03 May 2009

LotS: New York: Palm Sunday

[Felt, palm fronds, stickers, MetroCard]

New York: Palm Sunday

Astoria’s Immaculate Conception Church offers
confession in Spanish, Italian, and Maltese; but
this Passion is in three accents of English, with
Peter and Pilate ringing strong boroughs.
The Roman no doubt sounded this urbane to
backwoods Mideast Judea; and the trio
of denials so desperate, vulnerable, pleading with
the Godfather. (On the altar a coat of arms
inlays a swan with three swanlets, an alien
emblem evoking not the Trinity, but Zeus
come back to Leda’s nestlings, after
Helen’s flown the coop.)

The congregation reads the Crowd, and we are
unrelentingly hostile: we shout down
Pilate’s clemency, chorus for crucifixion. It’s
canny casting, the faithful as enemy.
How far a Mass from a mob? Even read
inflectionless the responses shudder stained
glass, howl where were once Hosannas. Not
until after do they pass out palms of welcome.

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