Bishop’s Hole Published in Edge of Humanity Magazine

We would like to sincerely thank Edge of Humanity Magazine for publishing our poem, Bishop’s Hole. A link to the poem is here. https://edgeofhumanity.com/2021/06/27/bishops-hole/

Or if you like, you can read it below.

Bishop’s Hole

   Oh, the games we played in Bishop’s Hole,
   but the foul winds have begun to blow
   so once again it's time to go.

   Even though it's hard,
   I must leave this behind.
   That's what the rector said,
   and he does have a good head.
   Granted, this happens all the time.
   It's why we installed a pipeline,
   which can send me anywhere
   because Bishop's Holes are everywhere.

   But still it's hard
   and I'm leaving quite a mess,
   but reputations must be protected,
   so there's nothing here to confess.
   When I think about the good we inflict
   this only gives my conscience a tiny prick.
 
   We lie in the shadow of the Cross,
   so there isn't anything we can't lick.

            *          *          *

   O.K.  That’s enough with the juvenile jabs.
   I've had my fun, and it's cruel to taunt.
   Let's get serious for a moment.

   We told you that we would fix things,
   and you had faith.
   Then you learned that we continued 
   to rape your children and cover it up.
   You even found our pedophile pipeline.
   That was awkward for us.

   So we promised to stop for real.
   And you believed us, but we lied.  Again.
   No rational person should have believed us.
   But you did.

   You continued to give us your children,
   and we continued to prey.
   You trusted us - the black vultures you should have feared.
   And we never did a single thing to earn your trust.

   After all that, shouldn't you be the ones condemned?

            *          *          *
   Have you noticed how we love gold veneer?
   It's everywhere, and it's immaculate
   as long as you don't stand too near.

   We've made the luster last all these years,
   because we polish the gold with your children's tears.
   Those tears run like torrents between the pews.
   It's like Noah's Flood.

   And there's nothing else we will do.

   Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief and Adjunct Professor for Student Loans

An Unorthodox Survivor’s Story

In Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, Deborah Feldman describes the first 24 years of her life living in a strict Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism outside New York City. She is raised by her paternal grandparents because her mother left the community when Deborah was a toddler, and her father has severe mental disabilities (a primary reason for her mother leaving) and is barely able to care for himself. Her childhood was dismal. “In this family, we do not hug and kiss. We do not compliment each other. Instead, we watch each other closely, ever ready to point out someone’s spiritual or physical failing. This, says (her aunt), is compassion – compassion for someone’s spiritual welfare.”

The family is suffocating, as is the Satmar community, where English is an impure language that poisons the soul. School brings no solace, because education leads to promiscuity or worse – abandonment of the community and flight from the religious leaders that control it. So educational opportunities are spare, but that’s o.k. because quality is more important than quantity. Spoiler alert – that’s a problem too. “We learn in school that God sent Hitler to punish the Jews for enlightening themselves.” They also learn that assimilation was the reason for the Holocaust. “We (Jews) try to blend in, and God punishes us for betraying him.” So the school (no less) says education is bad and assimilation is worse. It makes being homeschooled by an arthritic nun with gout look attractive.

Throughout her young life, Deborah finds refuge in prohibited books and forbidden pop music. And early on she determines that she will never feel at home in the Satmar community – where the crippling restraints on daily life and free thought bruise everyone, but they hit women and girls particularly hard. Deborah is told “[e]very time a man catches a glimpse of any part of your body that the Torah says should be covered, he is sinning. But worse, you have caused him to sin. It is you who will bear the responsibility of his sin on Judgment Day.” That’s a pretty sweet deal for men, but a rather shabby one for women – because no matter how covered up a woman is, men are sinning.

Deborah’s so-called childhood suddenly ends when she’s 17, and her marriage to a 22 year old man (she has briefly met once) is arranged. Just like her parents, Deborah and her husband are completely unprepared for marriage. Neither has a rudimentary understanding of sex. So not surprisingly, they are unable to consummate the marriage on their wedding night – or the next night – or the next night for many, many months. Their families get involved. To the shock of no one, that doesn’t help. After much counseling, the frustrated couple finally manage to have unfulfilling sex (our favorite kind), which eventually leads to Deborah getting pregnant and giving birth to a boy. But by now the marriage has unraveled and Deborah wants a divorce – provided she gets custody of her son.

The story is fascinating, but the ending is abrupt. There is little information about the divorce or how she succeeds in retaining custody – even though we are told it would be impossible for her to do so. Much like the Satmar community, the story suffers from tunnel vision. Everything is told from Deborah’s perspective. This is not bad, but it is confining. It would have been interesting to hear from other key players in the story – especially since many of them are depicted so harshly.

Overall, though, Deborah tells her story extremely well. She is intelligent and sympathetic. Even though the odds are stacked tremendously against her, she refuses to accept that she’s powerless. With her charm and persuasiveness, she believes she can convince anyone, even God, to go along with her. We don’t know about God, but she certainly won us over.

Ultimately, this is the story of a survivor whose quest for independence is entirely relatable. Deborah will not be relegated to the kitchen in a world controlled by men, including God – assuming God is a man. And God help us if that’s the case.

Alison Wonderland, Chief Editor and Adjunct Professor of Student Loans

FLACCID at Pungent Sound

Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology recently welcomed Firearms Loving Americans Constantly Confronting Innovation and Decency (FLACCID), who held their annual convention celebrating the Second Commandment of the U.S. Constitution.

FLACCID members were everywhere. And they invited our school chaplain, Father Orifice (pronounced Orifeechee – people always say it wrong for some reason), to give the opening prayer. Father Orifice proudly reports, “FLACCID members stood at attention throughout the prayer – it was a glorious thing to see.” So with such positive reviews, we decided to print his prayer here and hopefully you’ll be equally aroused to action.

The Second Commandment

   God is a Gun.
   And the Son of God is a Gun - 
   making God, Son, and Gun one.

   And God sent his only Gun to man
   so slights and sins could be avenged
   and trespasses need not be forgiven.

   And you shall not separate man from Gun
   lest you feel the wrath of Gun.

   Father Orifice, Chaplain of Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology