The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Catholic Idol

John F. Buckley

Tanned from basking in the divine light but beyond the pale of celebrity’s glory, most
holding their numbered bronze entry halos in their hands, they line up in the thousands
outside a certain conference room in St. Peter’s Basilica, the queue winding out the
entrance, forming a perfect semicircle around the right arm of the Piazza, and extending
down Mussolini’s street to cross the Tiber.

Inside the chamber, the initial auditions occur before a council led by the pope, clad in a
cowl of simony and scowls, assisted by Mother Paola the Saracen and Bishop Randall
Fils de Jacques. Smiling humbly, healing, summoning bears to lie at their feet, the
candidates all hope to win the grand prize, a prominent feast day celebrated with a
unique pastry item, as well as a line of devotional candles in all liturgical colors, to be
sold in 99? stores worldwide.

Some seem to have little to offer, such as Avunculo Nepos, whose sole ability is to
obtain the noses of children and wiggle them in his fist, and the heavy-tipping Sr.
Boniface Marie Jenkins. The suave Colorado di Chiodi similarly fails with his
backwards recitation of “Lines about 44 Women.” , like the Venerable MC
Syreen, known to have pleasured the hearts and bodies of entire troubled
neighborhoods, have the miraculous chops but are disqualified for the shadowy means
by which they arrived at their ends.

A creeping conveyor belt of nervous near-statues, the line disappears into the judges’
cloister, this person reemerging in tears, that person whooping about moving on to the
Jerusalem round. And you, my favorite beatific vision, with two-thirds of the people
left to go, grab my hand. You’re still unsure how I convinced you to come, whether
your willingness to humor me will come off as hubris. I will do most of the talking
when we finally enter: “at the surveillance tapes! Compare the before and after!
See what she’s done for me! Look and see!”

* * * * *


Dear poetry haters,
Dear fancypants haters,
Dear fried chicken haters,
Dear mothers’ kisses haters,
Dear hot, fresh, black coffee haters,
Dear USA national soccer team haters,
Dear meritocracy in practice and theory haters,
Dear Superman saving the same lady repeatedly haters,
Your raggedy gray underwear was showing,
but poets turned it into shiny silverware
before anyone else noticed.
I’m just saying.

About the author

Born in Flint, MI, raised in the Detroit area, and ripening in California since the fall of 1992, John F. Buckley lives and works in Orange County with his wife, teaching at local colleges and chasing the poetic dragon.