Mesjids of Madison Avenue
by Charles S. Kraszewski


Oh, mesjids of Madison Avenue,
Innermost of inner sanctums
Undescried by the worshipper’s eye from the sidewalk,
Undefiled by the soles of the Nike Air Max Conquer Boot
Thou hast commanded them to purchase
From the particolored minaret outside Madison Square Garden;
Far above the overflowing crowds each toting flashy credos
Of responsibly recycled polymers and paper
(Macy’s, NBA Store, Juicy Couture)
More sincere than the smudgy crosses
On Ash Wednesday foreheads
(who has time for that, after all, when there’s a sale on
At Lord and Taylor?)
Nor are you confined to a Vatican ghetto
Between Fifth and Park Avenues;
Discreetly diffused like the Church of Ogilvy and Mather
Throughout the globe (in Riyadh too —
Who says only one faith in the Arab Peninsula?)
Your scripture, your Biblia Pauperum Divitumque
Surrounds us with the good news
Buy It Buy It You Deserve It
From bus stop poster to ad-carriers on taxis
To the scrolling LEDs of Times Square
To the billboards above the crowded helix
That circles down into the Lincoln Tunnel,
That leads us down into the gullet of the Lincoln Tunnel
Like passengers on Geryon’s back;
The voice of your muezzins
Call to us from television and movie screen
Over the radio and subliminally, underneath
The muzak in The World’s Biggest Store
There’s Something Here For Everyone;
O omnipresent, O potentially omniscient
Based on Your Preferences May We Suggest For You
O almost omnipotent, for
If ever I forget thee…
Well, if ever I forget thee, thy multitudinous tongues
Will be silenced forever,
Cleft to the roof of thy palate;
How easy it would be to kill this god —
Turn away, turn away Dick Whittington…
BUT
What else do we have here?
It’s Your Money, Use it When You Need It
What little this big world has to offer us
You promise us —
How easy it is to believe your pitch,
Just Save the Requisite Number of Boxtops
Or Agree to Participate in At Least Three Offers
From Our Sponsors Offer Not Good in Alaska
Hawaii Puerto Rico or anywhere else
One can find a semi-autonomous realm
Of self-respect and intellectual maturity;
Then Your Free I-Pad Will Be On Its Way To You.
It’s as simple as that;
Become A Wheel Watcher, then make sure
To pray fifty times daily in the direction
Of your digital mihrab so as not to miss
The twenty-four hour window of grace,
The day of jubilee,
But Call In And Win Your All-Expense Paid
Trip to Sandals Resort or Some Other Tropical
Ante-chamber to Hell,
With Golf-Course and Hot Stone Massage Therapy
Sushi Bar and For A Small Additional Cost
Give the Wheel One Final Spin
You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play
O, my heart is restless until it rests in…
Well, my heart is restless
But there are pharmaceuticals for that
And I deserve to Live Free of Fear
You know just what I need, Astra Zeneca
You know me better than I do,
And out of the bowels of your compassion
Will even finance my habit, if needed
Foolish the man who saith in his heart there is no Astra Zeneca
Let him take the simple ten-question online quiz
To see whether or not he’s clinically depressed
Even though He’s Going to Disneyland
You Can’t Take it With You?
Don’t cry for him, Bargaintina,
He got just what he deserved
According to the research results
For his particular demographic;
He shopped, until he dropped
Into the latest model casket;
A happy death, the good sick beast,
Exiting through the gift shop.






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