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one of many sales pitches from fake Jesus -- poetry by Ikera Olandesca

Jesus should know that no one has time for sincerity.

Everyone loves me because I serve illusions of goodness

Like fast food. Forgiveness of one week’s worth of sins

Would cost you three Hail Mary’s. One month? About fifteen.

Did you molest your niece? Throw in thirty Our Father’s

And a hefty donation to the monastery. Do you exploit other people

For your own profit? Totally fine! Reread the Old Testament; let the kings

From before calendars were created justify your actions in the current day.

Want a clear conscience? It’s on sale for Thanksgiving: instead of donating

One percent of your billions, pray ten litanies and go on a pilgrimage to the Vatican.

It’s that easy! I turn Catholicism into a convenience store, serving millions.

Are you in debt? Did your loved one die? It’s okay, it’s all part of my plan.

Are you depressed? Suicidal? Attending Sunday mass will fix it.

Do you want neighbors to think well of you? Watch Joel Osteen

In the living room on full volume with the blinds unclosed.

Do you hate homosexuals? Here are some Bible verses you can take out of context

So you can attack other people in Jesus’ name. It feels good being God’s soldier.

It’s empowering to have an idea of morals to fight for, to accept any interpretation

Of Jesus’ words, when it’s hard to formulate your own.

And going through the motions takes lesser time than actual repentance.

Wouldn’t you rather swallow His body instead of your own pride?

Why change your ways when I love you unconditionally?

I may not be able to deliver the promises that Jesus can,

But I can make them. These customers, they all love me.

I can make their existence less miserable, hopeless.

They love me more than Jesus,

So much that they call me by His name.


Ikera Olandesca is a 17-year-old from the Philippines, and an avid writer of poetry and flash fiction. In 2019, she self-published a book of poems entitled Homesick. Ikera also enjoys performing her work, having presented at Stanford University, the 40th Manila International Book Fair, and the 2019 Global Authors' Summit.

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