017, Amaya Engleking



  1. Shattered in Him · March 2, 2017

    “moving you only to think of the barbecue joint down the road and sinking your teeth into saucy pulled pork”

    Wow. That can be such truth. Beautiful, as always.

    • Gospel Isosceles · March 2, 2017

      …And so judgmental and juicy hypocrisy too. I might as well be the one eating that pork sandwich. I feel guilty for letting the sins of others bother me, but it is true that I am so disappointed in the Church…

      • Shattered in Him · March 2, 2017

        I ended up responding to the comment you left on my post. I thought I did here, but my alert thingy got all wonky and weird.

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  3. Soul Gifts · March 16, 2017

    Such raw honesty here. And a nice twist to the forty days of fasting at Lent at the end 🙂

    • Gospel Isosceles · March 20, 2017

      Thank you. It was tough to write as I usually have it in my heart to defend the Church, or at least be a silent beacon of light within Her/Us. Lately however, I have overwhelming doubt pervading my faith, especially its place within the actual institution of the Catholic church. But God knows. Thanks again for your comment.

      • Soul Gifts · March 20, 2017

        Just follow your heart – let Love guide you and you will know what is best for you to do 🙂

  4. Gospel Isosceles · May 1, 2017

    [Included below is a conversation regarding this poem, originally on the Shattered In Him blog.]

    I hope you’ll forgive my cut-in. I enjoy this site because I enjoy the writings of the authors, and their kindness in the world. I am a Jewish person and do not believe in the teachings of Christianity. At long last, after two thousand years by the Church of the persecution of our people, the Church has decided that we are not to be blamed for what you believe has happened, and that we are entitled to hold our own beliefs, and — in fact — are still loved by G-d. I find it disturbing and horrifying, quite frankly, that you would even think that whatever your personal problems are, that, somehow, you would need to “take it out” on others, and say it would be upon “His people”. However you mean it, it doesn’t speak very well of how you channel your anger. We are being killed for these false and non-justified feelings of others. I’m really angry at the world, too… And the reason is because of other people killing, harming, and harrassing Jews. You might offer an apology for blaming outwardly what needs inward reflection. Pray that your malcontentedness which you misdirect at others can be forgiven by them and that they will not directly or indirectly cause my death and the guilt of blood on your hands. Remember that David could not build the Temple because he placed Uriah into harm’s way, caising his certain death, all for the desire of BatSheva. What has you so angered? Dwell on that, and what has led your thoughts to that. Then pray. You may try a symbolization method of casting your sins etc upon something and throwing it into the water (Tashlich). I hope your heart will find peace and forgiveness — you need it, as do I. Shalom, B’Ahavah.

    Peace be with you. Please read this so you will have a clear and contextual understanding of what I meant by “God and his people.” Then I will be happy to respond further to your interjection. Shalom.

    Your poem is deep and beautiful, but too deep for me to comprehend. So, it has just further made murky the issue. My point is within the context of the commentary appearing on this page. Why the goosechase? Can others be expected to know your further contextual references by sheer osmosis? No. They only read what you wrote here, in this space. So, we need to concentrate on the words you wrote here. Regardless of any specific “people” or general “people” you may mean, the lack of description is noted. It is, additionally, irrelevant. The inference can be drawn, however, due to your lack of specifics, that you could be referring to Jewish people. It is not a stretch to think so, given the popular connotation of the Jewish people as being considered “His people”, as such. And that can be taken as a call to incitement. It could mean other people; and that can still be taken as a veiled threat, in any manner. So, the issue still hangs unresolved as to your intentions and intent. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be airing a call for possible vengeance, in whatever manner, on any people, in your frustration. Maybe you don’t intend your words to convey this interpretation; but they could also be perceived in that vein to mean that they do. I, too, try to channel feelings of unfairness and injustice directed against me and my people via writing, educating, and action. You still never said what the problem was, though. Define it in simple terms — and then you can find how to solve it. I’ve offered a few suggestions, and you have free will to choose your path. Despite several hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish institutions (day schools, JCC’s, the ADL, etc.) these past five weeks, and hundreds of Jewish gravestones being toppled and desecrated in cemeteries across America during this time, I wouldn’t even think of arbitrarily seeking vengeance on innocent people. It wouldn’t be a thought in my mind. It’s not logical and it wouldn’t solve any problems. What is your basis to think so? And why would you get a free pass to do so? There may be better solutions to help you. Maybe other people here can think of ideas. The writing and your wonderful poetry and choices of artwork are nice; I hope you’ll continue.
    As for me, I have no job and will likely be homeless at the end of this month. I have a bleeding, scabby, black tumor growing on my forhead and no insurance, am slightly disabled and have other issues. My mother is in an ALF; my father died a long time ago. My brother died of cancer several years back, while my mother also got cancer at the same time. I used up my savings then and left my job to be with my brother in his final months. I gave my former best friend my job where I’d worked (she’d just lost her job elsewhere) and she wanted to blackmail me for me to get it back, so I didn’t get my job back and became homeless and had to be at a shelter. I’m also adopted. Nobody wants to hire me as a Jewish person and with a tumor on my head. So, what is the problem that is perplexing you to the extent that you must cause problems for others?

    Okay, A at Gospel Isosceles. I apologize. I’ve spent some good time working myself through the meaning of your poem, and think I’ve kindof mostly gptten it worked out. I think that what you’re saying is that musty tradition has continued through the ages, but that we still, as people, get lost in the minutiae of the ritual, rather than the practicing of the principle, like compassion, charity, etc, especially in our callousness to be so successful, that we neglect the truly poor among us. I see that in the allusion you make with the stratified layers of the people throughout civilization — nevertheless buried, just the same, in the same earth… one on top of each other. And that less people are in the churches (love the reference to “replaced knees” — that was a great play on words, as was the “mass upon mass” reference). And when they are, they’re thinking how quick they can escape and go to eat out, without second thoughts for the person whose meal might have only been a communion wafer, itself. I’m not sure if the “You” is an individual (which could even be yourself; and, if you’re in that situation, I feel very badly for you) or if it references the “you” of the G-d which should be operating in us, but seems to have “left the building”. I don’t know. It’s a sad depiction, and I see why you would be depressed. You don’t need me coming down on you, too. But, I hope you forgive me for misunderstanding the meaning and how it appeared to sound under the framework of my own experiences. Living with the additional anxiety of potential anti-Semitism and/or their attacks within America, or even anywhere else in the world, is an additional onus, but a glad burden none of us would ever trade for the world. I feel your pain. I sit here in the same situation, and your poem could be my personal story, as I, too, want to live, and feel the desperation of needing to change this situation and not being able to, nor receiving the help and blessings needed to make that happen. I also rail at those injustices. So, we have, actually, alot in common. But, you know what? We need to accept the serenity prayer for times like these. People will always be like that. Rich people do give alot, bit they can’t actually support everybody. Complete equality means communism, and that has never worked for any country or people under its vise. I’ve heard a few tidbits from a Jewish woman who lived under communist Russia, and it was horrid. So, that extreme doesn’t work. The Bible says there will always be the poor among us. But, that doesn’t mean we should just throw up our hands and give up because it’s a never-ending problem we can’t solve. Instead, what we can do is change our perspective and realize that, while we may never eradicate poverty for all of the people at all times; we may be able to eradicate poverty fully for some of the people, sometimes. And that will certainly benefit those who we wete able to help. The point is, not to give up, and not to give up hope. I hope that helps, and I’m sorry.

    I have been praying for you for the past two days and I am grateful to you that you shared your suffering with me. I pray that you may be relieved of at least some of your burdens and that potential employers will see you akin to how God sees you, and that you have so much to offer the world by means of your incredible thoughtfulness, your compassion for the persecuted, your boldness to stand up for righteousness and justice, your gift of interpretation and empathy in listening to something you may not understand, and that your humility is a strength more valuable than gold. And of course that you are worthy of Love. May God continue to bless you and also be with all of those whom you are or will be close to. I know what it’s like to be teetering on the brink of homelessness, being poor in part of my childhood and in my adulthood as well. There is not one day I take for granted having a humble roof over my and my family’s head, and I know God will provide your needs too. Thank you for reaching out as it would have been unacceptable to speak that way about “taking it out on God and his people” as you originally read it. I do believe that a seemingly insignificant threat like that could have horrible, even evil ramifications if allowed to take root and grow. I don’t know if you still want me to name that which was the source of my anger, as you now have thoroughly and beautifully understood the meaning of my poem, despite its Catholic liturgical imagery. But just as you are… I am angered by the shameless perpetrating of rape of and hyper-masculine control over innocent individuals and entire peoples, to sum it up. How can we, God’s people, be complacently supporting it, consuming the Lamb of God yet refusing to be transfigured in our hearts? It is going to blow our minds when we meet God at death and realize the precious mustard seed –the prized pearl– we’d been carrying around most of our entire earthly lives but failed to simply put it in the ground and watch it grow. So here we are in our dead rituals and traditions, getting bored and looking elsewhere to solve the world’s problems. I spent part of my life in China and Tibet and I will never forget the Buddhists’ most commonly spoken prayer, “Om Mani Padme Hum” or, ‘the jewel is in the heart of the lotus’ meaning, the Love and Truth we all seek is in us. Shoot, I can go on and on now, but JD has been kind to let us use this space (you are right, she shows immense kindness to the world.) Thank you once again for all you have done and I will continue my prayer for you and for your mother. Shalom, Amaya

    Thank you so much, Amaya. I guess it was one of those fortuitous occurences that G-d throws out to us in how people wind up to cross paths, for I never really wouldn’t have gotten to know you as the nice person you are, unless I said something. And it was only because of the person you are that you walked with me in forgiveness to let me see that. So, thank you. I’m sorry for your difficulties and bothered outlook and hope you will find the mode and means to also work through that; there will be rainbows in some of the perspectives, cuz G-d puts them there for us to find. I’m wondering if part of your being in China and Tibet was through mission work or if in reference to conflict (I’m really familiar with similar situations, a la Israel!)? This is off-topic, but the Wycliffe museum near Orlando is always seeking people for their missions. Thank you for your prayers and to everyone here for theirs. I wish you blessings and realization…Randy ☺

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