“God Less”

A poem about the conflict between ourselves and the world around us, and the need to feel some sense of control, however fleeting. 


welcome to a world

a here or to-go world

of ice and rain, emotions

and pain

welcome to our world, your world

this world, the only world, it

exists for us to know

and claim

and call our own.


welcome to the life

of fat and thin

and nice and small

and things we love to see


welcome to a world of blindness

to what we feel

with our fingers and noses

welcome to a world of nakedness

which arouses



welcome to a world where nothing

is new, nothing is fresh

there are no visitors

there are no guests

only residents, tenants, pests

you do not duck in and stay

for a minute or two

you do not come for the day

then return where the rest

of us cannot touch you,

you do not come for the weekend,

you do not rent a room.


there are no cleaners

in this world, no maids

to mop the mess you leave

on the linoleum floor,

for in this world

nothing grows, nothing

is restored

nothing comes for free, nothing is sold

at that price we love

known as nothing, known as washed

free from debt, all mercy,

no actual tending and rebuilding


a world where things are only broken,

they are not repaired, they do not come



welcome to my world

where my vision is not clear, my eyes burn from straining

to see

the way things really are, to see the truth

for example

the way you and I match gazes

across that ideal ballroom

in an ideal building, towering

over the bosom of my home country, touched

by the hungry hands of Man, I see you

there, eyes darting

from person to person, life to life, searching

for a connection

and finding none, none

but for when we meet and smile, nervous

because this has never

happened before

but now it is for the first time

for you and me.

welcome to these arms, these squeezing fingers

that pull you in

and take you.

welcome to our world, then,

the one and only place

where all of this happens,

What’s all of this, you ask, curious,

This anger, right here,

no anger anywhere else

in the universe, the big black empty

universe, no regret, I think

in this universe, this lonely universe

created just for us, it’s all ours,

all of this hurt, this lust,

But what lust you ask again,


The lust I just had for you, I reply

in this one verse,

running my forearm

down your belly

before smothering you

again, That lust

and the lust of others, it’s beautiful, isn’t it,

I ask with my eyes closed and your mouth

open, isn’t it

so impractically beautiful

to do it this way,

What way – you ask

again, This way, with connection, and passion and all

that makes us complicated, that makes the ocean blue

and not just the ocean, and an animal cuddly

and not just an animal, all of the words,

the labels, the thinking and fretting

over nothing at all, really

categorizing the inhalation

of invisible

gasses into our mysterious bodies, then how it all comes out,

in one smooth stream,

for there is no sin

but the word itself,

I say while blowing

into the red of your ear,

and you laugh at me.


welcome to a world

of sunsets, painted

by the brush of chance.

welcome to another

you sigh, holding

my fingers to your rigid ribs

where a trochaic drum

beats the tune

of your comings and goings,

and the ocean tides thrumming, softly,

against the sands of my legs, washing nothing

but still wetting, and welcome

to my cool foam, a warm bath

of silent hours

just waiting,


desperately resting.


welcome to a world,

where things are paved.


welcome to a world

where I am god,

if god exists,

and power is a squall, spitting

spikes of rain

and throwing kicks of wind

that rip trees and spew dirt, roots splitting,

a brutal divorce,

the earth pulled and scarred by destruction,

all by my wind, my power, that I turn

against those I see with eyes,

I smell their leaves in green fumes

and their barky taste lands

on my acid tongue,

they are in my way,

they are in my way,

so I bend my cataract

to do its duty, its desecration,

and defeat the breach

of my sense

of space, force them out,

force them away,

for I have invented this new word,

this new idea that this world is not just

a world, not just

the world,

I have molded

with my cracking

and spitting

and shipping forth of hurricanes,

the idea that all of this

is mine, this world

is mine, and mine


welcome to my world

for it is mine

and not yours.


welcome to a naked form

a bestial stone

carved from the blood

of stained hands, red

with a kill, and my looking

upon them and realizing, shuddering

that this substance, this potion

is mine too, this crimson

war-paint can now pour, it can spurt,

the color of life has become the color

of death, thanks to my trembling

hand, doused in my mortality

I see it, I fear it,

I worship it.


welcome to the world

of blood.


welcome to blood

and our fear of it,

the transformation of instinct

and self-preservation

into fear and philosophy, as animal

ceases its practice in exchange for practicality, morality

based entirely on that red hand, shining

with the stuff of my inner working, now the reason

for belief in anything

that may clean that hand

with a cleansing that heals

all wounds, all damage

eternally, as it must

for our fear to be set aside,

at least for a while,

our fear of blood

and the bitter truth

that it flows so easily,

that blood flows so very easily.


welcome to death

which happens anyway, I fear

I must tell you honestly, the red

eventually flows completely

and dries up, like yellow,

the stream that’s choked

by drought and cloudless skies,

and pollution, I’m afraid,

the glimmering lake devoured

by a rolling dune, slithering away

from a greater ocean with a larger mouth

to blow winds

that push dunes

into the tiny pond

and eat it,

like a forest

in the path of a sprinting fire,

a blaze that consumes all life

and snuffs it out

and it is no more, and there is no history

to be written by invisible hands, no record

of things gone by, for they are gone

and not to be remembered, forever lost

in a timeline that has no need

for questions, or the word “why,” no need

for that which I used to think

was important, for “why” has no power

of resurrection or reincarnation,

it is a fruitless question

posed by insignificant beings,

tiny storms of humanity

tricked into believing

for even a moment

that it could all be brought back

or memorized by mulberry trees

or that it even mattered

to begin with.


welcome to this life, poisoned

by the promise of death

and the promise

of being forgotten.


welcome to a world

a for-here or to-go world

of ice and rain and emotions

and pain

welcome to a world, a love world

but a blood world,

a dying world, long forgotten,

it exists,

as far as we’re concerned,

for us to know

for us to claim

for us to call, to decide, to name,

to fear,

to lose,

to lose it all,

all for

our very own.


God Less Button 1


SM 3D Image“Godless” © 2016 David H. Safford

Image Credit: Unsplash, Creative Commons

“Godless” is a part of Soul Mountain, available FREE to David H. Safford “Coffee Club” Members. Get your free copy here!

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