I’m on a Graham Greene fix

Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

God and man? But isn’t it searching in a dark bar at three a.m. for a hipster magician that isn’t there? Yes. No. Maybe. If you asked Graham Greene what he would take to the desert island, he would say, “Sunblock, three ribbed condoms, a tube of camouflage, the bible, and Power and the Glory.” It was his favorite book. History lesson: While President Calles is sane on all other matters, he completely loses control of himself when the matter of religion comes up, becomes livid in the face and pounds the table to express his hatred. You can trust God to make allowances, but you can’t trust smallpox, or men. The dentist metaphors are supposed to be about the “teeth” of your beliefs—without them you only eat mush, or a stale BRAT meal: bananas (“ripe, brown, and sodden, tasting of soap”), rice (an annual plant), applesauce (favored by children and criminals), and toast (brimstone bread). Miracles, do you believe in them? Yes, but not for me. In his 111th collection, Graham Greens’s characteristic M.O. is intact: casually enjambed verse-prose stanzas marrying the narrative apotheosis of microfiction to the fatigued hope of a Shakespearean monologue:

I found a married priest in the snow

And not knowing what it was or why it was there, I ate a tart and gutted it
as if a Lieutenant

To me, up to my polished gun holsters in bladder, the brandy was a surprise

I drank it in like the cunning wink of an exploding butterfly

on the lip
of a teacup while God upstairs puts a bag over His head
& gasses the house

& says, “Well if I hated you I wouldn’t want my child to be like you, it makes no sense.”

Enter a shaken rooster of sin.


Author Spotlight & Random / 1 Comment
February 27th, 2012 / 12:08 pm