Born-Again Criminals – a poem by Rupert M. Loydell

Born-Again Criminals

'May my courage be greater than my fear 
and my strength as great as my faith'

Rio’s gangs of God blend faith and violence, Christ and cocaine. 
Drug lords, some regular churchgoers, with automatic rifles
have incorporated Christian symbols into their ultra-violent trade.

Rio’s narco-pentecostals admit their often brutal line of work,
including torture, murder and concealment of death,
clashes with the scripture they profess to follow.

A breathtaking evangelical tsunami has swept over society:
a new generation of evangelical gangsters on the frontline, 
rifle-toting extremists known as the Army of the Living God.

A warm breeze coursed through the narrow back alleys 
and for a moment the world seemed at peace –  
but shortly after midnight the crackle of gunfire woke residents:

another night of chaos and heartbreak in a city crying out to be saved.
Theirs is a cut-throat world so they seek something to believe in,
storm a nearby neighbourhood in hope of expanding their domain.

Evangelicals now occupy key positions in the world of crime, 
just as they once did in the media, politics, judiciary and culture;
a new generation of fundamentalist criminals take power.

Graffiti offers spiritual guidance and heavenly praise. 
Give thanks for blessings received from above; 
no one who believes should stay in darkness or unarmed.

     © Rupert M Loydell

Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything (Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010)

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